Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pre and Post parenting differences

I'm never going to let my child eat anything processed.  I'm never going to let them have plastic toys.

I'm never going to be able to stick to these rules.

We say all these things before we have children.  We swear that we'll do certain things (or not do certain things) in the name of being the best parent in the world.   I did my best to make sure I said "I don't want him to have that many plastic toys"  I tried to keep an open mind.  It didn't always work and I know there were things that Ben and I said we'd never do.  But we kept that between us, we discussed that as parents to be and didn't think the rest of the world needed to know our plan for raising our child.

While I was out with some friends they started talking about how they were going to raise their children.  I didn't think it was a big deal because everyone talks about things like that.  She then started in on how her child would never have a cell phone before they were 16 (she's not even pregnant yet) and that any parent who did so was a shitty parent.
That got me.  Again it's the habit we seem to have of cutting down other parents.  I said that she might change her mind when she has a child and to keep in mind that she doesn't know what the deal with cell phones will be in 16 years.  
It almost felt like a person attack.  I had a friend who had just gotten her 13 year old a cell phone because it made it easier for them to reach her.   I did a ton of extracurricular activities in school and a cell phone would have really helped my parents know that I was ok and if I'd be late.

But truthfully it was her attitude that got me.  The "I'm going to be a better parent then all of these schmucks".   We all think that when we start, but she was saying it to me in a way that directly criticized my parenting.   When I reminded her to keep and open mind she got angry at me and said she knew what she wanted.

I think when she finally does have children she's going to be in for a hell of a shock.  Things aren't going to be so simple and her rigid thoughts on parenting won't work.  She'll learn the hard way that you have to be a lot more flexible with your parenting to fit the needs to everyone involved. 

Having an idea of how you want to parent is great.  Keeping an open mind is going to be a huge help.

6 comments:

gashach said...

The problem is people don't realize they are not born being parents. every child is a new learning adventure in how to do this wondrous thing called parenting. Those that predetermine their child's lives are curtailing their children for no other reason then ego. you can make decisions about what you want and need to do now, and in a limited future. 16 years? that is literally a lifetime away.

TeawithFrodo said...

that's true. But it is frustrating when you ask non parents to keep an open mind and they've already decided that their child will be doing calculus at 3 years old.

I've learned to take it one day at a time. And I'm glad I do because otherwise I'd be too busy and miss all the stuff going on now.

Samantha said...

See, I don't agree with 10 year olds having, say, smart phones or unlimited, unfettered texting, but a way to reach parents makes sense. There's a lot of grey and I think a lot of people miss that. Like so many things in parenting, it isn't all or nothing.

As I've learnt from dealing with PPD, you have very little control over life. In a perfect world, Piggles would only play with lovely wooden toys made by local artisans and would watch no television.

Reality is that she watches a lot of tv because I have it on and her favourite toy is a rattley bug of dubious lead content. There are some things I won't bend on (no Wiggles, no Dora/Diego/Kai Lan, no Princess Mafia), but I can't keep her from being exposed to them, only limit what we view in our house.

As always, it's up to the individual parent to decide what's right and it's easier to judge other people when you haven't walked a mile in their shoes.

TeawithFrodo said...

I'd say Garrett couldn't have a smartphone but he already has my broken Eris and can operate Ben's Droid 2.
I have no idea what phones will be like in another 5 years, let alone another 10.

I personally have no problem with a parent saying "no, I don't give my 12 year old a cell phone" it's the non parent saying "I'll never do this" and looking down on those who think/feel otherwise.

TeawithFrodo said...

I'd say Garrett couldn't have a smartphone but he already has my broken Eris and can operate Ben's Droid 2.
I have no idea what phones will be like in another 5 years, let alone another 10.

I personally have no problem with a parent saying "no, I don't give my 12 year old a cell phone" it's the non parent saying "I'll never do this" and looking down on those who think/feel otherwise.

gashach said...

The problem is people don't realize they are not born being parents. every child is a new learning adventure in how to do this wondrous thing called parenting. Those that predetermine their child's lives are curtailing their children for no other reason then ego. you can make decisions about what you want and need to do now, and in a limited future. 16 years? that is literally a lifetime away.