This morning I was reading this post on one of my favorite blogs. If you’re feeling like you’re a shitty parent, maybe you should click on my link and read it. It turns out that everyone feels like a bad parent. Apparently, it’s part of the “deal”. So, don’t get down on yourself when your kid says, “I hate you because you won’t let me go to Johnny’s party while his parents are gone.” It’s only surplus emotional abuse boiling over from a teenager who is struggling with issues on how to deal with people and situations and, most importantly, disappointment. No matter what you do, it’s going to be wrong. Every single time. Get used to it for a while, and if you raised your kids right, they won’t hold it against you later 😉
I strive to be a good parent and (I think) I am one of the lucky ones who actually feels like I am. It also helps that my children tell me, too. But, I am also a very hands-off type of parent.
A long time ago, one of my aunts (who did not have children and did not want to have children, but she was a grade school teacher, so still credible) told me that: most times,
life already punishes us for most of our mistakes and teaches us our lessons. Parenting beyond that is just redundancy and a waste of time and effort (your kid isn’t going to hear it anyway, they’re annoyed that you’re still bothering them).
I agreed with her at the time because I thought my parents were micro-managing me into oblivion, but now that I’ve looked at it later as a parent, I still agree. Life knows things and teaches them things that are beyond my capability — I am there to help and guide them through those times of decision (and the times after the decision), but it is not my place to decide for them. Each choice they make has a natural lesson included: whether it be good or bad. They need to make the choices so they can learn from them — they can’t learn from my choices, even if I decide everything for them, there will just be resentment and they will never learn to take responsibility for their choices (because they have never had to make them).
One of the choices I have made as a parent is to be completely obsessed with fairness when it comes to my daughters. It might be unhealthy, but I am determined that neither one of them will ever be jealous of her sister because she things the other is my “favorite”. I don’t have a favorite daughter… This is something I learned from my parents, because they favor my little brother to the point where they actually TELL me they do (yes, it’s still current tense. I don’t know if they are still telling me they like him better because they want me to change or what… It just made me want to move far, FAR away from all of them!)! My parents are the perfect examples of how NOT to be a parent and for that I am forever grateful to them. Because of their shitty parenting, I am going to be a better parent than they could ever strive to be!
If you remember, at Christmas, I itemized out their gifts. While I was writing that post I was also calculating the amounts of money I had spent on each thing because I wanted to make sure that neither one got more than the other. Every month I have to buy $60-$80 worth of bus passes for Thing #1, but I do nothing of the sort for Thing #2 and that makes me feel guilty. Is that normal?
It may not be, but I guess it shows that I am cognizant of the way I treat each of my children. And, even though both of them are completely different people, I try to make sure that neither of them is feeling like I favor one over the other. It’s really hard because they are so different, but I love them both so much.
AFTERTHOUGHT: In my comments, secretthots posted a link to an article that supports my belief in hands-off parenting 🙂