How odd that not more than a month after reading this post from Ashley (read it, it's good), I would find myself in the uncomfortable position of having my parenting choices constructively criticized.
Disclaimer: Hi! If you are the person who judged me, please know that I have no hard feelings, I am not offended, I still love you, this is not the first time my choices as a parent have been questioned (nor will it be the last), and I am certainly guilty of thinking that other people aren't making the best parenting choices when I really have no clue (and probably will do so again because I'm only human).
To make what could be a long story short, it was brought to my attention that I am not strict enough with my kids. That I let them get away with behaviors that I shouldn't allow. That I'm doing a good job all around but just need to be a bit less laid back and take the discipline up a notch.
To be specific, Ash has been getting more and more verbal. She's been experimenting with sassing me (mostly in gibberish with the occasional "no!" and "don't do that!" thrown in. Just the other day she asked me for some granola, to which I said sure, if she would get a paper cup out of the cupboard for me to put it in. Then she struck a pose and began to reprimand me, again mostly in her own gabbled language. But there was a distinct "You do it!" that passed her lips. I was surprised, but also amused (which shocked those who think I should be more strict). I put the granola container up and said, "No. If you want granola, you get your own cup." Ash then said, "Ok" and did so. I honestly think she was just trying out things she's heard before and that no malice or brattiness was intended on her part. I guess I could have put the granola away and talked to her about her "bad attitude." But I wasn't upset about what she said. She wasn't expirementing with being disrespectful. She's just now putting words together to make sentences and learning from the replies she receives.
Personally, I feel strongly wary about damaging the lines of communication between myself and my children. It's too easy to do. Especially for parents with strong personalities (like myself). I remember many times as a child not having the words to express how I was feeling inside and having the disciplining adult in front of my assume my silence was a bratty, disrespectful, bad attitude. I was then punished for their assumption. I really, REALLY don't want to make that same mistake with my own children. I know from personal experience that those kinds of experiences don't build trust and openess. They break bonds and cause gaps in relationships. So, if my kids express themselves at my expense occasionally, so be it. I will not be a parent who rides their child's arse over every little thing. I want my kids to feel comfortable coming to me with ANYTHING and know that I won't over react (really hope these aren't famous last words!).
Lest you think I am from the un-parenting camp. I am NOT. When my kids throw tantrums, they get put in time out. When they rip books, they lose their book privileges. When they take toys away, they have to give them back. Right now I'm working with Britt to stop her nasty hitting impulses (it's gonna be a loooooooong road). When they fight, I let 'em fight. Is that wrong? Spanks are reserved for only the gravest of infractions and usually when an impact really needs to be made. I do not think yelling or screaming is ever, EVER appropriate or right. Not, that I haven't been guilty of this, but it's still wrong.
Sorry if this seems a bit like a rant. It's not my intention to sound heated or upset. I'm just posting my feelings on this (meaning: judging, parenting, discipline, and everything else in between). It'll be fun to come back and read this when Ash truly starts to back talk (something I had a HUGE problem with as a kid). Plus, I'd really like to know all my bloggy friends' takes on these things too. Feel free to judge. It's not a comfortable feeling to be judged, but it's healthy. It encourages me to take a hard look at what I'm doing and tweak what might need tweaking.
When it comes to parenting, we are all less than ideal because we're not perfect and neither are our children AND everyone has a different ideal! :) What do you think? Do you often watch other peoples' kids and think "what a brat, MY kid will never get away with THAT!"? Or do you wonder what led up to the situation? Do you think kids are way out of hand these days? I do. I think that basic kindness and manners should still be taught and modeled, but that's is a whole 'nother topic for another post! Have you been judged recently? How did it make you feel? Do you think that parenting and discipline should be the same across the board for all kids? Do you think every child warrants a slightly different approach? What "parenting method" do you subscribe to?
Did I learn anything from this episode? Yes! I need to make sure I'm not being judgmental in my thoughts. We frequently make judgments when we are nowhere near the same situation. For example, when I hadn't even had children and you better bet each of MY future kids were gonna toe the line, or else! Or when I only had one child and couldn't figure out why parents of multiple children were so inept. I mean, come on! I have a kid and it's a cinch! You're just not doing it right! **belly laugh** Oh goodness. We're all so clueless. We've got life figured out so let's just help everyone else figure it out, too! Right? I am so guilty, guilty, guilty of all this type of judging. So, I'm going to work on that.
Oh, and no mean comments about my judgor please (though I highly doubt they read my blog, you never know). They only made one remark to me and I, then, opened up the whole conversation with them about it. I simply asked their opinion and was a bit surprised by what I heard. So, basically, it was an opinion/constructive criticism, so can I even technically call it a judgment? The judge part is probably just how I felt. Not that I think any of my sweet bloggy friends are capable of scathing comments, but just in case. :)
Can I end this post by just quoting from Ashley's post (seriously. read it.)? I totally echo her words, y'all!
She wrote: "I know many mothers who really DO have it all together and motherhood has come as naturally to them as childhood has come to their children, but I am not one of them. In support of those who, like me, are SHOCKED that it’s not easy I beg everyone to be a little bit nicer to the moms who are truly trying, but
mostly sometimes failing. I am definitely learning to give other women the benefit of the doubt, and I would hope that there are people out there who will do the same for me."
What she said.
P.S. According to spell check, I like to make up my own words. Often by just tagging "-ness" to the end of something. Cool.
P.S.S. I did a terrible job of making this long story short. I think I made it longer.