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Parenting Advice #1 January 4, 2006

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Love, Parenting/Children.

I’ve thought about this for awhile, and I think the best parenting advice that I’ve received comes down to maybe three or four things. I heard these things from my own parents, and from my in-laws, and since both sets of parents raised four children (2 boys and 2 girls each), it seemed like fairly safe advice.

Several people have asked me to consider writing a book about raising sons, but I’m not ready to pronounce myself qualified. Maybe when both are off to college, I’ll declare success. In the meantime, I’m happy to say that I am thrilled with who my sons are, with the choices they make, and with their behavior. They are already better young men than I was at their ages, and there’s little doubt that they will be better men when they’re adults than I.

With that in mind, here are the things I would tell parents if they were looking for advice. (I am not one to go pushing my parenting thoughts on someone who hasn’t asked for help.) The first, and possibly most crucial piece of advice came from my mother, and it applies most when your children are small.

Hold your children as much as you’re able to, for as long as they’ll allow it and you’re physically able to do so.

Actually, the way Mom said it was something like this: “Tim, I’ve heard lots of people saying that you shouldn’t hold your children too much or for too long, but touch is a powerful communicator of love. I have a hard time believing that you can love a child too much.”

I put this into practice with both of my sons, including my oldest, who was always very big for his age. By the time he was 7, he was almost too big to hold in my arms, but I would hold him in church when we stood to sing or pray, and I can recall him wrapping his arms around my neck to help me hold him longer. At 17, he’s now 6’3″, and about 230 lbs. I’m not able to hold him in my arms anymore, but we enjoy a good bit of arm wrestling.

His younger brother didn’t grow as fast, but is similarly large (at 15, he’s about 5’11” and 190 lbs). I held him until he was the same size, and enjoyed it just as much.

When I was still able to hold my sons, people told me I was going to have back problems in my senior years from doing this. “When you’re old, you’ll be all hunched over with back pain, remembering all those times you held those big boys through an extra verse or two of those hymns.”

I’m OK with that. 🙂


1. Marisa Cox - January 17, 2008

This makes me want to cry. What a sweet, sweet article. I stumbled upon your website and I think it is so well-written and so loving. We have a 2.5 yr old daughter who wants to be held ALL day, and a 9 month old son, that of course, also wants to be held, and my husband and I find ourselves carrying one child on each hip, dancing around to music- either real or imaginary. I love it and also think that one day there will be a day when I will not be able to do this.

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