I was talking to my Bestie the other day and we agreed that hey, as parents we’re all just FAKING IT. No one has the instruction manual,….as far as we know. (If you have one, please get ahold of me immediately! I’ll help you market it and we can make millions!)
I’ve gotten so tired of the negative comments on types of parenting. Everywhere I look, people are sharing their reactions to the judgement of other “types” of parents. Most of the time it’s followed by an, “Oh, look at how much better I am than this parent” comment.
“If you are this type of parent, you’re ruining your kids” “If you’re not doing this with your kids, you’re damaging them.”
Come on folks, really?
I’m not an expert by any means, but can we just stop with the “my way is better than yours” attitude? I think we all can agree that we all want what is best for our children. Again, I know, that leads to the whole discussion of “What is best for children?” (I’m not wanting to go into this in this article.) I’m simply talking about the fact that we each know our OWN children and we are doing what we think is best as we raise them. (I’m not talking about the extremes that are truly harming their children under the guise of knowing what’s best.)
My friends and I all have different parenting styles. I’m known as a disciplinarian. Some of my friends have a completely different parenting style, BUT, there is one thing all of my friends and I can agree on in parenting:
We’re trying to raise good, law abiding adults that hopefully contribute to society.
After talking to different moms, there seems to be a consensus in that what we are trying to do is have kids that show kindness and manners….and not TOTALLY embarrass us in public.
It sounds so simple, right? Guess what, it’s not! We’re all just wingin’ it!
For all of us, we have those fabulous days that we are nailing the parent game. But can we put a finger on exactly what we did to make it a success for both the children and ourselves. Sometimes, yes.
Unfortunately, we also all have the face-palm moments in public of, “Where on earth did I go wrong?!”, while meekly shrugging and explaining, “They really know better than that….” Those car rides home are usually filled with either terrifying silence with you wondering why you agreed to this whole parenting thing, or a lecture in which your darling Things wish they were anywhere else.
If we’ve all been there why are we all jumping on the bandwagon to point the finger at “those” moms, the ones that are doing it differently than we are? How are you so sure that your way is better?
No parent is perfect. Yes, most of the time we feel like we’ve got it, but in those other moments…
So how do we raise kind, well-mannered children? If we are sniping at, and judging, one another as adults, what example are we setting?
We want our children to be kind to one another. Are you kind? We are always telling them to play nicely with others. Are you playing nicely with others? We expect respect from our children, but do they see you showing respect?
Children learn by examples, we all know this.
Random Acts of Kindness
We’ve all seen the posts of people helping strangers. Most of us have participated in them. Sometimes however, we seem to forget to do this with our own families. My children know that I love them, but sometimes I forget to show them random act of kindness. Just giving them a hug for no reason. Stopping on the way home for a special treat. A smile and a compliment go a long way for anyone. An extra story at bed time. Children shown gentleness and kindness will show it to others.
“What’s the magic word?” How many times have we all said this when our Things were little? We made sure to teach them “please” and “thank you”. However, when you pull up to the coffee drive-thru, do you automatically say, “Can I get a ….” or “Can I PLEASE get a….”? Do we really want to instill the “Do as I say”, instead of the “Do as I do”? I try to make certain that not only do the Things see me using these words with others, but that I use them when I am speaking to them, also.
People keep talking about the lack of respect we see in society today. If our children learn by watching and emulating us, and our example is bad, how can we complain when they are simply doing what they see?! Again, it leads to the “do as I say, not as I do”. In order for our children to learn to respect, we are going to have to teach it to them, not only through words, but in our actions. How can they learn respect when they see the adults around them judging, condemning, and bad-mouthing each other?
None of us got an instruction manual when we were handed our little bundles of joy.
I have 4 of these Things and you know what? Although I have the same rules for each, my parenting style is different for each Thing. Why? Because they’re not clones. If each of mine is different and I have to adjust, how can we point at ALL parents and simply say “you’re doing it wrong”? Maybe as we teach our children to be kind and use their manners, we should do the same thing!
How do you feel about parenting today? What is your parenting style? Are you proud of it? Share in the comments below so we can all support each other!