Saturday, April 11, 2009

Incoherent Thoughts on Parenting

Otherwise entitled: Trying to pin down my own thoughts

What if it doesn't matter at all what parenting method you choose? I can probably rest assured that no matter what philosophy I subscribe to there will still be conflict, there will be the inevitable differences of opinion that arise between any two (or more) people who live under one roof. So the question for me then becomes whether it's worth the effort to choose the seemingly harder path of peaceful conflict resolution.

I do think that in many ways it would be easier to be a very authoritarian (authoritative? I can never keep those straight) parent. It is tempting to set up a system where the kids JUST LISTEN. Sometimes "Yes Ma'am" seem like the most beautiful words in the English language. But then my next question is always, at what cost? I DO want my kids to listen... to ME. I don't want them to follow others blindly, to be afraid to question, respectfully of course, those who are in authority. I want them to feel free to have their own thoughts and opinions, and to never think it's okay for someone to hurt them.

Which brings me around to the next thought. How could *I* be the one to hurt them? Because spanking or other physical punishment is hurtful. My anger is hurtful. My yelling is hurtful. But so is ignoring their needs in favor of my own when it has just been one of those days. But where is the line between letting them run wild, and stifling them into conformity? Can I say yes more without making them feel entitled? How important is conformity, anyway? How important is forcing MY agenda as compared to theirs?

That is another key aspect for me. How can I keep my own ego out of the way? I have a tendency to want to pick a parenting philosophy, absorb it fully, and do it "right"... to follow someone else's instructions without considering my own kids. Somedays it does just seem easier to follow directions. Is this a constitutional weakness? It's exactly the kind of thinking that I want my kids to avoid. Or maybe it's just desperate grasping... a hope and a prayer that if I just do it right, if I follow all the rules as laid out by someone who has never met me or my children, then surely we never have any further conflict. But then, didn't I start this off saying conflict was inevitable?


  1. Got here thru Mami de Paz. We are getting to see the fruits of our attachment parenting labor now as our teens mature. Beautiful journey. Yes, it would be easier to be authoritarian - and I have my days where I could give any nasty dictator a run for his money - but the easiest road is rarely the one I choose :). What a thoughtful mama you are!

  2. Thank you Sardine Mama! I am secretly a member of your fan club from back on the API yahoo group, so your feedback is welcomed and well received. Maybe we'll actually meet one of these days. :)