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April 26, 2012

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Tina

This is exactly how I have raised my three and they have turned out very well!

Leena

The image I've got through this blog and through this post is that you and Wille and Martin too actually discuss about things instead of arguing and shouting. I don't have kids so I'm the worst one to say but to me that is the best parenting. Well done you all.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

That's true, I can't remember ever shouting at Wille! Never thought of that actually!

Simone

benita, thanks a lot for sharing this with us. there's so much love between the lines. wille can be very proud and thankful to have a mum like you! wish you both all the best!

Susie

Hello Benita

Such a lovely post and congratulations on raising a self-aware young adult. I too have only one child, a boy of 12 and I agree with the general view that people of all ages need to be heard and loved unconditionally. Your son is a credit to both of you.

Rattling On

My girls don't/didn't have chores either (they are 16 and 20). One is now at university and can look after herself better than most of the others. I also strongly feel my children should have a say in everything, though we always made the final decision.
When the oldest was maybe 3 or 4 she wanted to be a cat. She ate from a bowl on the floor, most of the time outside in the playhouse. This went on for a few weeks until she wanted to be something else. Like you I believe that, unless it will harm someone, you should go with it!!

Judith

Beautiful pictures of Wille, and a beautiful post. Your posts are always great, but in this one your love for your boy really shines through and that put a smile on my face :)

I'm a one-kid's-enough kind of gal too. As soon as my daughter came along I was thrilled and completely satisfied with that.

querencia

I really appreciated you sharing this. The level of respect towards family members that I see in what you share on your blog is really impressive and admirable. Thank you for writing this post.

Martina

Thank you! This shows that it is better to listen to yourself than to others (who have opinions about EVERYTHING)! I have always done that and we have two little girls who are neat, polite, loving, caring and are excited about everything. School included. If they think it would be fun and helpful to help out at home they offer to do so! I don´t have to shout or anything. And if they want to play instead they do! As far as activities they can try whatever they like to try. The important thing is that they have fun and understand that practising some kind of excercise or sport means having fun with your friends toghether with other benefits of having an active lifestyle.

Thanks for sharing this with us!

cath w

What a super wonderful post. It always just made sense to me to love and respect my two and to let them enjoy their childhood without all the adult responsibilities.
And Wille sounds just grand.
:)

Petra from NL

Thanks for sharing all this with us. Lovely pictures as well.

Marianne

I always read your blog when I arrive at work whilst I'm waiting for my emails to load and I love to see what fabulous thing you've done to you your home this time, but this post has moved me to comment for the first time. Thank you so much for such an honest and insightful glimpse into your private time with your son. I have no children myself (it just never happened, sadly) and I really have no idea how I would have parented, but I would hope that whatever I would have done would have resulted in what is so obviously a very loving and warm relationship as yours and Wille's. You are very clearly a credit to each other! Thank you Benita, for sharing this. X

Maggie

What a wonderful childhood for Willie. My parents were the same, they let us be ourselves, which I've since found out isn't what everybody gets, some get judgement and control. I hope I do as good a job of not putting my expectations on our Charlie.

Tracy

Thanks for sharing; u made parenting sound easy-peasy :) It's tough being a parent in Singapore and I'm still thinking whether to have a kid or not.

s from croatia

Dear Benita,

I am your reader for two years now. I could really write my name under every line you wrote because that is the same way I am raising my kids here in Croatia. Furthermore, you would be surprised on how my son (Sven) resembles your son :).

Sarah

Fina familjen. Ditt förhållningssätt är fantastiskt och beundransvärt. Jag tror också på att ligga steget efter och följa sina barn, istället för tvärtom. Lättare sagt än gjort.

Kram!

Anne

My thoughts exactly! With love, understanding and respect for your child you will come a long way.

Emma

Thanks for writing this lovely post. I hope I can be as great a parent to my 7 month old daughter. It's delightful to read about parenting that's free from all the "you HAVE to do it this way".
Always read and enjoy your blog but this post really stands out, and it made me so happy to read. Thanks!

