When Frank and I drove to New Jersey over the holidays to visit his family, we took advantage of our time in the car to talk over some big topics for the future. You guys know how much I love those introspective, life-lesson-filled conversations, and Frank is a good sport and puts up with it when I come along on road trips with lists like this one.
We talked over how we might handle things like childcare and discipline and our kids' education. To each of these topics, I found myself coming to a similar conclusion:
"Well, I guess we'll have to see what things are like when we get there, and decide on a child-by-child basis."
Finally Frank said, "So basically, our plan is to make it up as we go along?"
"No no," I said. "That sounds terrible. We can't say we're just going to make it up as we go along. What kind of parenting philosophy is that?"
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that's kind of what we plan to do. We are interested in a lot of parenting strategies, everything from Montessori education to using cloth diapers. But we can't say for sure that we're going to do any of those things until we get there, since we don't yet know our baby's personality or what twists and turns our lives might take.
"I have a better idea," I said after thinking it over. "We're going to practice a policy of adaptive response."
"We'll respond to each situation as it arises, and if something doesn't work, we'll change our response and try something else," I said.
Frank laughed. "Trust you to come up with a really fancy name for something so simple. Ok, we can do it. We can say our parenting policy is 'adaptive response.'"
I couldn't stop grinning. What a perfect way to describe "making it up as we go along."
So now Frank and I have our official, fancy-sounding plan. Do you (or your parents) have an official parenting philosophy? Would you say you follow the "adaptive response" strategy too?