A comment that was made on my “Do you leave your child” post the other day gave me the idea for another discussion that I wanted to bring up. Why am I afraid to parent my children? It seems that nowadays, society has become more judgmental as a whole and a lot less understanding of everyone’s individual choice on how to lead their lives. I can’t be the only one who feels afraid to parent sometimes because of the judgment that could come from others.
For example, when I was growing up, if I did something wrong or mouthed off to my parents, there was a great chance that I was going to get spanked for it. It was socially acceptable then and even the private school I went to in elementary school was still allowed to issue corporal punishment.
Let me be clear that we are not a spanking household by personal choice. When my kids were toddlers, I may have given their hands a light tap to let them know something was unsafe to touch, but other than that, I can list the times I have spanked my children’s butts on one hand. The most notable time was when my oldest got the idea from somewhere that it would be a good idea to call me the “B” word which he heard from kids at school. Spanking is just not the way that I choose to discipline my kids, but that doesn’t mean that it may not be right for another family.
However, spanking is just a fraction of what is being judged. It is impossible to go anywhere with four children and sternly correct them without getting looks of disdain from others. When did it become acceptable for everyone to feel they have a say in how you should parent your child and what is right or wrong?
One time, I was at Old Navy with my oldest who was about 2 at the time. He had gotten out of the stroller and was throwing a soccer ball around the store. I asked him to get back in the stroller and he would not, so I picked him up and carried him out while pushing the stroller. He began to scream because he wanted the ball. An older lady started shaking her umbrella at me and asking me what on Earth I was doing to “that child.” I informed her that he was my son and I was doing nothing but carrying him out of the store while he was throwing a fit.
I understand the child abuse is very much a problem, but I really question what some people consider child abuse. Other people should not be able to shame parents into thinking that they have to always coddle their children and give them only positive reinforcement or they are bad parents. This approach may work for some, but not all children or families are the same and you can’t base what everyone should do on what works for your family.
Children need boundaries and they need consequences for their actions. After all, when they grow up, their boss isn’t going to give them a prize if they are on time for work after being late three days in a row. No, the boss is going to tell them they are fired if they are late again. Their are consequences in life and children need to learn that, while at the same time being rewarded for positive behaviors as well.
Please think twice before making a face at a mother trying to parent their child in the store, even if the style of parenting is different than your own. Do you sometimes feel scared to parent your own child/children too? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below, but as always, please keep it respectful. 🙂