Luna

Not everyone will appreciate how you've opened up so much about raising an only child. I got this feeling after your post about moving to the basement and Wille having his own floor. I would've loved so much space at that age!

I have two boys and although our second is a challenge, I've realised (only) in the last few months, parenting him will have to be different to our first (too easy). As the first child, I had alot of restrictions from my very traditional single-Mother of three and because of that I sometimes get lost when I'm thrown a 'curve ball' by my kids. I can tell there's alot of love in your projects for Wille.

L

You are the parents i wish i'd had! And if i'd had parents like you, i might have had at least one child with two legs instead a whole passel with four legs and a tail ;-}

Susan

Hello, this is a very interesting post. As the old saying goes: "the proof is in the pudding" - and your son seems to be a remarkable young man and you enjoy a good relationship. I'm glad you shared your tips.

My vantage point as a parent of 3 adults, ages 26, 28 and 30 - my memories of raising my kids are a bit different. Having 3 children in 4 years made for a bit more structure and rules. It was a necessity for sanity! While at the same time treating them as individuals, because all 3 are so different! One size fits all does NOT apply to raising children. But the over-riding truth is: don't sweat the small stuff because years later it all works out, if you do your best to love and appreciate your child.

Which you have done beautifully, from all I've read.

thanks for blogging -

Valerie

Lovely post, and darling little boy! Thank you for sharing with us. I am eager to see where this young man goes in the future! I am sure he will be happy and successful.

Rosa, Copenhagen

What a nice and touching post about a mother's love for her son:-)

Maja

Dear Benita, this post was so inspirational. I wish my parents were like you and Martin. I bet Wille will have no problem living on his own when the time comes. Thank you for sharing this topic with us.

Karen

Thank you for sharing Benita! We share much of your parenting style and seeing how well Wille is turning out gives me much confidence. I encourage you and all other parents to let your children pursue their dreams no matter how far fetched. I taught a young man in high school (who shall remain nameless) and he told me he didn't need to know how to write a research paper because he was going to make his living playing his guitar. Of course we all rolled our eyes and thought "you and 20 million other kids." Anyway, ten years later he was at the top of the charts, you ALL hear his music everyday. He had a dream and he worked like a dog and he achieved it. You just never know....

Jamie

Thank you so much for sharing, Benita.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Haha, kitty cat :)

Hxx

Willie is definitely a credit to you - and I can see that having an only child brings lots more scope to let that child do 'as they please'.

We have a 7 year old son, and 5 year old twin girls, and I just don't think we would be able to cope if they were all able to make 'big' decisions, the conflict over the little things is hard to handle some times; and as for the noise!!!

Dana from CT

Lovely post :-) Unconditional love and support. Your son strikes me as a confident young man thanks to your upbringing of him and that will make him succeed in whatever path he chooses!

Trying to do the same for my twins :-)

Giulia

Lovely post Benita and those photos are amazing. Parenting can seem at times easy and at times hard - I believe you have raised a wonderful young man and that you have personalities that really work with each other. I look forward to the stories you'll share of Wille and his next adventures.

Didi

I think you are an awesome Mom. Your son will never be stressed out or have conditions placed upon the love he receives as per his parents own agenda. Your boy is, and will be, just wonderful.

Amanda

This is how I was raised. And if I do say so myself I turned out pretty great. :) aha! I never had chores, or was expected to do anything around the house -- but I did. My room was rarely messy (if it was it was usually just clothes -- and I'd eventually clean it up -- I'm pretty sure dad knew that too; he'd just make me keep the door shut, haha) He always let me do anything I wanted to for the most part; I wanted to paint my room a FLAMINGO PINK and he said yes (but I had to paint it), even though it's a hideous colour, he went out and bought the paint! I'm 23 now and I've been living on my own since I was 18 (well living in university for a year, then moving out on my own) and I'd say I'm doing pretty well for myself, this past year I decided to move out with my boyfriend, and dad moved me to 3.5 hours away to another province ... then unfortunately it didn't work out so a year later he moved me back. He's fantastic and I love him for it. :)

Vandegee

Really great post. Thank you!

