Thursday, July 23, 2015

Parenting Is Full Of Contradictions

I wrote last week about how the advice to "follow your intuition" is really bad advice. At least for a parent like me.  Pretty much every parenting decision requires me to do exactly the opposite of my intuition.  That got me thinking of how many contradictions are inherent in parenting.  Things we either wouldn't do for anyone else that we do for our kids, or things we want for our kids, but would never want our kids to do.

For instance, which would you prefer your child grow into as an adult:
A) A nice, anonymous, completely average rule-following adult.
B) A live-out-loud, noticed at first sight, rule breaking adult who overcomes barriers and creates something new and spectacular.
I'm guessing most parents would choose outcome B every time.  But not much sound worse than trying to parent child B.  Pretty much no parent would choose a rule breaking, barrier busting child who ignores their parents' every command over a more docile one who listens and eats his vegetables instead of throwing them.

When my daughter can't - won't - do something simple for herself like type a four-number password into her Kindle Fire, I want to scream at her that she needs to do it herself... but I don't.  I try to keep in mind that might actually be hard for her and to walk her through it.  Again.

When its 80 degrees out and my kids tell me they are freezing, I want to tell them they are full of it and to get real.  Instead, I try really, really hard to accept that - despite the 90 degree temps - they might really be cold.

Same for when my son told me a couple days ago that he needs footie pajamas for bed or he will be cold. On a day when it hit 90 with a forecasted low of 72.  He got socks.

I really want to scream when I come upon my kids in the bathroom instead of napping and find sink running over with water. I just want timeouts raining down from heaven like Zeus' lighting. But then they explain that they got poop on their hand while wiping their butts. And then they tried to clean it with toilet paper - duh - but couldn't and thus needed water.  So they washed their toilet paper filled hands in the sink. See? It all makes sense. How can you scold them for such independence? And I guess it IS better than finding out they washed their hands in the toilet.


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