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7.02.2007

REACTIONARY PARENTHOOD

So, I've been a parent for eleven years now and some days I feel so unprepared--like I haven't learned a thing in eleven years, but then there are days I feel like I have it figured out a little. Whenever I feel like I understand something as a parent, I get all giddy. And then I generally assume that everyone else knew it years ago. :)

The other day I reading a thread at twopeas about parenting and I was struck by the large number of peas who said they based some of their major parenting decisions on how they felt about their parents decisions as a child. Doesn't this seem like flawed logic? The discussion at peas was regarding spanking, however I do not wanto discuss spanking here, so let's just say the major decision was about serving Kool-Aid. Someone said "My mom would not allow me to drink Kool-Aid and I felt deprived and mad at her so I am going to give my child unlimited access to any drink he wants."

So now you are basing your parenting decision to serve unlimited Kool-Aid to your child on the fact that *as a child* you thought you were deprived because your mother did not serve Kool-Aid. You felt deprived of something you wanted and you can not part with your own childish selfishness in that? You can't forgive your mother as an adult? You can't come to terms with the fact that Kool-Aid isn't great for your teeth and maybe your mom was protecting you, but you (being a child) mistook her protection for some kind of mean-spirited deprivation?

Sounds like a great parenting strategy to me. (Not.)

Parenting based on the outakes of one's own childhood experiences scares me to death. We might as well put the child in charge and completely abdicate parenthood. (I like the word abdicate.) Let's put the monkeys in charge of the zoo, shall we?

There's more to being a good parent than making the babies feel loved and accepted and keeping them comfortable. Lots more. Part of maturing is accepting that and understanding that as an adult, and as a parent, it's your calling to put your child's well-being and long-term health ahead of junior's wants and whims. Even if it pisses him off.

Reactionary parenting--not the way to go.

In other news, the pruning sheers and I had a date today in my front yard today and I can already tell I'm going to be feeling it for days in my shoulder. I really have to do that more. Two of the mostly-dead bushes by my door are mostly removed. They were huge, even though they were zapped in that late-April freeze we had. I did discover that there's very healthy scads of beautiful English Ivy growing under all of the bushes. I adore Ivy and am trying to preserve it while I get the bushes out. Cross your fingers for the Ivy. It really is a beautiful ground-cover and I would love to see it continue to flourish there.

Roger Cook, eat your heart out. :)


4 comments:

TracieClaiborne said...

Great parenting post.
I do try and correct some mistakes my own Mother made.
For instance, she was VERY prone to not listening to me so I try to be very sensitive to that and always listen when CC's talking. Sometimes it's not fun, but I do try. I used to feel so unloved because I KNEW she wasn't hearing one word I said.

But other things that I always felt she did wrong, I now realize that part of the reason she did them was the stress of being a Mother, working full-time, etc. Being a parent has really helped me be more forgiving of her in some ways and harder on her in other ways.

All of that scares me because I don't want my own child to say these same types of things someday. Isn't being a Parent the world's scariest job?

Mimi said...

My parents parented pretty good. However, the feelings I had as a child aren't the guiding factor in the way I parent, no.

Mark, Sandra, Lane, Kolt, Boomer & Bindee(the dogs), & Harley(the cat) said...

Amen, sistas!!! I totally agree. i am raising mine with my own intuitions as a parent. We lived in another world back then, today is much different, so I believe parenting should be different also. Oh, and I love ivy too!!! Two of my grandmothers gave me a snip of theirs, and I have been growing it!!!

Anonymous said...

You have a great perspective. Children are just children and they certainly do not have the wisdom that comes from living to make their own choices about everything.
On a side note....BEWARE of THE IVY!!!My husband and I have been fighting it off for years. If left to its own it will grow EVERYWHERE
including the plumbing, basement, on tress (and it kills them!) But if you love yard work and are willing to trim on a regular basis it does look beautiful when its not messing up the plumbing!