The early days of being a new mom were filled with
anticipation and excitement. My dream was coming true. I was
just shy of twenty-five years old and naïve about the journey
ahead. Who fully understands what we are signing up for when
we enter parenthood? In the span of five years, three beautiful
boys joined our family.
Espoused by leaders such as James Dobson, the
conservative Christian parenting message of the day made a
formulaic a+ b = c promise to those who followed a certain
set of “biblical” teachings on how to be a successful parent.
Dobson’s voice was joined by others, and each proclaimed the
way of Christian parenting. One such book was even titled
“Growing Kids God’s Way.”4 There were sometimes radio shows
to go along with these ideas. I read a few such books and tuned
in to the shows every once in awhile. The proclaimed parenting
paradigm was one that demanded respect and obedience with
an emphasis on controlling a child’s behavior, along with
periodic spanking thrown in for good measure. I believed that
to be a “good Christian mom,” this was the path to follow.
Despite an internal disquiet around some of these
parenting teachings, a deep fear of going against the status quo
kept me “in line.” What if I did things differently, and my
children didn’t “turn out” well? People in my world were
watching me, and I wanted their approval. Fear held the reins
of my parenting methods.