As parents, we look to others for guidance and the how-to as we navigate the new waters of parenting and each new stage. Sometimes we do this consciously and sometimes it seems to be more of a sub-conscious decision to follow the norm.

I challenge you to consider each choice you make as a parent carefully. Don’t just figure because x is right for the majority it is right for you and your child.

Clothing, media, curfews, activities, school all test us as parents. We often default to the current trend or popular decision or what seems to be the “norm” for a certain age. Sometimes we aren’t even happy with our decision, but we figure we are just being silly because “everyone else is doing it.” (A mentality we find ourselves falling into, yet desperately want our children to always avoid.)

Before you tell your child, “Yes, they can watch Alladin” or “Yes, they can listen to Hannah Montana.” or “Yes, they can start wearing x.” Ask yourself if you really think that is best for your child and your family. Does it fit with your values? Can your child resist any temptation given from the situation? Is your child mature enough to understand? Are you saying yes to avoid a conflict with your child? Are you saying yes because other parents are saying yes?

I challenge you to parent boldly and resist the urge to follow the norm. Parent for your child. Parent as God calls YOU to parent.

One of my friends recently made a very bold parenting decision- she pulled her son out of preschool. There was another child that was influencing her son greatly in a very poor way. And they tried to work with the situation, but they identified that the son could not handle the situation, and the behaviors were effecting home life greatly. So, she boldly went against what she had wanted and against the grain and pulled him out.

Another family I know has given their high schooler very specific movie watching guidelines and any movie that she watches that pushes these guidelines must be run by the parents. This means she calls to find out about a movie when she is at a friend’s house. This may mean she has to tell a friend she can’t watch a movie. She respectfully follows her parent’s guidelines. This does not follow the norm but fits with the parents beliefs and desires for their children.

Before you buy your child a top that you think may not be appropriate, but they really really want, give yourself permission to say no and consider your decision carefully.

Before you let your child start driving or dating- consider your child, are they ready? How were their personality handle each situation they are challenged with?

Look at your child, their unique strengths and weaknesses, how they make decisions, your families morals and values… Adjust your decisions accordingly.