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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thinking aloud here...

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one. ~E.B. White

MrsC over here has been talking a lot about *parentless* kids ~ you know, kiddies whose parents seem to think kids can & will raise themselves without the need of too much help from mum & dad. One wonders if they think much at all but whatever.

Then last night I had the opportunity to witness the other side of this coin & I was seriously cringing inside. This poor little kiddie seemed to be mummy's showpiece that she dragged out to boast on, pummel & poke & prod to within an inch of his life because the poor child was a genius & misunderstood at school. I don't think much of schools so we won't go there & besides I have serious doubts about the reliability of the witness.

It got me thinking though, watching the kid try to squirm out of mum's clutches, because I don't know any perfect parents & I certainly don't know any perfect kids. Most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes of either under parenting or over parenting. Some things we get right, others we get wrong. Some of what we think is right the kids disagree with but because we're the parent we get to decide. Some of what we get wrong turns out to be right in the end & other stuff not so much.

I know I'm a lousy disciplinarian. I seriously expect my children to be reasonable human beings. What planet did I think we landed on?! And I can be a tad erratic ~ here today, gone tomorrow but I am excellent in a crisis ~ as my kids know. Very little shocks me when it comes to human behaviour ~ theirs or their friends. They know they can chat about whatever's on their minds & be heard & they all know they are deeply loved, cherished, blessings from the Lord. I think we've got that message across.

So what is your *happy medium*? How do you think you are doing? What would you change if you could? What do other parents do that makes you cringe?


seekingmyLord said...

My mother was the type to let us raise ourselves and my father was the type you *wish* was the same way, because of his anger and abusiveness. Of course, abuse and neglect more than make me cringe, but there are shades just off of those that make me feel a profound sadness also.

Hmmm! Unless there is something really blatantly wrong going on, I really try not to judge other parents in how they raise their children, because I really don't know what it is like to "be" them, in their situation with their particular child. (I watched my mother practically smother my youngest sister after my brother died and that was understandable given the circumstances.) I look at it this way, if the tables were turned, I would prefer the other person not to judge me in that way as well.

As to my happy medium, I try to raise my daughter as I wish I had been raised, although there have been times I have not practiced this philosophy as well as I would like. I have to say that watching the Princess with her father gives me a tangle of bittersweet emotions: wonderment, envy (she has what I never had), and intense delight. Overall, I always think I could be doing so much better and yet I know in my heart that she is disciplined fairly; the love she knows is not manipulation; she is self confident, loving, and well balanced--and so, as odd as it sounds, I wish I had been her.

A. said...

Well, I'm not a parent but I've witnessed a lot of parenting and, along the way, mused about how I would do it :) There seems to be a new trend of treating children like adults, as equals...which contrasts to my parents' oft-repeated line, "this house is not a democracy. Get over it."

The HoJo's said...

I think I am strict on things like manners, politeness, fairness, bed time, jobs around the house, old fashioned gal that I am ;o) I also enjoy giving the children the freedom to play and get grubby without worrying they will be punished for making a mess, within reason! I try to keep things equal between my three which does not equate to treating them the same, thats a toughie, beyond that all I know is I get a lot of compliments on how lovely my children are, so as much as I worry about getting it wrong, I must be doing some of it right :o)


Britwife said...

My parenting sounds exactly like The HoJo's comment above. Strict on some things, lax on others.
Mr. Britwife is the fun parent.
I am the opposite of you, Ganeida. I suck in a crisis. I am the panicker, the worrier. The "chook" running around with her head cut off. I'd like to be more stable in that department.

Persuaded said...

what drives me crazy in other parents? well, there is one mom of my acquaintance who seems to view her kids as a trophy of sorts. their schoolwork is put on display, they are the ones who do all of the offertory solos at church, etc. and they do ok... but i always get the feeling that the rest of us are supposed to bow in adoration of their wonderful-ness, lol. which i'm not in the least inclined to do;)

another family has a child with "special needs" and so he is allowed to run roughshod over the rest of the kids. he's 15yo now, and is still in the little kids groups. he intimidates the other children relentlessly with his bullying. i wish they would just see him as a kid first, and one desperately in need of some boundaries, instead of focusing solely on the fact that he has some challenges.

now, my own parents were wonderful, i need to say that right from the start. but they were also incredibly demanding, and seemed to value independence above almost everything else. i am basically a quiet, very mellow person... i've always taken things slow. very. slow. i think i drove my poor mom nuts and so she push-push-pushed me, which drove me nuts, and in the end made me feel very insecure. so what do i do? i don't push my kids enough, lol. but they are happy hearted, kind, Godly, loving kids, so i guess i can't have messed this whole mothering thing up too badly. *fingers crossed*

Constance said...

My mother since she is from Germany and my father because he is from the "South" placed a lot of value on manners and discipline! I was regularly spanked for my misdeeds or my mouthiness thus, making sure not to repeat those errors in judgment again!

I raised my kids to practice good manners and Charlie was even awarded 'Most Mannerly" a few years ago. Our kids were all spanked when they were younger. We found out that if we disciplined them in their early years, the older they got, the less we had to! Every child need boundaries, it gives them a feeling of security and safety.

My regret, what I wish I could do differently, is that I would have been more prayerful over their lives. I could have done more in that area. In my own family with its multitudes of dysfunctional beings, my generation is further along than my parents and some of my children are further along than I am. I'm thankful that my kiddos were raised in a Christian home with Godly parents who persevered in their Christian walk and love each other deeply. They say that kids are "caught more than they are taught". It was lived out in front of them every day and hopefully, over the course of their lives, they'll be more fruitful than Dave and I!

Sandra said...

My child is 35, so I'm not involved in parenting. I think I did some things right, lots of things wrong and mostly got through it. I was not born to be a mother, so I did the best I was able. He doesn't hate me, so it couldn't have been as bad as I often think it was.