Thursday, December 10, 2009

Are you a 'Good' Parent?

I don't know if I should proceed with this post because I may be asking for trouble...however something has 'got my goat', 'raised my hackles', 'where did these crazy sayings come from?'

As parents it is our job to form good habits in our children, right?  We should be training our kids to sleep well, eat healthily & be out of nappies by 3, right?  And to do all of this we should be sticking to tried and tested methods taught to us by the parenting experts, right??  Bah!

I'd like to suggest that trying to form good habits in small children is a load of...(I could use so many words here)...nonsense!  Honestly, how many 'habits' have you carried over from your early childhood to your adulthood?  If you were a good/bad eater are you still a good/bad eater?  If you were a good/bad sleeper are you still a good/bad sleeper??  Perhaps you are but I'd also like to suggest it has nothing to do with whether you were or were not as a child.  You see, you have this thing called free will, and no habit can withstand the power of free will.  It's a good thing, as you grow and learn you make decisions for yourself about everything.  Some parents think that if they develop healthy eating habits/good hygiene habits/etc that they will stick for life.  Habits schmabits....they can disappear in an instant.  Why focus on habits?  A good head start however is a completely different thing and I wholeheartedly agree that as parents we need to focus on showing/teaching/modeling good & healthy behaviours to our kids.  It's just the word 'habit' that I have a problem with.

The other thing that really riles me is any talk of training...sleep training, potty training, toilet training...animals are trained, not children!  I suspect the only parents who really believe in 'training' are those that have had dream children and believe that it was because of their 'good training' that they turned out this way.  I'm just going to chuckle and say, "Sure, you're an excellent parent, well done!"  For those of us who have children that won't eat or sleep no matter how much 'training' we give them, we know better!

And frankly, parenting experts mostly just piss me off make me cranky.  No, really, a lot of what they have to say is fabulous stuff.  But it's when they start trying to tell you their way is the right and only way....blah blah blah.  Every child is different, every parent is different, I say the right and only way is whatever works!!  And while it seems like an eternity at the time when you have babies that won't sleep or children that won't eat or kids that are throwing tantrums left, right and centre...all of it is just a blink of an eye in the big scheme of things.  It's a few years, it passes, and it'll be over and gone forever.

Call me crazy but I think it's much more important to have happy, healthy, respectful children (and parents) than perfect ones.  I believe my job as a parent is to raise, not train, my children.  To love them, care for them, tend to their needs, talk to them, listen to them, answer their questions, play with them, help them, teach them, encourage them, praise them...and when they're ready, in their own time, they'll get it, they'll catch on, they'll be able to do all those things you never thought would ever happen.  If you're doing most of these things most of the time you can't mess your child up too badly, surely.  I have never seen a 21 year old wearing a nappy, sucking their thumb, needing a bottle to go to sleep or sleeping with their parents *shudder*.

That's all I wanted to say.  Shoot me down in flames if you feel you must.  But I'd really love to hear what you think.

I might just run away and hide for a bit then come back when I'm brave enough to read the comments....see ya!


  1. (cupcakeoverdose from Twitter)

    That reminds me of my ex's mother who claimed he was toilet trained at 6 months old *cough6months?cough*. I still get a good chuckle out of that. You can't train any child. I prefer to call it teaching/demonstrating how and having the child learn. Training is such a strong word anyway.

    I still _try_ to get my kids in a good habit of eating vegetables. They don't always get eaten but it's the thought that counts? Hehe.

    I think Toilet Training should be renamed Patience Testing. Makes more sense. I'm failing at the moment :D don't get me started on old women trying to pass on their worldy parenting advice.. gag

  2. Hindsight is always so wonderful in parents and experts. My aim with Penny is to not screw her up too much and make sure that she is able to cope with most of what life throws at her.

    A friend always says - you can't teach a child to grow teeth or hair so why force them to do other things before they are ready! Leave them be, love them and encourage them to be the best they can!

    Sounds good to me!

  3. Nup, whatever works. Jebus, life is hard enough without making benchmarks that if you don't meet, your life will be over. Kids are kids, every single one is different and if you love and care, that's all that matters. x

  4. *here here* However I'm also of the opinion that pointing out what is good and not good can be almost as good as modelling it (at least I hope my routine of saying DON'T eat like Mum, Mum isn't well, Eat like Dad - all different foods will work till i get my act together)
    I do get over all the parenting advice - i was forced to control cry my son and loathed it so. back into my bed he came and was happy content baby who moved into his cot at 12 ish months because he wanted to..
    You have valid rant :)

  5. no need to run and hide (haha I have had that feeling when I have posted before!!!) I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said! Well done!

  6. Agree with all said. I think we often worry too much. I always remind myself, "This won't happen forever." A couple of my boys like to get up at the crack of dawn, which is annoying, but what am I going to do about it? Besides, before I know it, they'll be teenagers and I won't be able to get them OUT of bed! (Actually, that sounds kind of appealing right now. Imagine the peace and quiet in the mornings?)

    Great post Thea!

  7. Hi Thea,

    Nice blog :)

    I'd like to get in touch with you, could you please drop me an email?

    Thank you,


  8. Great post Thea! I agree though, very brave! I think that as long as you love your kids and do what is best for you and for them, then your doing a great job! I think it is one of the worst things about having kids... (Not that I have any!) but I see it happening.. People seem to think that just because you have children that means you need to be scrutinized over publicly. I think that you know what works best for you and your children. If you don't know, you can ask... Until then, everyone should keep their big noses to themselves....


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