Front Porch Parenting

The next time you’re invited to a baby shower, consider giving the mom-to-be a front-porch swing.  There is something about the rocking motion that brings out the best in us and calms down the worst.  A baby with colic is pacified, a skinned knee is soothed, a broken heart is mended, and a life lesson is shared easily on front porch swing.  Taking time to sit with our children, coupled with the gentle sway, is a recipe for meaningful parenting.  It tells our children that they are worthy of the most valuable thing that we can give to them: our time.

Age isn’t a barrier on a front porch swing.  Grandpa Bob, sitting on the swing, sharing stories of Normandy, patriotism, and sacrifice is just as important as a son or daughter curled up on your lap, wondering what kind of trouble you got into as a kid.

Sometimes, after a hard life lesson, sitting together in the swing communicates to our children that they are forgiven and their relationship is secure.  The swing can be an oasis to a child that needs to soak up some quality time.  It gives parents an opportunity to share and draw out children’s joys and fears.  It gives teens a safe place to talk about relationships, grades, and crushes.  One of my cherished moments will forever be sitting on our porch swing, cuddled up with a child and a warm mug of cocoa, listening to questions about why butterflies can’t swim or “how will I know if I’m in love?”  Rules without relationships breed rebellion and contempt.  But a front porch swing is the platform we can use to build relationships that willingly embrace the rules.

Vicki and her husband Terry are the parents of eight children and were named Colorado Parents of the Year and Family of the Year, 2001.  Vicki is the author of two books, many articles, former talk show host, and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.  To get your parenting questions answered, write to Vicki at

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