Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In which Tryph thinks about parenting

A friend of mine on facebook asked "what kind of parent did/do you want to be?"

Honestly, I've questioned whether or not I even should be a parent a lot this last week or so, and whether or not I made the right choice.

You see, for me, getting pregnant when I did was a huge cross roads.  I was still living at home and saving money to go to school, and I didn't want kids.  I was with a guy who I knew wasn't right for me and that we'd never last, and it was just the wrong time for everything.

So when I got pregnant, I wrestled with a few things.  The first, did I even tell the father?  He was even less mature than I was, and far less prepared for real life than me.  Not to mention the fact that deep in my heart of hearts, I knew I didn't want to be with him for the rest of my life.  (we had a lot of issues even up to that point, but I was young and dumb).

The second, did I even want to keep it?  My mother had a friend who was desperate for a baby, and I was honestly very very close to talking to her and seeing if we could arrange for her to adopt it.  In my mind, the baby was still very much an "it" in my mind.  and I HATED kids. Don't get me wrong, I've always been good with them, but I hated kids, still do to be honest...

Anyhow, when I came to grips, and realized that I couldn't give up the life I was growing inside me, I decided I had to figure out what kind of parent I'd be.

I'm still working that one out.

The basis of my parenting style is simple.  Imagine everything I wish my mother had given me, and do that.  It really boils down to five things though.

Always be fair
Be fair in explaining things.  Don't expect more from him than I can give myself.  Always listen to his side of things.  Never judge.  Never give an answer like "because I said so".  Always let him know what he's done well, or what needs to improve.  

Be firm
You need to stand your ground.  In the end, my word is law and I will enforce it to the fullest extent that I can.  I may not have a lot of "rules" I have very high expectations of my son, and I make sure that he knows what they are.  And you need to follow through.  If you set a boundary, and a consequence for breaking the boundary, you need to follow up with what you said you'd do, or the child will run over top of you.

Have fun
I can't stress this enough.  Being a parent should be fun sometimes.  It's not always fun and games, but it's also not always rules and being strict.  Fun allows you to connect with your child on their level, and they on yours.  It's more than just a reward, it's a necessary part of growing up and growing together.  When you have fun with your child, they have less to rebel against, don't they?

Consistency is key
Everyone involved in raising the child need to be on the same page.  Whether it's mother/father or grandparents, or the aunt who takes them for ice cream.  Everyone has to be on the same page regarding the rules and expectations.  This isn't to say that grandma can't spoil them rotten, but it does mean that grandma needs to understand that rules aren't made to be broken, if that makes sense.  It also means that you can't change your rules when they're inconvenient.  The rules are the same whether you're in the grocery store, a restaurant or at home.  You can't just capitulate because you find it embarrassing
 for your child to cause a scene.  When my boychild was little, he threw a fit in the store a couple of times.  Maybe twice.  He was always warned that he could settle down and stay inside, or he could come back to the car with me.  Never did we make it further than the parking lot before he'd calm down and act reasonably.  Though, those two times I did throw him over my shoulder and carry him outside.

Always be ready to throw things out and start over.  Every child is different.  Every parent is different.  Every situation is different.  And sometimes, you need to rewrite your rule book on the fly.  This is something that 12 years after I found out I was pregnant, I'm still learning.  

There are times I'm still not sure I made the right choices about becoming a parent, or who I'm partnered up with on this quest.  All I know is that I made them, I'm here, and meeting my son was the best thing that ever happened to me.  

Even if he is acting like a delinquent lately. 

I guess that's the last rule.  Never be afraid to not know what to do, and ask for help.  

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