Disclaimer: This post isn’t directed at anyone in particular. It’s just something that I’ve been thinking about in the last few days as CBG and I have been working through our “blended parenting” thing. It’s more of a self-awareness thing for me as I try to be honest about where I am and how I feel about parenting.
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It’s time I came right out and said this: I am a judgmental parent.
I certainly don’t do it on purpose. I try very hard, in fact, to not be a judgmental person in general. Parenting, though, is a different story for me.
My parenting style leans toward the “crunchy-granola, touchy-feely, I’m there to guide my children and NOT boss them around” kind of style. I work to respect my children as individuals and respond to their needs. I believe in arts and crafts, as little t.v. and computer games as possible, lots of fruits and vegetables and that my kids are smart, at least in part, because I started to read to them as infants. I breastfed each of my daughters until they were each about 2 1/2 – including all the way through my second pregnancy and even tandem nursed my two girls for several months. I was a stay at home mom for 6 1/2 years. I made my own baby food and gave my girls full body massages almost every night at bedtime until they were toddlers.
I am not a strict disciplinarian. I consider that their bad behaviour, when it does happen, is usually a signal that there’s more going on behind the scenes. For example…my five year old is going through a very whiny period right now. Instead of thinking that I simply need to discipline her more and not put up with it, I take extra time to talk to her and help her feel loved and appreciated and try to find out the reason behind the whine. Because I do believe that there is a reason for it other than she’s five and being a brat.
(Let’s be clear, though – I’m also decidedly NOT a “helicopter parent”. I give my girls plenty of space to explore, take risks and make mistakes. I give them as much freedom to do their own thing, and learn from life, as safety and common sense allows.)
My parenting is effective. My girls are sweet, polite, intelligent, spunky, confident, imaginative and articulate. They’re not perfect by any stretch. But I get compliments regularly about how well behaved and simply wonderful they are. Sure…some of that is in their own nature, but some of that is also in how they were raised (and are still being raised).
So I have to be honest. I’m judgmental when it comes to other people’s parenting. Things that irritate me? Too much tv and computer games, not enough physical activity, not enough reading, fast food, parents who don’t pay enough attention to their kids, and most of all, parents who don’t show their children any respect as unique, wonderful individuals who deserve to have their needs met. If you do these things – I will judge you, that’s just who I am. I see these things, in large part, to be lazy parenting. And as I get older, I find that I have less and less patience for laziness, both in myself and in other people. I think it’s a lame excuse for not having to make an effort to do better…not just in parenting…but in life as well.
Sorry. That’s just how I see it.
Does that mean that I never let my kids watch movies and they’ve never eaten a french fry in their lives and I’m 100% tuned into them all them time? Of course not. But the thing is, when I get impatient and raise my voice with my kids or let them eat a little too much junk food or have too many computer games, I’m right there judging myself. Not even *I* am immune to it.
‘Cuz the thing is…we can ALL be better parents.