Just today I read two blog posts about parenting. The posts were similar in nature and came from a different point of view than the parenting style I particularly prescribe to. A certain viewpoint that I have come across a lot lately. Parents who feel that it is there job to prepare their child for the horrors of our world. Parents who are fed up with the supermom and attachment parenting and who want to let everyone know it. With these posts came lots of praise for the authors in the comment sections, a few amens and even a little hate for the “modern parent”. I normally would have just read on and left it at that but for some reason today I wanted to put my two cents in. So here is what I think about what I read, and the mind set about parenting that I have been coming across more often than not. The first post I read talked about how parents today need to stop trying to make childhood magical. The next hammered in the point that children should not be the center of our worlds because they won’t get that treatment as adults “in the real world.”
While my overall feeling about what I read was not a good one today I do know that these bloggers had good intentions and what they wrote helped me to reflect a bit on how I feel about parenting.
The first post about magic in childhood touched on the fact that many moms feel the need to be super mom; Pinterest posting, crafting, bento lunch making machines. There is a certain pressure in society to be perfect and do it all as a mom. My response to this is we all live and learn as parents and figure out what works best for us. If you don’t feel like setting up an art project for your kids then don’t but don’t be mad or irritated with the mom that loves doing these types of things with her little ones. Claiming that these moms are doing harm is ludicrous! The author writes that kids don’t need trips to Disneyland or special Christmas Jammies to make childhood memorable. I agree the these things aren’t a necessity but they can be magical and wonderful too (your kid won’t grow up to be a brat if you like making holidays a big production at your house.) Yes kids will find magic in something as simple as a walk around the neighborhood, a stick, or a pretty rock. This doesn’t mean the they don’t benefit from sensory experiences and play dates. They don’t loose this magic and wonder when new and exciting things are presented to them. They learn to experience the world in a new way. I feel that the magic grows as we expose our kids to the world around them. We are not our children’s entertainers but we are their teachers and teaching them to play with new things and new people is what we are here for.
If you would like to be the mom who takes her kids on special trips and does elf on the shelf for the entire month of December then do it! If you love this kind of thing then enjoy the magic that you see in your child’s eyes. If that’s not your cup of tea then by all means soak up that wonder when your kid finds that most wonderful rock or the perfect sized stick for whacking a tree! If you are the parent that experiences both brands of wonderment then good for you but we have to stop judging each other as parents and saying one way is better than the other. My only advice is to truly treasure your kids and don’t just push them to the side claiming that you’re fostering independence. They’re only kids for a little bit and watching and helping them grow is why we are here. That’s why I became a parent. So that I could treasure these little people and help them to grow into their best selves.
The second post is the one that really got me going and absolutely played into the last post so perfectly. A mother of two boys highlighted the idea that she does not make her kids the center of the universe because they will not get that kind of treatment in real life. She was frustrated with the way that others parent and felt that the “modern parent” puts too much emphasis on their child, coddling the child, sheltering them from “evil”and trying to protect them from failure. I ask if we are not here to do at least that then why do we parent? I’m not saying that we are to hide them away from all of these hard feelings in life. Our children will experience failure whether we shield them from it or not, it is our job to help them come through it with grace and dignity. When your child doesn’t make the sports team (yes this still happens, as much as others claim that this is a thing of the past in our nation) are we to tell them “tough cookies, that’s life”? Or would we be helping them more by working with our child to try harder, practice more and give it another try next year? Throwing your child to the wolves just because it’s a cruel world does not help them learn to cope, our job as parents is to help them learn to cope. Our children will only become independent members of society if we help them to be this way. Leaving a child to their own devices, always teaching that mommy and daddy are too busy for them does not teach independence in my opinion. Showing them that you can give your full attention to them at times and your full attention to other things at other times can help a child to see that they are special and important, it can teach them to give others this type of attention later in life. It will benefit their future relationships, their jobs, and how they parent later in life.
On the subject of being the center of the world; I think that everyone deserves to be the center of the world in someone’s eyes. Whether it’s your parent, your spouse, your child or even your pet you should be the most important thing to someone! I agree that kids need to be taught to be competent and strong, disappointment happens and we can help them to see that even when things are hard, we (their parents) are always a safe place for them to land. Even when life is hard my kids can come to me and my husband, where they are the center of the world! As I grow as a parent I hope that this stays true. I know that this is the type of attention and love that I received as a child and I know that my parents home is still to this day a place that my sisters and myself are some of the most important things, with the exception of grandchildren of course 🙂 . It is still my safe place to land and I intend on creating this for my children.
I think that this quote sums it all up:
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”