There’s Nothing Like Being Told You’re Doing It Wrong
Parenting is a minefield. It seems that you can’t do right for doing wrong and there will always be someone who comes along with advice to tell you how to do it better. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate advice and will quite often solicit it from those people I trust: My mother, my friend’s mother and a couple of my friends, maybe the Health Visitor at a push but we haven’t seen her for about two years.
What I don’t like at the moment is websites telling me about the “common parenting mistakes” we all seem to be making. You read the article and think oh no! (Biff, Chip and Kipper style) I do these things, therefore I must be a terrible parent. Now I must change, subscribe to a whole new way of doing things and then 3 weeks later find out via the Daily Fail online that someone has debunked that way of doing things.
But having done a lot of sifting through sites recently that tell me how I’m doing it wrong I haven’t learnt a few things.
1. I am right to set boundaries – I have been frequently told by Bebe that I am mean because I won’t let her do something or because I insist on her tidying her room or switching off her bedroom light so that she sleeps. I am not being mean I am setting boundaries. There is a line and an expectation of good behaviour which we strive to enforce.
2. Shouting never works in the long run – I’ve learnt this one the hard way in the last couple of years. Shouting only leads to your kids shouting and then you’re just a hypocrite if you tell them off for shouting at their siblings or you.
3. Which leads on to modelling good behaviour – if we want our children to behave then we have to model it. No child is going to automatically know how to behave in every situation, we have to show them how and gently correct them.
4. Children don’t learn if you always do it for them – it’s excruciating sometimes watching my eldest writing. She doesn’t find it easy and would quite happily let me do things for her but she won’t get any better if I do. She didn’t learn how to slide down the fireman’s pole at the park by me doing for her.
5. Remember they are children and need to enjoy being children – my girls are 3 and 5 and a half. I know that sometimes I expect a bit too much from them in terms of amazing behaviour and being able to sit still. They are active and want to be up and doing. My job as a parent is to encourage that and join in.
6. Bribery, whilst not a good thing can be used as a last resort – parenting gurus are holding their hands up in horror but if you’ve ever tried to get a 3 year old to sit through someone else’s christening then you know that a well placed packet of chocolate buttons and the promise of a Kinder Egg can work wonders.
To err is human people and we all learn from our mistakes.