Adventures in Parenting takes us into the life of an individual or couple who are currently (or have been) parents in order to get an idea of how they navigate their way through the process of raising up their children. So, here’s how this works. This week’s guests are John and Danielle Puig. I have provided them with a list of 25 or so questions of which they were instructed to choose five. This will serve as an interview of sorts with the conversation being, for the most part, of their choosing.
Let’s take a moment and get to know John and Danielle.
I (John) just turned 34 and Danielle is 31 and we have now been married for almost 11 years. We have been blessed with a really, really amazing 10+ years of marriage. We are so thankful for that. Not much in our married life has gone as planned, but we can look back and see over and over again God’s hand guiding and directing our path and we wouldn’t change anything. A little over 3 years into our marriage, we had Elijah, who is now 7. We then had Zeke (4), Noelle (2), and Micah (7 months).
I currently serve as an Associate Pastor at a local church as well as part-time with LU as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Divinity. After having Elijah, Danielle has worked various jobs both part time and full time but that allowed her to be with the kids (nannying, church maintenance). Since moving to Phenix, VA to serve in church ministries, Danielle has been a full-time mom, and she loves it! She has always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom so she is thrilled with that. She homeschools Elijah (2nd grade) and Zeke (Preschool).
Question #1: How good of a parent do you think your partner is?
I (John) think Danielle is an absolutely phenomenal parent. I learn so much from her. She is extremely wise when it comes to parenting. It seems like in every situation with our kids, she confidently knows the wisest course of action to take – it blows my mind sometimes. She loves our kids unconditionally. She disciplines them as consistently as possible. She is intentional about being a disciple-making mom to our kids. She seeks to take little moments that happen in life and turn them into teachable moments. She is intentional to spend quality time with our kids – even if sometimes that means not getting something “done” because she prioritizes the relationship with the kids. Probably as astonishing as anything, to me, is that she trucks along joyfully even after nights of sleeplessness.
I have been so impressed (and thankful!) with how happily she gets up in the night to feed the kiddos (when they’re babies…we aren’t that weird!), or when Zeke has a night terror, or whatever other sorts of random things that occur with young kids in the middle of the night! I could keep going with this, but suffice it to say, I sincerely feel as though I married the woman that is the best mom in the world.
Question #2: How do you handle screen time?
We are in the camp of limited screen time. We have never been religious about it, but we have always been purposeful to limit the screen time for our kids. Currently, we have set up a Sunday and Tuesday “Kindle time” for Elijah (our 7-year-old), where he knows he only gets to play the Kindle on those days. We usually give him somewhere around 30 minutes on those days.
We don’t let the kids watch TV every day, but they probably watch something maybe 2-3 times per week. Since we moved to Midway they get more screen time than when we were in Lynchburg, just because we sometimes have to call on YouTube to babysit Zeke and/or Noelle in my office while Danielle and I are busy with ministry at the church. We don’t like doing that but sometimes it is just what we have to do.
Question #3: How do you deal with picky eaters?
In our experience with our kids, we have sought to eliminate the pickiness early on. From the beginning, we have tried to just give them whatever we were eating, and make them eat it. This set the stage for many battles early on (e.g. 1-year-olds), but with our kids, we found that the battle was much less if we made them eat it from the beginning. I think, regardless of parenting styles, people are different and some people are going to have more picky palates than others; but in my opinion, palates are more nurture than nature – even if they are at least a bit of both.
If you think about people in different cultures, they grow up eating the food their culture eats and their palates develop accordingly. If you transplant someone from one culture to another as a baby, however, that baby will generally develop a palate for the food in the culture where it grows up. This shows that a person’s palate is largely created by the foods that they grow up eating. So, I feel like fighting the battles early on when they are 1 and 2 years old is world’s easier because you influence the development of their palate from the beginning.
Question #4: Who will teach your kids about sex?
We intend to be the primary ones to teach our kids about sex. Danielle’s parents taught her about sex. John’s parents did not – ever. However, we both strongly believe that it is best for parents to be the ones teaching their kids about sex. Studies have made it clear that this helps prevent kids from exploring their questions about sex in inappropriate places such as pornography, asking friends, the Internet, etc.
Rather, I want to be able to teach my kids God’s good design and intention for sex. Then, when they do learn other things from the world about sex, they can recognize what is God’s good design, and what is a perversion of it – just as FBI counterfeit specialists learn the correct dollar bill, and then, therefore, can recognize anything that is counterfeit because they know the true one.
I have not yet had those conversations with my eldest (7 years old), but they need to come soon enough and I still don’t know exactly how to have those conversations, but I will absolutely still have them and do the best I can to be the primary teacher about sexuality.
Question #5: What age is appropriate to get a cell phone?
I think this varies, depending on the particular kid. However, in general, I would say sometime in middle school is probably the earliest appropriate time (we are the kind of parent that think limited screen time is good, so did you expect we would say anything younger than that?). I think at the latest, most kids should have them by the time they have a driver’s license. You want to be able to reach your kid when he/she is out driving on their own. There are of course lots of unique factors that play into each specific family and even each specific kid, so these are definitely general principles.
And, that does it. I hope you all have enjoyed the interview and possibly gained some insight or ideas in regards to your own children. As always, feel free to keep the conversation going in the comment section below. Check back in next Friday for our next installment of Adventures in Parenting.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.