Midwestern Parenting…If there is such a thing

Midwest parenting at it's finest

Midwest parenting at it’s finest…me and my mom in the “big hair” 80’s.


This post previously appeared on Happy by Design

Have you heard the term “Midwest values?” Well, I’ve heard it a couple of times. And even here on this site we reference that we’re “raising our littles in the Midwest to have Midwest values.” Which means I should know what that means, but at this point I give all credit to Lindsay on coining that eloquent passage (because she clearly gets it).

I guess my only experience with this so far is knowing that others outside of the Midwest may have the most insight on this because it doesn’t make sense to me that I should define my values as geographically based when I don’t know what others value in the east or west.

So where do I turn for answers? Google, naturally. In one of my searches to define Midwestern values, I came across this Yahoo! Answer (and yes, I do consider that a credible source for opinion-based matters).

  •  Humble, trustworthy, family loving, down-to-earth people who are simply the country’s best gentlemen that subscribe to ‘tradition, humility, and honesty’
  • Bring integrity, trust, and hometown values when selling you real estate
  • Full of courtesy and politeness
  • People who embrace hard work and opportunity
  • Does not lose sense of what is genuinely important 
  • Independence is  greatly valued, but to express that openly would require tremendous courage and risk being labeled an outcast
  • Full of honesty which makes it difficult for one to lie

First of all, can I just say…wow. We are pretty fricken awesome! I mean, who wouldn’t want to have our values? Sheesh!

And now let’s bring it back to reality. Did I pick a biased answer? Well, maybe. But’s lets not get hung up on details. The real question is,  do I bring any of this into my parenting style? Let’s break it down.

Would I describe the way I raise my son to be, “traditional, humble, and honest?”

Truthfully? Not all three. And sometimes, I might only strive for one of those. I definitely want my son to live an honest life. But in the sense that I want him to be honest to himself, I can’t say right now if it will be a traditional upbringing or something more tailored to his particular tastes. I’m keeping the door open on the traditional value. As for being humble? I hope that he lives that way…when it really matters. But I also hope he has the courage to fight for what he wants or stand up for his beliefs, when necessary. Not all the time, but again, when it matters.

Will he, or any of our future children, be taught to sell real estate with integrity, trust and hometown values?

If and when we raise a child that wants to go into a real estate path, I fully support this. However, I will not be one of those real-estate moms. Oh no siree. It just really bugs me when you constantly see parents berating their children to “Ask for the close!” and “Don’t forget about curb appeal!” and “Check to make sure the water heater is in good condition!” I mean, cmon, the kid is nine…could you give him time to be a kid for a while? And if you find my approach controversial, well then maybe this isn’t the blog for you.

Do I strive to make sure my son is courteous and polite?

Well, he’s two. So we’ve got a long road ahead of us. But yes, I think he should always remember his manners.

Will our children embrace hard work and opportunity?

I can get on board with hard work and opportunity. It has served me and my husband well. It has served our parents well. Yes. That sounds good.

Do I want to make sure our kids don’t lose sense of what is genuinely important to them?

Tricky question, this one. I think our kids should know what’s important to us…their parents, and where possible, they should respect those beliefs. However, I also don’t want to impose all of my beliefs onto my kids. I want them to figure out what is important to them. And I want them to find good reasoning beyond even what I can comprehend.

Will we impart on them that independence is greatly valued, but to express that openly would require tremendous courage and risk being labeled an outcast?

Independence IS greatly valued. But I don’t know how much I’ll impart that it requires tremendous courage or that you could be labeled as an outcast, because I think that seems very limiting. I think it should just be that any decision you make (in life) has a consequence, but that if you believe in your actions and you have dreams to achieve, it shouldn’t matter what other people think of you.

Do I want our kids to be full of honesty so that it’ll be difficult to lie?

Well, I know it worked wonders for me. I’ve held in a couple lies and a couple deep secrets in my day. But I’ve also released those. And it feels SOOO good not to have the weight of a lie on your being. Also, it takes so much energy to remember the details you’ve crafted around a lie. Who wants that kind of worry in their lives? Not this girl. I can’t even play a game where I’m supposed to be bluffing. It makes my skin crawl! However, I’m also an open book, and some might describe me as an “over sharer” so there is a downfall to all this honesty, as well.

Ultimately, I’m sure I’ll do my best to show my kids the benefits of not lying, but in the end, that choice will be up to them.

An outsider’s perspective.

I have a couple of friends that grew up outside the Midwest, so I thought I’d corner one of them and get their thoughts. This particular friend grew up in sunny California and she was one of the first that had acknowledged what she saw in Midwesterners. When asked, “What do you consider, ‘Midwestern values’?” she responded with the following:

“Genuinely nice. Down to earth. What you see is what you get. If someone starts up a conversation in the Pick-n-Save checkout line, they aren’t trying to steal your purse, they likely just want to tell you about the extra coupon for cheese that they have and are willing to give you.”

I love that example! And also, I think I did that just the other day. So again, if that’s what others consider Midwestern values, then I have no problem applying that to my parenting approach.  One can only hope that their son will also share a great coupon for cheese with others.

So let’s hear it…

Does any of this ring true for my fellow Midwestern parents? Or could this be said of parents across the nation? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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