Heather

Thanks for this post. Makes me feel more confident that I'm doing the right thing with my son (also an only child) instead of listening to what others think.

Natasha

Hi there. Its sounds to me like you set a very good example of how to "parent"; calmly, recognizing them as their own person, valuing them. Good for you. It is not easy to let children find their own way. Good job

Account Deleted

Thank you for this post. You and Martin did for Wille a lot of things that my parents did for me and it was way too different of what i've seen on my childhood friends' lives. And actually there was a mom that used to question my mom why she was raising me so freely.
Your son is a great person bc his mom and dad are marvelous people,
i'm 29 and kids are not in the plans for my future, but i will keep this post on my computer to read it from time to time bc i think it will help me remenber how to deal with ppl, even when i don't agree with their choices...after all it's theirs and not mine ;-) . Thank you :)

Giovanna

Benita
As honest and candid as always, this post touched me as does the love for your boy that is apparent this and so many posts of yours. Good job, and thank you for sharing. My oldest is turning 18 and moving out this year to go to university, bittersweet indeed.

Vicki K

Your Wille photos are beautiful as is your post. Before I had children I might have been one to raise eyebrows about no chores. However, my husband had no chores growing up, and in 20+ years I have not once ever had to pick up a sock or a towel he has left behind. Plus he does all the home repairs and helps with cleaning!

I'm sure Wille knows about the hard work a home requires simply by observing your energetic accomplishments. And the creative spirit that both you and Martin have to figure out how to do new projects and find solutions, I believe has been passed on to Wille. That is valuable!

Lisa Flaherty

A beautiful tribute, Benita!

Giovanna

and cute cute photos, too

Luna

I didn't mean our first child was 'too easy' to control or conform, I meant he was an easygoing and jovial child.

Monnah

Spännande inlägg! Jag är äldst av sju syskon och har själv tre barn, så det var spännande att läsa dina erfarenheter som ensambarn till mamma till ett ensambarn (hm, det där blev lite krångligt). Jag har erfarenheter som "storasyster-mamma", lärare i skolan och egen mamma och har genom åren ändrat på många av mina åsikter om föräldraskap. En sak jag har lärt mig är att allt som betyder något i slutändan är vilken slags medmänniskor mina barn blir. Jag har väldigt svårt för egoister och människor som inte ser andras behov, oavsett om de är barn eller vuxna. Jag har också lärt mig att ensambarn inte alls säkert blir "kungligheter" (även om vissa blir det) och jag vet också att inte alla barn med många syskon har samma positiva upplevelser som jag hade (och min uppväxt var inte heller alltid en dans på rosor). Jag tycker det verkar som att Wille har blivit en riktig toppenkille. Mycket kärlek och respekt räcker en lång väg...

Elizabeth G

Lovely! Actually, music and engineering have many parallels. Wille's interest in music will serve him well in life. Music study requires math, precision and discipline -- skills that translate well into every profession. I'm a musician with a secret desire to study engineering. You set a brilliant example for Wille, and for us -- your loyal readers!

Noushka

Hi Benita and thank you for your great blog full of good DIYs and instructions and of course also other things I enjoy reading! I have one question: is my memory failing me or was there a post about taping your basement windows with dc fix? I can't find the post anymore...

blake @ salt teak & fog

What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing something so personal. He's a lucky boy.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Thank you all so much for your comments. You are so sweet!

Resmi

Hi Benita,

That was a wonderful and lovely post! I loved all the pictures of Wille and your attitude too. I am sure Wille is a wonderful kid as the freedom and choices you gave him did not spoil him at all. You are lucky too :-)

KariMc

What a lovely post. The first thing I did when my kids were born was to throw out all the parenting books we'd been given. None of them made sense for us. Parents really have to trust their instincts and do what they know is right for them. My son will be 18 in 6 days and my daughter is 16 and they are both great kids. (By the way. Congratulations on using it's and its correctly. Even most native speakers of English don't get that right.)

