Positive parenting | News | Jamaica Gleaner | #parenting

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

The role of motherhood looks different for many, yet there are several similarities among groups of newbie moms and even seasoned ones.

Some have a hard time, while others seemingly know very little about applied pressure.

Nonetheless, mother of two Vasiana Miller-Hewitt said there is no manual to use and believes persons should simply parent by underscoring the importance of morality, while doing what’s best for their family dynamic.

Miller-Hewitt said she was excited when she found out she was pregnant with her first child. However, two years later when another bun surprisingly began to bake in the oven, all her panic alerts turned on.

Though she quickly adjusted to being pregnant again and expecting another bundle of joy, Miller-Hewitt later found out that much like her second pregnancy, life as a mother would be full of surprises.

“My pregnancies were two completely different experiences. You had people telling me different things but when you are experiencing something for yourself, you can form your own opinion and go through it how you want to go through it.”

And so it was that Miller-Hewitt found her footing as she parented her two girls in an ever-changing world.

“When they are smaller you can deal with this a particular way but as they grow older, it is a completely different ball game. I tell myself I have two teenagers, though they are 12 and 10 years they are ‘teenagers’. So I have to deal with the tantrums, the excuses, the attitude, different personalities … You have to learn as you go along. They didn’t come with a manual, so you have to create your own manual and let God be your guide.”

The mother of two believes that there are no ‘one size fits all’ methods of parenting and mothers should not expect others to emulate their parenting style because it has worked for them .

“It is always good to grow the children up in the fear of God, and that’s a foundation for me, growing my children with the fear and knowledge of God. But that might not be the foundation for another parent, and who says that because that is my foundation that parents who have other methods will not be successful as well… .”

She admitted that laying these foundations do not always make the process easier, but makes it more manageable as there is always something to refer the children to when they are going through a difficult time.

While many parents struggle with drawing the line between the roles of friendship with their child and maintaining boundaries, Miller-Hewitt said striking a balance is another fundamental area of her methods.

“You need to be both a friend and a parent. You have to find a common ground where friendship is concerned. You make sure you are always involved in their lives, while making sure they know you are still the parent and you will oppose that which is not appropriate for them. But don’t just oppose, sit down and explain to them why something is not appropriate.”

She added: “Though you are the adult and have more experience than them in some thing, you have to allow yourself to learn from them, even as they learn from you to be responsible … it’s a delicate balance but it is one you can find.”

Miller-Hewitt believes that balance is even now more crucial as children are more active in the online space where both negative and positive influences are strongly portrayed.

Her method is talk to her girls about almost everything, to ensure that they are not misinformed or misled by what they may come across.

“It is not easy because there is so much you can shield your children from and no more, and right now in this digital age, they are overexposed. What I try to do is to block what I can and discuss certain things with them. If you realise, even the shows that are rated PG7 have certain things that you would not want your child exposed to,” she noted.

Miller-Hewitt continued: “What I will do is have a discussion with them and ask them of their thoughts and feeling towards the content, and we reason it out together and use we the Bible as a our fundamental guide. They may not agree with what I say, they may not agree with what I do, but we reason it out together.”

Though parenting can be a frightening experience, it is said to be equally if not more rewarding.

Miller-Hewitt confirmed that her children added a spark to her life and she will be forever grateful for them.

“What is frightening for me is how fast they grow up and mature but I have two girls who are just the sweetest. They are very affectionate. A day does not pass and you don’t hear them saying, ‘Mommy I love you’ or you get a hug. It’s rewarding to know that I will always be their mother and they will always have someone they can come to.”

It is safe to say that many mothers are oftentimes very preoccupied with micromanaging every single move their child makes, but according to Miller-Hewitt, it is always good to know when to take a step back and understand that parenting is a learning process and on-the-job training.

“Take the time to breathe. If you look at life and parenting and children and all of the strains and changes, you will go mad. Sometimes the children will be quarrelling with each other, they are not hurting each other, but they are having an argument. Instead of mediating, you just listen and soon you find that they work it out. If you nitpick at everything you will burn out,” Miller-Hewitt noted.

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