Thursday, January 26, 2012

How To Parent

Recently, I went shopping at Target with my three little babes and as I rounded a corner I saw and overheard a woman in pure frustration say to her child, her four-year-old daughter, “Then why did you say you didn’t want it?!?”

Through sheer miraculous God-intervention my three children were behaving perfectly at the moment. Well, I’d like to take some credit for their behavior because time and experience has taught me a few tricks on how to have well-behaved children. 1) I went shopping during Ali’s nap time so she slept through the whole shopping trip peacefully in her car seat . . . with or without some form of sleeping aid, I can’t really say and 2) I shamelessly bribed the boys with popcorn and Cherry Slurpees from the Cafe if, and only if, they stayed seated in Target’s double-seated shopping cart.

Sleeping baby Ali <3

What can I say? Parenting is easy; it’s all about having the patience, wisdom and experience to know exactly how to drug and/or bribe your young, easily-manipulated children into submission.

But, back to the lady yelling at her child. So I round the corner, she’s talking in an aggravated, louder-than-normal voice to her child , who has her arms neatly folded across her chest and a very discerning look of abrupt attitude written all over her face, and the other mother embarrassingly notices me, a young mom who seemingly has “her act together” with her three (temporarily) well-behaved young children. I can feel her humiliation as she begins to doubt her approach, anxiously recants her former parenting approach and starts apologetically back-stepping.

As this happens, I feel a bit sad for the mom because I know exactly why she's doing this. I can't help but sympathize with this mom because as a mother, myself, I can feel the weight of judgments being passed on the way I choose to parent my own children, all the time.
It’s almost an atrocity to me that women, particular mothers who know how hard this job is on it's own, feel so strongly about their way of parenting that any and all other forms of parenting are clearly wrong. Although, more often than not, those words are never actually heard from their mouths but it’s rather difficult to hear these people over their actions.

There’s no book on how to parent and every child is different, they are truly different and if you don't agree, go have a second child and then come back and talk to me, so it’s impossible to treat and discipline them equally. The only form of discipline and parenting that I completely disagree with is a lack thereof. You’re the parent and you know your child the best so it's only fitting to assume that the parent should care for their child as they see fit.

I don’t know what exactly happened in the situation with the mom and her daughter but from what I saw and overheard, I gather that her little (shit) four-year-old was being a brat and using her obvious dismay to get exactly what she wanted. I know from having an almost four-year-old, myself, that those little buggers are incredibly smart and can be very efficient on knowing how to get exactly what they want.

Baby Aiden before he became a four-year-old when I really loved him.

I know that Aiden usually cries because he’s caused some self-induced injury to himself, Tristen cries because he’s being unjustly treated (by his older brother) or he just wants what he wants NOW and Ali cries because she’s hungry or she can’t see someone in her line of vision. The way I respond and the speed of which I react to each of my children varies. It’s not that I love one more than the other (well, at least, not most of the time) but they’re my children, I know them best and there are reasons why I treat them the way I do.

Sweet baby Trissy when we thought he was going to be a quiet kid.
She's such a happy baby and attention whore.

Thus, I think the same is true for the mom at Target. I believe you know her best and personally, I think she was just acting like a bratty four-year-old. I really wished you just kept parenting the way you say fit and not the way you thought I would see fit.

(Hugs) Four-year-olds are tough, man.


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    How to Parent