I don’t think I’m too strict with my kids, but by modern standards many of the things I feel really strongly about are outdated. Some people would argue that I expect too much from my kids, or that I’m too tough with them too soon. I don’t expect miracles (kids are kids after all!) but I do expect more than most other parents I know. I would argue, though, that I expect it because I know that they are capable of it and because I know that I have given them the tools in order to be capable of it.
There are times, I’ll admit, when the things I’m strict about make my life harder. A prime example of this is the TV. I like having background noise during the day, and I always used to have the TV on. Naturally, this developed into having CBeebies on all day. While Wills is not interested in the TV and never pays it much attention, Amelia is a total box addict. She could easily sit in front of the box from the minute she wakes until bedtime, and the worst thing for me is that she’s so entranced by it that it takes for me to put my face right in hers and say her name 3 times before she hears me.
For that reason, we don’t have the TV on during the day at all. Instead we have the radio on. I noticed a massive positive difference as soon as I stopped turning it on in the morning. On Monday I genuinely forgot Amelia was in the house for the briefest time; my three-year-old spent just over an hour-and-a-half playing in her bedroom quietly. When I listened in, I could hear she was playing with her dolls house creating elaborate stories for each of the figures, giving them voices and characteristics. To me, that’s priceless.
There are a thousand parenting theories out there. Everyone has their preferences, opinions and likes and dislikes when it comes to parenting, and that’s great. But when it comes to modern parenting theories and styles, I think there’s a huge potential for confusion. Yes, it’s great to give kids the responsibility of making decisions sometimes, but do they get to decide that sitting at the dinner table is beneath them? Nope. Sure, no one wants to yell 24/7 and there’s huge benefits to not yelling at our kids. But does that mean thy shouldn’t ever be told off? No way!
I think most of us worry about our parenting in some form or another, and wonder if we’re doing the right things. It’s natural to worry about how we’re perceived by other parents. On top of that, it’s really easy to be swayed by the way other people do things. Should we be doing it like that, would that work better, am I a bad mum for not following x, y, or z? Ultimately, we all do things the way we think is right, and do what works for us.
I have a set of things that I just won’t budge on, and for us it seems to work. Those things help me to retain some of my sanity, and hopefully in the long run will help to create fairly well-rounded kids. I’m all about teaching independence, good manners, a can-do attitude, helpfulness and responsibility, table manners. Ultimately, I want my kids to know that nothing in life is free and that hard work pays off. I don’t want them to ever think that life will be handed to them on a plate because that’s just the case. I also don’t think it’s ever really too soon to start teaching those lessons.
At 3 and a half Amelia has little chores and I like her to take pride in them. She sets the table for dinner, and is now helping to tidy her room at the end of the day. We’ve been working on mealtimes with Wills too – using cutlery and saying “ta” when he wants something (as opposed to his go-to yelling and pointing!) Wills almost has ahead start on his sister I think, because he has her to copy. It’s a fun game copying her when she covers her mouth to cough, but my hope is that by doing things like that with him at this young age, they will become habits that he doesn’t even think about when he’s older.
It’s easy to get caught up with modern parenting ideals, theories, and all the rest of it. For me, though, there are some old school basics which just shouldn’t be forgotten about. How about you? Do you totally subscribe to modern parenting theories, or do you think there’s something in doing it old school?