I said in a previous post that I am not a talented mother. Other mothers around me (plus some on Facebook) make me confirm what I already knew : I am impatient, inconsistent, temperamental, unimaginative… and I take my kids to MacDonald’s. As a result, my almost four-year-old son is addicted. I sometimes bribe him into doing something by promising to take him to the shameful fast-food place – yes, even though for French people, it must the worst capital sin. The main problem with this is probably that I enjoy it myself.
Apart from bribing, I do all those parentally incorrect things : use the telly as a babysitter, give in (sometimes) to bickering, labelling children (“the dreamer” and “the pirate”), punishing for minor things, etc.
I actually read a number of parenting books, especially when my son was a baby : books about breastfeeding, about the utmost importance of putting a baby on a routine, about not ever trying to force a routine on a baby, about everything you should expect in the first year (this one is a good one if you want to become stressed about all the important milestones your two-month-od child hasn’t reached), about taming toddlers, funny English or American books and very serious and culpabilising French books (“si vous ne réglez pas ce problème dès maintenant, ce sera trop tard !”). Funnily, none of the advice seems to have stuck with me and yet, I am usually a relatively disciplined and obedient Asian girl. But I find that I am ageing in a strange way : I am a lot more laid-back than when I was younger (geographical distance from the parents might be a reason why). When I say laid-back, I might mean self-indulging.
Some of my friends try to raise their children according to the principles of “non-violent education”, aiming to avoid coercion as much as possible, explaining endlessly and negociating with their young kids. I admire them for their courage as I know how much energy they must dedicate to this squeezing reality through the frame of principles. And I feel slightly astounded when I see how differently people who are quite similar and received more or less the same education (at least, in school) go about parenting.
The reason why I don’t follow their path is not just my self-indulging ways. I think explaining things to children is good and desirable, but I don’t believe in endless negociating. I don’t believe reality can be reduced to a system. I don’t know. I think life is a thing that just flows and kids will grow up on their own. Of course, we should help, advise, teach, listen, etc. But getting all worked up because the kid did something unexpected or we lost our temper in spite of all our principles, well, it’s too tiring. In my case, if I got discouraged everytime things don’t happen by the book, I would just need too much money for the therapist. I keep hoping, in a somewhat subconscious way, that time / God / something will take care of things for me and sort us out, the children and me. At the same time, I realise I am only saying that because I haven’t got any real problem to face. If action was truly needed, then I suppose I would act.
And what exactly is the point of this post, then ? Mmmmm… No idea. 😉 Well, I suppose I would like to initiate a debate about parenting, but I don’t think anybody will be bothered to participate, so… 🙂