Parenting style: Raising a person
As a new dad I've had to quickly make many decisions about many controversial subjects in regards to raising my son, as well as my future children. I've been lucky to have a partner who is also enlightened to parenting using critical thinking rather than choosing to do things the way they are done.
We chose to have a home birth. Chose is not quite right, initially I had many issues with having a birth at home. We lived in Northern California and were around many "hippies". As is apparent in my screen name, I take issue with doing anything just because that's what other people are doing. I had problems with the idea because I felt the reasons of my significant other was based on what other people were doing, which to me is never a reason to do something. Through education I found that, when applied to a woman who has educated herself, maintains a healthy lifestyle and has a proper support group (which I became through my own education) that a home birth was ultimately the healthier option. I still maintain that it is not the best option for the majority, since the majority does not make those choices.
Me and Hilary talked about many things when it came to how we were going to raise our children. It wasn't until I saw my son's face which, reminded me of my brother and my father, that I really feel I decided on how I would parent.
I hear often in politics and through the media, as well as in my own social circles, about a parent's rights. I do not believe in these, which is what has formed my planned parenting style. I do not believe you can have rights over anyone other than yourself. We have a responsibility, and we have custody, but the rights belong to the child him/herself. It is our job to protect the child's rights.
We've decided not to hit our kids. There were many scientific discussions that we had that led to this decision. We talked about the effects on the nervous system, what it teaches the child as well as the sociological effects. In the sport of boxing a 250 pound heavyweight is never put up against a 110 pound flyweight. It is not legal to hit pets. In animal husbandry, the phenomena of shrinkage occurs in cattle who are prodded, whipped and put through undue stress, resulting in a lower weight and a lower quality product. In the end it was the fact that at no other time is it acceptable for a human being to hit another human being. I've been mad and frustrated with many adults throughout my life, I've never been allowed to go perform "corrective training" in an attempt to alter their behavior.
We've decided not to use the Ferber Method of allowing our child to cry himself to sleep. This one was an easier logical choice for me. I spent four years in the Army and have actively looked to become a volunteer firefighter (moving around and residency requirements have hindered this). I have always been that guy that pulls over to help someone else or will come to the aid of someone being treated with injustice. If I was screaming I would hope that someone would come to assist me and comfort me, I understand that this is not the norm in society. There have been many sightings by the media, through the news as well as through documentaries, that our society has become a callous group of people that will allow a World War 2 Veteran to be beaten and robbed as onlookers watch. I feel the Ferber method can be attributed to one of the causes for this.
Circumcision was easy. If I had been given the option I would never have allowed anyone to cut off the foreskin of my penis, or any other part of my body.
Vaccinations were a lot, leagues and bounds, more complicated. I am pro situational vaccination, prior to deploying to the Middle East I received a battery of them. While deployed, I saw the firsthand effects of the diseases I was protected against in the local population, I am grateful I had those. It was ultimately that I felt it was more important to build my child's immune system, which protects as successfully as it has been built against all diseases, rather than protecting him against specific ones that can be avoided through awareness, education and hygiene. I have spent many years in the food industry and I do not feel that vaccinations against food borne illnesses would be an acceptable reason to forgo food sanitation.
I just wanted to provide a little insight in to why I do what I do since I find that most parents I talk to do things one way or another because of what an "expert" said rather than critically thinking and using their own life experience. I would include the foods that I will allow my child to eat, during his life not at the moment, but I was informed that does not go here.