My parenting style has had time to evolve over the last four years to the point where I feel like I can now say I actually have a parenting style. I’m realizing I’m kind of an aunt mommy. I was an aunt for so long, that by the time I had my first kid at the age of 33, it was sort of ingrained in me.
I’m not sure how well this will translate into good parenting, or resulting in children that society cares to be in possession of, but as far as that goes,
I don’t really want my kids too concerned with what society does or doesn’t want out of them.
I expect certain tenets of faith, charity, gratitude and confidence from them, and accomplishing those, I think the rest will take care of itself.
Here are a few of my offenses as a bad parent.
I yell at my kids.
I hate myself for it, but I’m a yeller.
I cuss in front of my kids.
I explain that I’m an adult so I can use words I won’t let them use. Look, the real world is full of double standards, they need to get used to it and be able to tell the difference between what they can do and what a grown up can do.
I use a wooden spoon to smack a leg.
You can thank me when my child is a decent human being rather than a brat that knows you’re not going to do anything to him other than time out. Don’t get me wrong, we utelize time-outs, but sometimes a more expedient form of redirection is more appropriate. Don’t bother commenting on how you feel about swats, I don’t care.
I let my kids stay up late.
Look, I don’t want to start my day at 6am, and I don’t have to. The kids still get a full night’s sleep. I don’t see why our day has to start at the crack of dawn. It doesn’t. I take them to daycare about 9:30 on the days they go.
I turned both my kids to forward facing at one.
Again, don’t bother commenting; I don’t care if your child is rear facing until they’re ten, I trust your judgement as a parent. I’ve seen comment wars about safety and mommy shaming. One group goes as far as to say, “cast it rather than casket.”, in regards to their legs being all bunched up rear facing. Is this the mentality that parenting has succumbed to? Get over yourselves. Ugh.
I let my kids drink soda and eat sugar.
The thing is, my kids prefer water and that’s all they drink all day, and usually all they will ask for. But if they get a coke with dinner when we’re out, I don’t think it’s going to stunt their growth. The old adage, everything in moderation, including being overkill health food nazis, applies.
I let my kids talk back a little.
This one is hard for me as I was raised by a drill sergeant. Literally. My father was a drill sergeant. But, I struggle with them completely acquiescing to authority figures. Authority figures can be wrong, deceitful, dishonest and not have your best interest at heart. I want them to have the ability to discern between reasonable and unreasonable requests from authority figures.
I don’t coddle my kids when they fall (or fail).
We’ll be at the playground and they will take a pretty good tumble or have a pretty good wreck. I don’t jump up and run to their aid. I give them a second to catch their breath and assess themselves, self-sooth. The exception is if they’re doing that holding their breath before crying thing, I’m there in a split second. Most of the time they come to me crying a little still. I ask them if they are ok, offer a hug and send them back out to attempt the same thing that just upset them.
I don’t teach my kids to let others win.
My older son was watching a cartoon and the moral was that the really good person should let the lesser skilled kids win. I made him change the channel and won’t let him watch that carton anymore. Are you freaking kidding me? In real life, some people are better at things than others. Whether that’s in the workplace, sports, driving, whatever. I do believe in them assessing a situation and responding according to their values of being decent human beings. Crushing people younger or disabled is not acceptable, but to go easy on someone your age who is perfectly capable of competing, just not as well as you, in order to keep the status quo and let everyone be winners? Um, no. There will be things that my boys lose at. They can either work hard and get better, or accept that maybe they aren’t very good at that skill, and even if they work harder, may still not be as good at as the other kid.
Find something you are good at and crush it, while enjoying whatever other thing they are not so awesome at.
I believe in punching bulies in the mouth, not tattling.
We were watching another cartoon that said if you’re being bullied it’s ok to be a tattle tell. There was a whole song about it. My older son asked me about it, because it did not jive with what I hold told him to do. I said, no, if a bully hits you or messes with you, stand up to him. Bullies pick easy targets. The ones that stand up to them are not worth the effort. If you tattle, it will only make it worse. A teacher or a parent cannot always be there for them. Adult bullies are the same. If you punch them in the mouth either physically or metaphorically, depending on what fits the offense, they will back off. Even if you get your butt kicked standing up for yourself, you are no longer an easy target. I promise this is true. I have been both the bully and the bullied.
Look, I’m not writing some parenting manifesto that all parents should adhere to.
This is how I parent.
I have this crazy notion that there is more than one way to raise a child, not some homogenized standard to which we all must adhere. Let’s ease up on each other and support parenting of all styles.
Time will tell how my kids end up, and I will NOT take full responsibility.
I’ll take a lot, but at some point, my kids are going to be responsible for their own choices, that’s why I give them opportunities to fail and succeed based off of what they choose to do. Want to jump off the top of the playground toy? Go for it, let me know how it turns out. If I run over and stop them, I’ll have to always be there to stop them. Obviously anything more than a few feet off the ground would warant an intervention. But if the result is going to be a hard landing, I won’t have to worry about convincing him not to jump off the 20ft high toy. They will have a frame of reference to the lower jump. I think kids are smart enough to extrapolate this out to other experiences in their lives.
My job is not to always be there for them.
I’ll only be there for them a short percentage of their lifetime. My job is to prepare them to be out there without me, and hopefully come back every now and again for a hug and a kiss.