Parenting Principles

My wife and I started a family. We both approach parenting with same point of view, total selfishness.

Don't get me wrong, I love my son dearly and I will work my butt off to ensure he's in a safe and secure environment conducive to developing his independence, confidence, and self-esteem. But the common notion of living altruistically for your children does not (and should not) apply. I will not do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING for my children. There are physical and moral limits to what I will and will not do, as every good parent should realize. But, we realize that our son is of tremendous value to us, and as such, we selfishly want to see him succeed in life, both in achieving his own happiness and in pursuit of his own goals.

To that end, I am attempting to develop a list of principles for how to be a good parent. After only 7 months with my son (but many years of interacting with children) I have developed two guiding principles for what a parent should DO and ACT when raising children.

Principle 1:
Provide an environment for children to flourish.

This not only requires establishing a safe home, but also providing the tools necessary for them to explore, learn, and grow. Children are naturally curious about the world. It is the responsibility of parents to facilitate that exploration. Facilitation does not mean forcing, but rather providing the backdrop, so to speak, for learning. This can be done by providing the child with age-appropriate toys and games. And encouraging age-appropriate activities such as painting or reading. The Montessori Method is the best educational theory I've learned about that promotes this type of environment.

Principle 2:
Enjoy the interactions

Children desire close interactions with their parents, especially when they're young. They often mimic and copy their parents because they're trying to learn about the world from the people they trust most. As a parent, it is important to learn how to enjoy these interactions because they are not only critical to the child's development, but because it is necessary for our own sanity. Parenting can be a stressful chore if we don't enjoy the process. Using your child's natural interest in what you're doing can be a great springboard for learning. Taking time with your child to cook, clean the house, build a birdhouse, weed the garden, or write a letter is a great way for them to learn and for you to develop a close bond. While multiple children can sometimes make this difficult, creative parenting will always find a solution.

While I admit I have a lot to learn still about being a parent, these two principles offer a starting point for myself (and hopefully other parents) in raising my children. I haven't fully integrated my own philosophic beliefs into this list of principles, so I'm sure it has room to grow. I am interested in other parents think. Do you have similar principles? How would you incorporate Objectivism into parenting? Your comments would be greatly appreciated.

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