I've oddly read a lot of parenting articles as of late. Usually I avoid this to all cost, because I feel like I'm being told that I'm doing it all wrong. I even went to a baby shower a few weeks ago and felt like I couldn't really have that much input because most of the things given, well, I didn't use them.
I learned however, what worked for me, and so far so good (fingers crossed).
The parenting articles I was reading this past week, dealt with things that have really been plaguing me. And maybe they weren't so much parenting per-say as psychology of societies and their kids. While its nice to be validated in what I thought all along, it was also good to be stretched and re-evaulate how I'm doing. The one article compared American parenting to International parenting. And oddly my conclusion was that I really didn't grow up in a very "American" household, despite me being many generations in of American immigrants. I was let to my own devices a lot, I wasn't allowed to feel entitled, and I definitely wasn't given everything. I do think I was given food a lot, but maybe not nearly as much as I do for my kids (I need to work on this so they eat meals!). I did go to public school, but I think somehow I hacked that system in maybe a not so good way. (I'll have to explain that later, but I have come to think it so.)
Anyway, it was a good reminder that the constant hovering that is expected of me in American society doesn't have to be that way, it definitely feels unnatural to me anyway. The second article was about how we are raising a nation of wimps because we hover too much. We haven't let go. It's odd to think that in a society where we always are trying to make our babies be adults, we then do not let our children grow up. Our babies can't be babied but our children can? It makes no sense. I think you should read it yourself. Ultimately, what hit home for me or what challenged me, was that American parents especially seem entitled to a false sense of control. And what they, the authors, gather is this false sense of control is really hurting us as a society in more ways than one.
I think for my own self, one defining thing was that realization that I can't control my child. My child while not fully developed, is his own person. He isn't going to sleep when I click my fingers, he isn't going to stop crying because I say he should, he isn't going to stop nursing just because I want him to do so (at least in my less fine moments). I've been working through this idea with God's help for a while now, it didn't probably come to fruition till recently. Also, while there is something to be said about teaching morality, as our society lacks it severely, it can't be forced. I should say something more here but, that is for another day.
There will be chaos in the littles, and I have to embrace it. I want more littles, and I need to embrace that I won't always be in control, otherwise I think I will never get there. I think I would stop at the American perfect two child household if I let this false sense of control get the best of me. (Disclaimer: I understand that one or two children is all one can have sometimes, or that there is the cross of infertility, that is not what I am talking about here, its more about the personal struggle I have in letting go and letting God.) Sometimes, life is going to be completely chaotic and the only one going to be in control is God. While I will always want to keep my children safe and fed and loved, something I can do with God's help, I don't need to imprint my will to have my child do this or that by a certain age (or peer pressure or society's will for that matter). He doesn't have to fit my mold of perfect child, because God definitely knows I'm not perfect, and the little one isn't either.
Anyway, I'm not sure this made any sense, but I do know if the goal of parenting is to form independent human beings that with a Catholic spin make it to Heaven, I need to get my ideas of what it should be like out of the way and start letting God's ways come in and help us get everyone there. Because there is going to be a big rocking party in Heaven and I sure want to be there when its all said and done.
One thing I have appreciated about being a parent (especially with my husband as a partner) has been that we have no idea how to do it "right" or "American", etc., but we know how to love our kids. Like you stated: they are their own people, and we feel really blessed to be responsible for them while they grow into adulthood! I have really tried to just avoid the parenting articles and books because I have grow to love our way. Great post!ReplyDelete