Your Parenting Style and How You’re Doing it Wrong

You're Doing It Wrong.Some of you may have already read the recent article in Time Magazine regarding “Helicopter Parenting” and the many blog posts and articles that have since been written in support and to dispute the piece. Well I couldn’t help myself and had to chime in with my own question regarding the many different types of parenting that are constantly being praised and disputed these days, which is what about just plain old parenting?

Does everything we do, as parents have to have a label? It seems that as parents we can’t catch a break. No matter what we do we’re faced with someone telling us why we are wrong for doing it.

Helicopter/Overparenting

Take the whole “Helicopter Parenting” thing. So what if we hover more than previous generations? We are the same 30-year-old kids raised in the first generation of  “stranger danger.” We had key words and watched some of the most high profile kidnappings in America unfold right in front of us on television. Michaela Garrett, Adam Walsh, Amber Swartz, Ilene Misheloff (I’ll take extra overprotective credit for THREE of those high profile cases being near my own community and around my own age). Of course we are careful about where our kids go and what they do.

I’m not going to apologize for being overprotective in this world. According to the World Health Organization Global cancer rates will increase by 50% by 2020. So YES, of course I’m going to be aware of what kind of chemicals are in products I’m buying and feeding my kids on. And YES I’m going to be uptight about car seats and BPA plastic filled bottles.

But is there a line? Articles like the one in Time got me thinking. OF COURSE there is a line between being protective and being extreme (doing your kids homework and stalking their coaches). I try to avoid judging other people’s parenting choices. It’s important to me that all moms, especially new moms, feel strong and secure in the choices they make that make sense for their family.

Fads in Parenting

Now I of course don’t condone moms wrapping their kids in bubble wrap and keeping them safely protected until after college graduation (though I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the idea hadn’t crossed my mind) but I urge moms to trust their instincts and ignore the fads in parenting choices.

Don’t skip out on Vaccines just because you heard someone say those vaccines are going to give your child autism. Read up first. Read about the increase in childhood diseases, read about the research that has debunked the autism studies and decide THAT WAY.  Don’t decide to breastfeed or not to breastfeed based on what all your girlfriends from high school did with their kids. Make that decision based on what works for you and your baby. And unless the advice is coming from someone who actually sleeps in your house every night, ignore anyone who tells you where you and your kids should be sleeping. It’s your house, your bed, and your sleep.

And to mom’s who judge, shut up. Just because a mom chooses not to fill every waking moment with extra curricular activities doesn’t make her less of a mom than you. And hey homebody moms, just because a mom DOES take part in every volunteer event and extracurricular team sport in your city doesn’t make her an overbearing judgmental mom. So bite your lip.

Stop judging ladies and please stop making your parenting decisions based on what’s cool at the time. My God, we are the generation of feathered hair and acid wash jeans. We put Vanilla Ice at the top of the charts for God’s sake. We cannot be trusted as a group when it comes to what’s in and what’s not. So decide for yourself. Skip the biased blogs and websites, read a few medical journals. And I don’t know… ask your pediatrician maybe…

We will all have bad days as moms. We will all momentarily lose our child in a crowd and have an instant of dread. We will all yell at our child over something stupid once in a while. We all make wrong choices. So, don’t judge. Just do the best you can. And don’t be ashamed when you grab your older child’s hand in a crowd. Forgive yourself when you lose it and offer your child an extra mile of patience next time. And when you make a bad choice, learn from it and move on.

What kind of parenting style do I follow in my house? The Best–I-Can Parenting. And that’s all there really is.

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. missmignonne
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 19:57:15

    Amen to that!!! All we can do is try our best and hope our kids turn out to be productive adults. Don’t we critisize ourselves enough to realize we don’t have any place to judge other parents? Thank you for writing this article! I hope people are paying attention.

    Reply

  2. Amanda
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 20:00:48

    Good article, although there are many spelling errors. I have always done what I wanted to do regardless of the so called fads of parenting. I hope all other parents will do the same.

    Reply

  3. Brittany
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 20:11:14

    Sometimes I feel parents are often times targeted as being fad parents of helicopter parents when in all reality there may be a reason for it. My soon to be 3 year old daughter has not been vaccinated and its not because its cool not to or that I hear any other 20 something parent say not to. I will admit that I do not like the risk that come along with it, but even that isn[t the issue along. She suffered from seizures and one of the risk of a vaccine is the return of them. I maybe a young parent (24) but I still believe you parent your child they way they need parented and if that means helping them out a bit more then normal well then you do that (However there are lines lol don’t do their homework for them)

    Reply

    • Meghan Harvey
      Dec 07, 2009 @ 20:16:33

      You prove my point exactly Brittany! Each parenting choice we make should be based on the needs of our own child’s not anyone else. Good job on choosing what’s best for your and your son!

