Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reevaluating My Own Viewpoint

A couple days ago, I headed to a mothers' meeting in another neighborhood. It was wonderful, very nice to meet new people and have NBD play with new kids, but it also caused me to think quite a bit.

After all, as the authors of 'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk' state, they read all the parenting books out there and were the best advice givers to those who didn't have children, until they had them. Then things change- your parenting 'style' evolves with time, with your children's ages, with basically just about everything.

Choices that you thought were set in stone, no longer are even carved into soap. Never say never, they say- and they don't know how right they are. Mr. NMF remarked that a family he knew were dead set on never giving their children candy. They tried fruit as the 'candy' instead. Result? Not surprisingly, it didn't work. They knew what a cookie was nonetheless.

I thought one thing before I had my daughter, now I think another. And it gets better and better with time. Books like 'Chinuch in Turbulent Times' or 'With Hearts full of Love' are my standbys, along with other Jewish parenting books like 'A Delicate Balance'. And of course I read so many other books as well. But books can only do so much, and then your parenting is tested by the children who you love so much.

But back to the original idea of my post. I met mothers who had the same viewpoints I did before I had children, but amazingly, they still stick with them. Things I thought would have been impossible, are right there in broad daylight for me to reach out and touch to see if they really are real. Like the woman who feeds her children only organic food, no sweets ever, and their favorite snack is chestnuts and whole wheat pretzels. Me? NBD can say bamba. (Really, I try to be good. Bamba is usually as bad as it gets around here.) After that, I took NBD to the park with only avocados and crackers with chummus, to assuage my guilty feelings.

So, should I have stuck with what I believed earlier? Should I ignore the fact that my perception of these things have changed?

Now, I don't know what to believe anymore.

4 comments:

tesyaa said...

Does it occur to you that the parents who "stuck with it" do not have the same child as you have? So that you are dealing with apples and oranges? Children have very different personalities and tastes. I always had trouble with this, since my kids have never been docile. But once I accepted my kids, and MYSELF, for who I am, and I stopped comparing, it was very liberating.

You have to do what works for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

There are always choices to be made, but tesyaa makes a very important point; one can only try tso much to bendthe will of one's kid to one's own...
Sometimes when a couple are married for a numnber of years before they have a child, any pre-conceived ideas they may once have had end up being dissipated away and they become parents open to many ideas and approaches in dealing with their child(ren).
Anon613-London

itsagift said...

Every parent and every child is an individual and what works for one child may not work for the same child in the same family. Each parent has to see what their childrens needs are and teach them to walk on their own unique path.

Comparing oneself to others can be a dangerous thing to do. You need to see what works best for yourself and your child and work that way!

I remember reading in "With Hearts Full of Love" that the reason why parents do not have to go to a training course and get a special certificate before they can qualify to become parents (like a shochet-he cannot be a shochet until he has certain qualifications and a certain amount of knowledge) is because there is no ONE WAY to raise children. Each child and each parent is wired differently and Hashem put a special siyata dishmaya and a desire to do it right into the hearts of each parent. So the way they raise their children is the right way for them!! No one can dictate to you exactly how you should raise your child because Hashem put the knowledge in your heart and in your mind already!!

observer said...

Others have made the most important points already.

I will make 2 points about the mother you met.

1. You do meet the occasional child who does not have a sweet tooth. This has NOTHING to do with "training", but if you get that lucky, it becomes much more practical to avoid sweets.

2. How old is this child? If the kid is already in school, then mama may have no idea what the child's REAL "favorite food" is. Talk to teachers about what happens in class...