Strange is a Complement

Those of you who know us, know that the O’Gara clan has five children between the ages of 10 and 16. We have loads of fun. Our house is mostly quiet. People come in and are amazed at how quiet it can be with five children, two adults, and a dog.

This weekend Daughter #4, age 13 had a friend who spent the weekend with us. What’s one more kid, right? This visiting friend said, “You are a strange family.” We took that as a compliment.

We are different that is true. Our parenting style is unique. You will not hear us screaming, yelling or otherwise arguing with our kids. We are not forceful disciplinarians, however, we do not let our kids go wild and misbehave. We do not stick to strict daily regimented schedules. We give them freedom of choice and often they make the right one. If not, we talk it through. We have house rules that each person in the family had input. Included are rules for screen time, a few chores and things to keep them safe. We also have clear consequences, so there are no surprises when someone steps out of line. We require honesty and respect not only for speaking with adults but also to each other. They are to clean up after themselves and help maintain the shared spaces. We do not believe in using our children as a workforce. Sometimes, that means we choose family fun over cleaning. Chores can wait, they aren’t going anywhere. We sometimes allow them to eat whatever they want for breakfast and lunch but insist on a healthy dinner. Yes, even cake for breakfast.

What made her say we’re a strange family? I am not sure. I guess any of those things may seem strange.

I would rather be called strange than ordinary. I would rather be called strange than normal. I would rather be called strange than mean.

We learned the hard way that children are only children for a short time. Our intent is to enjoy their childhood with them while also teaching them to be responsible adults. All we can do is our best and then their life is on them to inflict on the world.

We may have a different parenting style than some parents. Our children are happy, healthy and loved, so strange is working for us.

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