~Parenting shouldn’t feel like a triathalon
Parenting is hard enough without comparing yourself to anyone else. Yet it seems that for most people, having a child is an extension or a reflection of the way they felt as a child or the way they grew up.
We take what we experienced and either used it as the example of how to parent our kids or we used it as a lesson of what not to do. We feel if our child isn’t meeting “approved standards” that it reflects on us as a parent or person.
To a small degree this is true. We can tell who doesn’t set guidelines for their kids and who does….or can we?
Kids are people too. They too make their own choices and grow up to be a unique individual despite growing up in the same family. Some have special challenges to overcome or needs that require special attention. Sometimes great parents have wild kids and sometimes shitty parents have great kids. It happens.
What could we do though if we supported one another rather than compared ourselves and our kids to others? If we weren’t afraid going to someone for advice would make us feel and look like a failure? Shame on those who make it a competition, who aren’t content to share stories and support, who judge unfairly. Shame on us for allowing it to make us feel bad, for it to cause us to question our love and care for our children. Shame on the one-uppers, the holier-than-thou, the condescending I-am-better-than-you and my-child-is-an-angel parents who make it look and feel bad for the rest of us. What are you scared of? The same thing we all are………..failure.
I think sometimes we don’t even realize we are competing. We just know that we “defend” our territory without conscious thought. A parent who exaggerates just a smidge what their child is doing…..well I never…Okay maybe I do and you do and we all do. LOL
My parenting has definitely been influenced by my childhood. I think I explain a lot more than I need to sometimes to my kids, but mostly because I always hated not knowing WHY a rule was set or something was said. It felt unfair. I didn’t believe in following blindly then and I don’t now. I also have seen examples of what I will NOT allow.
I was 19 and my ex and I were living in our first apartment. I worked at the grocery store next door. It was super convenient. As I was checking out the guy in front of me, the lady behind him was in the middle of an argument with a very strong-willed and disgruntled child who couldn’t have been more than 5. The woman appeared to be at her wits end and very frazzled. I literally stopped moving when the child shot to his feet in the basket of the cart and thrust a finger under her nose. He loudly announced, “I don’t like that you did that and you WILL take me to the zoo later”. Much to my dismay and shock she did nothing. Then and there I decided that I wouldn’t take that crap from my kids either.
So where does that leave me? Somewhere in the middle I reckon. I know one thing is for sure, I do NOT believe in parenting by fear. I see no reason for your kids to fear you. It isn’t going to influence them to make smarter choices when out with peers, if anything it makes it more likely they will rebel. Though they appear to behave while in the home, skating the line of what they can get away with, in the end – the disrespect will eventually show. Because respect doesn’t slap a person in the face for fighting for, caring for and supporting a kid through their whole lives.
I don’t view myself as a permissive parent, my kids have chores, say yes ma’am and no sir, they share and they genuinely care for others. They don’t put each other or others down. They don’t run around acting like heathens in public. They don’t cuss or bully others. They seek to help others who are in need or feeling down too. But I don’t always carry the authoritative weight that I wish I did, my husband seems to do better, but I don’t feel like that is a failure necessarily. My kids know I mean what I say, I just don’t like to always have to be punishing or yelling or spanking for that matter. I feel like at 13/10 they are getting to old to be spanked like children. And for that matter if they aren’t genuinely understanding what the did wrong and why then how are they learning coping skills? But more consistency and more “standing on them” till they get the hint would be in my best interest and theirs.
I know for Ordinary Dad’s part, he feels betrayed because he did fight for those boys, many many times over the years. They willingly were a part of the custody change, they were not only asked about us getting married – they stood up as their father’s best men and along with everyone in attendance vowed to support our marriage. If they knew what respect was, if they TRULY respected themselves and their father, they would not be acting like they are now. If his father respected him too then he wouldn’t be going behind my husband’s back and his siblings wouldn’t be siding with others when they don’t live in the continental US. Hawaii is awfully far from Tennessee to be judging something you know NOTHING about personally – only the twisted gossip.
It is time for us all to stand up my friends. Don’t be bullied or pushed around. You love your child, you cry over, pray over, worry over your child 24-7-365 ~ there is NO ONE more qualified than you to know what works and what is best. Don’t let someone push you into parenting against what you heart tells you. And don’t betray yourself by not believing that 1) you can do it, 2) that you child is blessed to have you care and 3) that you are doing the best you can with what you have and are more than willing to do more if life brings you new knowledge or understanding.
Parent without fear, live life unchained – it is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your child.
Namaste my friends. Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed.
P.S. I’ve said before and I will say again ~ if you don’t feel like you are screwing up, I suspect you are doing it wrong LOL