Ruth

I love the Scandanavian view on bringing up children, Im Irish but live in Norway and it was a culture shock for me when I first arrived here and inheritied 3 boys, I loved the way my husband was with his boys and how he listened to them, I came from a society where children were seen but definately not heard, I have learned a lot over the years and love my job in barnehagen but I think going to uni and taking my førskolærer utdanning has really opened my eyes to the pedogogikk thinking of your culture, what a pleasure it is to raise kids that are self aware, confident, and happy, well done Benita

Noushka

That's it! Thank you so much!

Beatrice

Wow! What an awesome post! Thank you for this! Being a mommy of a little 2 year old boy, the post makes me look forward to the future. I am sure that Wille became who he is, because you were the support he needed, when he needed it, you loved him and you encouraged and praised him. Enjoy every minute with him. You have done a great job!

Vanja

Thanks for sharing this. To love and realize that your child is actually a child and also a, small, human being is most important. There is more than enough time to grow into a "responsible adult", no need to force it! I think it's also important to show them to celebrate the small things in life.

Zosia

Great post. Wonderful photos of Wille and family moments.

Renee

You're doin' it right. I raised my daughter (same age as Wille) the way I always swore I would when I was a teenager. She's a pain in the ass a lot of the time towards me, but when she's out in the world, I get nothing but compliments about her. That's okay with me. One day last September I watched her dart over to help an old man that dropped his groceries. I knew I did things right when I witnessed that.

jsh

Benita,
Thank you for the lovely post. The sweet photos of Wille and your obvious love for your son brought tears to my eyes. You and Wille are both lovely, inside and out !

phillippa

I was thinking about what you wrote about chores and teaching Wille how to manage when he's older. It seems that he's learned to handle projects much more difficult than taking out the garbage or washing the dishes. Helping you build furniture? His participation in your crafts? It's clear that he's willing, and the 'chores' are a breeze in comparison - what's to learn?

Along similar lines, I wanted to take the opportunity to share something I often think of when I read your posts involving Wille. I've always told myself that the measure of the quality of my parenting (2 boys, 5 and 3) will be apparent when my boys are older and if they still want to hang out with me at that time. Simple as that.

And well....Your teenage boy even does eggshell crafts with you. Enough said!

Lastly, on the beds, I wholeheartedly second this advice for those who are pondering the next stage in beds. We've got full on adult sized bunk beds for the boys, and it is such an immense pleasure to lay around with them at night, playing and chatting or falling asleep. We spend much, much quality time there. It's my favorite nook in the house.

Thanks for sharing something/someone so close to your heart here. Your relationship with Wille emanates harmony.

Kelli Green

Wow...I just had an epiphany reading your post! I am a mother of two -- 8 and 10, in Sandy, Utah, USA. I have always battled with chores. EVERY single mother I know does chores and has some type of system, but I have struggled with getting a system, taking control, and having them do their chores. Your post made me realize that I DON'T need chores in our house. It just makes everyone grumpy! My kids love helping me with dishes, laundry, yardwork, etc. It is the things I make them do that they don't enjoy. No more chores for us!

I also agree with everything else you said. My mother and father raised three daughters with no rules. We were able to make our own decisions and trust developed between all of us. We never wanted to do anything horrible because it would hurt the parents we all loved SO much. I have used the same form of parenting and so far....it is working great. i have very happy kids who tell me everything and know they can always come to me.

Thank you for sharing this with all your readers!

LisaZ

I love this post. You have done well! I agree with you on all three points and do about the same with my two kids. We see our kids as persons in their own right and respect them, and in turn they respect us (which we do expect). We don't have chore charts or anything like that because I'm just terrible at following through with those! The kids will help when we ask but mostly we don't have huge chore requirements. I did a lot of helping as a kid but it was because I wanted to and not because it was required (which it only was sometimes). Now, my two brothers and I are very neat and clean people and have no problems taking care of our own homes. Families can decide how they want to handle work around the house and I don't see why it is an issue to be judged. Also, we let our kids play their games or watch TV with only a few time limits like a shut-off time so they can get to bed at night. I love that this has worked so well for your family!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Thank you all so so much!

Barbara Fisher

You are the best Mum! I love that you let him be his own person from the very beginning. We only have one child too and I plan to raise her exactly the same way.

