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What Would Charles and Caroline Ingalls Do?

Bringing up kids is hard, especially these days. But the frontier was no picnic, either. One of INSP’s favorite couples always seemed to strike that delicate balance between allowing their children freedom and reining them in, usually with a valuable life lesson in the mix. Let’s take a look at Ma & Pa Ingalls’ parenting style!

 

1. Kids Change your Life

Think of your children often. In the, Ingalls’ case, even when you’re on your second honeymoon.

Ma’s Holiday, S1 Ep8, LHP008

Ma: “I talked and worried about the children the whole time!”
Pa: “I will be very honest with you and tell you I’m as anxious to go home as you are.”

 

2. You’re in the Starring Role

Be a positive example. Kids take their lead from how their parents act, think and speak. Ma & Pa Ingalls live their beliefs providing role models based on morals, acceptance, love and compassion.

 Laura: “He’s afraid you’re going to whoop him, Pa.” Pa: “What in the world for?” Solomon: “I took one of your eggs.” Pa: “Oh, I see. Well in that case, you’ll probably be wanting a glass of milk.”

Laura: “He’s afraid you’re going to whoop him, Pa.”
Pa: “What in the world for?”
Solomon: “I took one of your eggs.”
Pa: “Oh, I see. Well in that case, you’ll probably be wanting a glass of milk.”

 

3. Stand up for your Kids

Kids are going to get into mischief. It’s part of growing up. But when they are wronged in situations where they can’t defend themselves, go to bat for them. Pa always seemed to know when to let the kids learn from experience and when to intervene.

Pa: “My daughter said she didn’t do it and I believe her.”

Pa: “My daughter said she didn’t do it and I believe her.”

 

4. Take Advantage of Teachable Moments

Even great ideas with the best intentions sometimes don’t work out. Impart the lesson with love and consideration. Charles and Caroline let their children know when they did something wrong, and made sure the kids owned up their mistakes and apologized, at the very least.

Pa: “You made a mistake and you’re going to own up to it. This won’t be easy but you can’t hide what you did forever.”

Pa: “You made a mistake and you’re going to own up to it. This won’t be easy but you can’t hide what you did forever.”

 

5. It Takes a Village

Have compassion for other children and help when you can. Charles and Caroline are always quick to lend a hand, especially when it comes to a child in need.

Ma: “It’s a promise, Abel. You’ll have to work but I’ll help you. In no time at all you’ll be reading words." Abel: "I’m too old. Too big."  Ma: "No you’re not. Give yourself a chance! You’ll see."

Ma: “It’s a promise, Abel. You’ll have to work but I’ll help you. In no time at all you’ll be reading words.”
Abel: “I’m too old. Too big.”
Ma: “No you’re not. Give yourself a chance! You’ll see.”

 

6. Sacrifice is a Part of Life

When money is tight, the whole family must pitch in, doing whatever way they can. Charles takes several odd jobs. Mary works as a seamstress. Caroline works the farm and Laura does everyone’s chores.

Laura: "Please let us help, Pa."  Pa: "What a family. It does make a man proud." "Mary: "So you’ll let us?"  Pa: "I couldn’t do it without you."

Laura: “Please let us help, Pa.”
Pa: “What a family. It does make a man proud.”
“Mary: “So you’ll let us?”
Pa: “I couldn’t do it without you.”

 

7. Do What Ya Gotta Do

Family is the priority—giving them a home, keeping them safe, fed and loved. Pa Ingalls takes on many extra, often dangerous jobs for the sake of his wife and daughters.

"I'm supporting a family! I'm doing a man's work!"

“I’m supporting a family! I’m doing a man’s work!”

 

8. Pet Project

Kids and critters go together, and sooner or later, a furry friend may become family. Depending on what “follows them home,” you’re in for another teachable moment…or a moment of shrieking in horror. Good luck. Caroline and Charles deal with many pet adventures over the years.

Caroline: “Well I know it’s a goat, but what are you doing with it?” Laura: “Well I haven’t quite figured that out exactly yet. He’s kinda nice, don’t you think?”

Caroline: “Well I know it’s a goat, but what are you doing with it?”
Laura: “Well I haven’t quite figured that out exactly yet. He’s kinda nice, don’t you think?”

 

9. Make Time for a Family Vacation

You’ll create great memories, and even if things don’t go exactly as planned, the whole family will look back and laugh. Ma and Pa may find themselves in awkward situations, but they make the best of it.

Mary: "Laura, look."  Laura: "What is it?"  Mary: "It’s the poison ivy."  Laura: "What will we do?"  Mary: "I think we better go to bed, now."  Laura: "Mary? I think we better tell pa."  Mary: "It’s too late! Besides, it was Willy’s own fault. Maybe she didn’t touch it enough. She might not even break out!"

Mary: “Laura, look.”
Laura: “What is it?”
Mary: “It’s the poison ivy.”
Laura: “What will we do?”
Mary: “I think we better go to bed, now.”
Laura: “Mary? I think we better tell pa.”
Mary: “It’s too late! Besides, it was Willy’s own fault. Maybe she didn’t touch it enough. She might not even break out!”

 

10. Be a Part of your Community

Get kids involved in your neighborhood—from street fairs to social causes. For the Ingalls, community life and family life are intertwined. Even the most vexing neighbors (not naming names!) are like family.

"Caroline - It’s a community effort! It’s something we can all participate in and enjoy!"

“Caroline: It’s a community effort! It’s something we can all participate in and enjoy!”

 

11. Be a Good Sport

Kids love to play games and with that, naturally, comes competition. Teach them to be gracious winners and losers, and that the biggest competition they’ll ever face is themselves, as they strive to be their best. Pa Ingalls knew that the winner is not necessarily the person who goes home with the trophy.

Pa: "There’s a lot more in this life than the frantic drive to win. Important thing is taking part, competing. That’s the most important part."

Pa: “There’s a lot more in this life than the frantic drive to win. Important thing is taking part, competing. That’s the most important part.”

 

12. Have a Sense of Humor

Encourage your child’s imagination and have a good laugh when things get a little wild. Laura has a vivid imagination, sometimes to the astonishment of her parents, but usually good for a chuckle.

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