Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yes, No, Maybe So?

So I was thinking...many of my friends have kids and very few of us would say that our parenting style is the "right" parenting style. Or would we? I know that there are mothers secretly critiquing one another behind their backs. It sucks, but it's the truth.

This topic seems to keep popping up, especially last week. It was discussed with church friends, family, personal friends and it left me pondering children in general and how we "parent" them and what onlookers may think.

Now I am the last person to tell you that my "style" of parenting is what everyone should use (do I actually have a style?) but I do hope that it works for my family. Let me tell you a little something I have realized.

I have a "Brat Theory." Yep, I do. Here's how it works. Picture the scenario...

Two moms are having lunch with their children and they notice another mother in an opposite booth trying desperately to discipline her toddler. The toddler continues to wriggle out of the booth and throws herself on the floor. The mother, quite embarrassed attempts to collect her dignity and deal with the situation in a quiet manner. The toddler then hits her mother and screams even louder. The mother calmly collects her things, heads for the door with her head down, toddler in tow while the rest of the restaurant stares at her. The best part of all of this is the two moms at the first table commenting to one another at what a "brat" her child is. (*Pause*...we have all been guilty of this, admit it!)

WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE PEOPLE!!! Maybe not this exact situation, but if you are a parent you have dealt with defiance, tantrums, disrespect, disorder, chaos and more. Too often we are quick to point out the "brat" at the next table without realizing that our own children have their "bratty" moments (sometimes all too frequently.)

I know that my children are far from perfect. I have three children in three very different stages right now. I'm dealing with a puberty/hormone driven 12 year old, a strong-willed, independent three year old and a sleep deprived, teething one year old. And I have found that I change my parenting style with each one. They have different personalities and different needs.

Baby Wise, Love and Logic, Dr. Sears, Attachment Parenting, etc., there are tons of "styles" out there. You do what you think works for your family. But please, please, puh-lease... do not judge the mom wrestling the toddler out of Target. Instead, move aside, offer a smile and say a little prayer for her. It could very well be your kid tomorrow.


gypsimomma said...

wow! amen!

Wendy said...

Oh Jen, I know what you mean. Midgey McMidgerson has been such a pistol lately. It's so hard to take a toddler in public. They are unpredictable, impulsive, and anything can melt them down. Those who haven't had toddlers or who don't remember having toddlers.

I usually take my baby carrier into stores with me and when Noah freaks out I put him in a "time in" where he has to stay in the carrier unless he chooses to sit down in the cart.

Don't worry about what others think...I find karma delicious. :-)

Wendy said...

**I mean those who haven't had toddler or don't remember having toddlers are usually the ones who like to judge. :-)