      Reply

  4. Diana Gill
    Dec 08, 2009 @ 04:21:45

    Loved your article. We always enjoy reading them.

    Reply

  5. Kelly Valenta
    Dec 08, 2009 @ 15:54:16

    I will say, there is a LOT of compelling arguments about how unsafe vaccines are. I’m a doctor’s kid, and was completely convinced of their safety until I had a child w/ autism and started researching. I’m still on the fence, but there’s lots of mainstream legitimate research that says waiting just a little later might help our kids stay healthier. For good (legitimate, research-based) info, you can go to a great website called http://www.fourteenstudies.com – it discusses each of the studies the “experts” say prove vaccines are safe, and then explains how that’s not actually true.

    I don’t just anyone on what decisions they make – it’s scary either way – don’t want autism (ADORE my son, just struggle w/ his challenges), but don’t want polio, either!!! 🙂 At least read up on the facts. Anyone, on EITHER side of the vaccine argument, who says they know for SURE isn’t telling the truth. We just don’t know yet, and as moms, we need to know all the facts we can before we make a decision.

    Reply

  6. Kelly Valenta
    Dec 08, 2009 @ 15:55:08

    Just noticed I started off w/ a grammatical error!! Meant to say “there ARE a lot of compelling….”

    😉

    Reply

  7. Kelly Valenta
    Dec 08, 2009 @ 15:56:52

    AACK! And another! I obviously need more coffee today. Last paragraph “I don’t JUDGE anyone on what decisions they make.”

    Reply

  8. Melanie Trott
    Dec 08, 2009 @ 16:42:35

    As a new mom, I find this very helpful and refreshing. I cannot tell you how many times I have beat myself up for not being a “perfect” parent. As time goes on, I have loosened up a little and learned to trust instinct. It’s a wonderful gift!

    Reply

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  11. Betsy Hanson
    Dec 08, 2009 @ 21:20:03

    I am a mother of a 20-year-old and 25-year-old and also had plenty of anxieties about being a parent, though back in those days we had only BOOKS and other moms for resources so couldn’t check the internet 24/7 to find out what we were doing right or wrong. I think younger parents might benefit from asking older folks what they think they did RIGHT in raising their children and considering that information when making decisions themselves. We’ve been able to see the results of our choices. I do believe that raising kids is an acquired skill like any other, however, and think it makes good sense to collect information on “tricks of the trade” and “ages and stages” — and then pick and choose what works for you.

    Reply

  12. Locke
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 07:23:23

    I agree so wholeheartedly with you, Meghan. I’m afraid, however, that it’s not always the mothers who know best in this era…, nor has it always been to either side to begin with.

    I’m a “single” father. The reason? The courts gave me sole custody of my son. Yes, I said courts, because my wife disputed custody more than once……, and my son was two when it began, five when I was finally able to divorce my wife, and he’s 17 now.

    My ex-wife was a sheltered woman, so she thought her family could do no wrong. According to her, a man ten years older than her couldn’t be right near as many times as she was, because she was a mom.

    Long story short? Her brother molested my son Keith for those two years we were happy parents together. My ex-wife suspected ME first, and it only seemed to be because Keith spent more time with me than her. She never noticed when her brother James would come into Keith’s nursery and “change” him. Occasionally when his mother came to check his diaper, he would squirm away and scream. She thought he had diaper rash; he was obviously fearful he’d be touched again.

    So, Meghan, I’d like to say I’m not a helicopter parent, but I know it’s not the case—-however, I’m glad I landed when I did, just in time to kick James in the jaw. He’s still in jail, and Keith’s mother is still not allowed visitation rights, because the last time he went to her house, she tried to get him to visit his uncle in prison and apologize for ruining James’ life.

    My son, ruin a molester’s life? Absolutely not. James ruined my son’s life. Keith went through six years of therapy, two late grades, and nine suicide attempts, and were it not for my overcompensation as a single father, he wouldn’t be alive today.

    I’d like to ask before I go, Meghan dear, would you please publish a helpful note to we “single” fathers with sons who aren’t secure enough to accept female figures in their lives? I accept my current wife; she and I both love Keith dearly…, but Keith knew her when they were young, and she’s only seven years older than he is, so I’m not certain he thinks of her as being able to be a mother. He hasn’t called her “Mom” yet, at all….

    I’m quite glad to have found your blog, and if it’s all right with you, I’d like to bookmark it and check periodically for any advice you could give to the parenting community.

    Thank you so very much.
    Locke Saint Augustin

    Reply

  13. Malem Bedwetting Alarm
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 17:03:49

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing this…..

    Reply

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