Anne

I too have a daughter the same age as Wille. She is as you say a p.i.a a lot of the time and towards me and never hesitates to tell me what she thinks of me... (not always lovely things I assure you) but as you say, from other people she gets nothing but praise being so mature and pleasant. I think it is a good thing that I raised my children to "blow off steam" in the home and by doing so they can cope with problems outside the home better. I have always encourage them to let me know their opinons, trobles, thoughts etc and by doing that I also try to welcome the outburstings.

Jane

Thanks for the insight into your life and your parenting. You have both obviously done a good job! We parent quite similarly, I totally agree on the chores thing - being a kid should be fun and free of regular responsibility - thanks again!

Maddy

What I loved the most about your post, Benita, is that you have the strength of your own convictions on child rearing, and make your own decisions without being dictated by "what is right", as decided by others. All the best to Wille as he steps into adulthood, and to you as well.

jody

Good on you for parenting your way and following your gut feeling, you will have passed this confidence on to Willie as well.

jja

First of all great photos!
Great posting Benita
I was raised similiar as Willy and learned in an early age to discuss my attitudes.
My ex husband being controlled all the time and punished for everything bacame a grown up person full of conflicts and revolt against the world…
You were so young starting to want a familiy with 19!


I did have my chores (age-appropriate) and was fine with it. My godchildren visit me from time to time over weekend and also always have some small taks together like to set the table or to clean it after the meal...

Have a nice weekend!

christine

Benita, I had a dad like you too! Ugh!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

So what did he want you to become and what did you want and ended up doing? As you know I'm nowhere near being a diplomat :)

jja

Uf sorry!

"We tried for over two years to get pregnant so ... I was 29 a"

I read not two then ten years...and did my math, embarrassing yes.

chris

Thank you for sharing. As someone without children, but thinking about it for the somewhat near future, it's nice to hear about someone with similar views. I feel like there's a lot of pressure to be a certain type of "perfect parent" and I'm so far away from that in my thinking. Wille is one lucky guy to have such a great mum and dad! Cheers to you!

nan

Bravo!

Laura from Seattle

Wonderful post, Benita. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life that is so dear to our hearts.

I absolutely support your parenting style. My children are 38 and 29. The younger was raised more like Willie. We had household help so he didn't have chores and his stepfather supported him in getting a vehicle while in high school. He worked hard in school and has been academically successful, earning a PhD in chemistry. With my daughter chores were an issue and her school grades were erratic. Raising her the way I and my ex-husband were raised made her life less happy than it could have been. She married right out of high school and started a family. They now have 3 teenagers and she is completing graduate school. Regardless of the different parenting each received, I have a close relationship with them and their spouses and my grandchildren; they are exceptional people. As you so beautifully said, spending time, sharing hobbies, being respectful and loving unconditionally are what children need.

CarolineB

I adore hearing about the way you raised him. Congratulations to you for being consistent and trusting his instincts all the way through.

Kelly

In my opinion you sound like a great parent. Lovely post!

Greenieweenie

You know what I think of when I read this post...have you heard of the Duggar family? google and watch a YouTube clip or two. Oh my word...they are the polar opposite of this. Their oldest children raise the youngest children and I always feel bad for kids who can't just be kids. You only get one childhood.

Also, it is so nice to hear a laid-back, live and let live attitude. I grew up outside the US but moved there as a teenager. It felt like suddenly being exposed to so many strong opinions....about everything, including parenting. That culture is still prevalent and I'm still shocked when ppl say things to me like, "that may be fine for you, but what if everyone did that?" well, why should what I do be a model for everyone else? Do what works for you, I'll do what works for me...and lets all get on with it. I like your attitude!

minna

I love this post and the pictures.
p.s Stockholm was nice ; )

Lisa

I've read every post of your blog, and this is by far my most favorite one!

Aliciadirago

A very lovely post indeed. You may disagree, but I think you are a bit of diplomat. Perhaps not in the formal definition, but in the sense of 'the promotion of information and friendly relations' I think you are. You've accumulated a broad and diverse audience that enjoys reading your posts each day!

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