Parenting is like a health fad. Eggs are bad for you; no, wait, now they are okay. Don’t eat red meat! Wait, here’s a diet entirely based upon protein.
What’s a person to do?
Yesterday, I wrote about an article that’s in the April issue of Parents magazine talking about the 10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Children, which included “Be Careful”, “Hurry Up” and “We Can’t Afford That”.
The thing that got me all riled was the use of the word NEVER. NEVER as in there is not one instance when it would be appropriate to utter those phrases. I think that’s a bit of a stretch.
Clearly, it’s just an opinion. And opinions are all over this here Internet. I mean, here’s me, spouting off my opinion of this piece.
I had several readers and commenters mention the obvious – that there is no perfect equation or method of parenting and honestly in a few years, some EXPERT out there is going to tell us that we should all be telling our children to “Be Careful!”
Obviously things change. The pendulum swings back and forth.
We use car seats now because it keeps our children safer. We can all agree that’s better. But we also have schools that have banned hugging. Um, what?
When I was 4th or 5th grade, I was granted a big ol’ independent privilege. I lived in Miami, FL at the time. My across the street neighbor and I were allowed to walk to the Eckerd Drug Store just out of our neighborhood. It was probably a 10-15 minute walk and across a two lane, heavily traveled street. We didn’t care. It was an awesome adventure that ended in us buying candy at the drug store.
Today I cannot imagine letting my child do that at that age. Middle school? Maybe, but any younger and I can feel the judgement from people already. That’s what society has done to us. In elementary school, I went outside to play and didn’t come back for hours. Nowadays, we panic if we don’t see our children for five minutes.
Kids need to learn independence. They need to know that Mom and Dad get mad at them and sometimes yell. And they need to know they are loved.
Whether we choose to spank, feed them fast food, use cloth or disposable diapers, let them use an iPad, drink juice, go to preschool, play sports, it’s okay because we’re the parent. So while an expert may advise for or against something, it’s still our call. It’s our family.
We know that each and every child is their own person. They all have different needs, learning styles and personality. So what works for one doesn’t work for another. WE KNOW THIS. Yet articles like the one I mentioned above still get to me, to us. Because no one wants to be told they are doing it wrong.
So here’s what I’m going to tell you. You’re doing it right. Unless you are physically harming or mentally abusing your child, you are doing it right. Let go of the doubt. There is no right answer. You know what to do. We all just need a little reminder every now and then.