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Balancing Children and Family

Family Balance

Does that title sound just a little odd?

“Balancing children and family.”

Aren’t kids and family sort of the same thing? Shouldn’t we be talking about something like “balancing children and housework” or “balancing children and a job”, instead?

Well, not exactly. Children and family are not the same thing, although I think many people (myself included) get them confused sometimes. Kids, of course, are a part of a family. Parents are part of the family, too. A good question, to me, is does your family center mainly on your children? On the parents? On the family as a whole?

I’d hazard a guess that most of the parents visiting this site correctly place a pretty high priority on their children. Because I have found that in our family the line between “high priority” and “over-indulgence” is pretty fine, I think it can be helpful to ask some of the following questions:

  • Do my children get the opportunity to learn to respect and value the priorities of others?
  • Do I have interests or hobbies other than my children?
  • Do I let my children see me modeling lifelong learning and pursuit of personal goals and interests?
  • Do I feel that I need to provide my children with everything that they need or want? How about most things? Where do I draw the line?
  • How does the age of my child play a role in determining a good balance?
  • Do my children think that they (and their feelings/desires/wants) are significantly more important than those of others in the family?

In our family we seem to need to continually evaluate and adjust to find the most effective balance between supporting individual family members and working together to create a healthy overall family culture.

I’d love to discuss your ideas about these questions (or any others you can think of on this topic). How do you work towards a good family balance? What are the challenges that you still face?

(For a thoughtful post on this very topic, be sure to check out The Thinking Mother’s post, Are Homeschool Moms Unbalanced? )

Photo credit: “Walking the Trunk” by Janet Burgess

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2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Bakinchick

    Great thoughts. I had read ChristineMM’s post as well, and this is a nice add on to it.

    In general, I feel like our family is fairly focused on the goals of our family, and less on any one individual, particularly the children. They each have activities, but those activities are chosen on the basis of what value they add to our homeschool and to the individual participating. Sometimes, we’ve been chided by other, more active (read: participating in many more outside activities) families who feel like we’re “depriving” the children of fun or otherwise valuable experiences; but what we find is that our family is more well-rested, relaxed and able to take on family projects, service projects and the like.

    Your list of questions is could be a great tool for families to evaluate their activities, goals, and dynamics.

  2. april

    Thanks Bakinchick – I like what you said about being more well-rested and able to take on projects and the like that your family really does want to do.

    I was thinking that some of the tendency that I feel to over-indulge comes from not wanting to be the unresponsive, distant, “children must be seen and not heard” kind of parent. That’s a stereotype that is truly unappealing, but it isn’t necessary to go to the other extreme to avoid that pitfall.

    We can be responsive and loving without being over-indulgent.

    We can offer opportunities and flexibility within a framework of healthy boundaries.

    We can work towards developing our own interests and goals as a way of showing our children how a healthy adult can live out a purposeful and balanced life.

    Are there any other factors we should be considering?

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