Ever experienced “foot in mouth” disease? All of us have at one point or another in life. Personally, I can’t help but think how incredibly delicious my feet must be, for the amount of times I’ve had them stuck in my mouth recently.
Opinions on parenting are never in short demand. And I have to confess I had many of them long before Stormaggedon was even the glint in the milkman’s eye. Admittedly a lot of those opinions I’ve kept, and plan to continue utilising over tine. Others however have now been placed on the “What was I thinking?!” pile.
So without further ado, my top 5 opinions I wish I hadn’t thought before I was a parent.
1. Hating people who say “I don’t want to stifle them”. Well, actually this one still really annoys me. But there is a line that you shouldn’t cross, especially when it comes to discipline. It’s ok to say no to your child, and to teach them appropriate behaviour in appropriate settings. For example, a shopping centre is not a playground. Yet I still feel guilty when I try to tell my son to calm down when we’re in public. He’s only a year and a half so why is it so bad if he needs to express himself through the medium of sound. Lots of sound. I’m scared by saying no to him I’m not allowing him to be a child. Then again I could just be over thinking things. I wish I could just make a parenting choice and stick to it.
2. My child won’t chuck tantrums. Ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah, I know, what the hell was I thinking! I’d like to say that most of the time I was mostly joking, but secretly I thought that this was something that I would still be able to control. If I was the best parant in the world, if I was calm and nice and happy all the time, then there would be no reason for Stormy to throw a trantrum, right? The reality of course is that children no matter their upbringing and disposition will always throw tantrums. Purely because they don’t know how else to express their feelings. It’s how you react to the tantrum that’s important. Take a firm stance, don’t draw attention to it, use a calm, low and/or soft voice, be comforting, or just allow it to happen. Because of these techniques Stormy’s tantrums don’t last long, and I’m grateful for that. Then again, we haven’t gotten to the full blown toddler stage, so I don’t really know what the future holds. Watch this space…
3. I won’t make my child another meal if he refuses to eat the one he has. This one is always not so practical. Unfortunately when they’re too young to understand the ultimatum “Eat this, or you won’t get anything else”, you kind of have to give in and give them something new. I know, I know, children are smart, they’re not going to starve themselves to death. But when you’re faced with the choice of a sleepless night from you crying hungry child, or the lesser inconvenience of making a new meal, I’d go with the new meal. This is where having a variety of pre-prepared frozen meals that you’ve made ahead of time can come in handy. If my son doesn’t want soup, I can grab a meat stew, or a fried rice meal out of the freezer and try that one. For me personally, I can only hope that my son’s good eating habits continue.
4. My child won’t be allowed to watch TV. I gave up this rule incredibly quickly. Mainly because I realised what a great distraction the TV can be. I can use it to take a break from playing make believe on the floor, or from reading Green Eggs and Ham for the 15th time, or so I can hang the washing, clean the kitchen, or do other quick chores without a toddler hanging off my legs. And no I don’t use it as an all day distraction. TV for my son is usally an average of an hour a day. And frankly it’s damn adorable when he copies the things he sees, like pretending to blow up a balloon, or dance a little jig, or try sing a song. TV is not the evil idiot box sucking our minds that some people make it out to be. Embrace the TV. Love the TV. LOVE IT!
5. If my child is behaving badly in public, I’ll just go home. One of the most impractical opinions. Because I realise that it’s never that simple to just stop what you’re doing and go home. Especially if the reason why I’m out is to achieve something, like buy groceries, or pick up a present, or meet up with a friend. I shouldn’t have to put my life on hold because I’m embarrassed about how my son is acting. Obviously though if it got to the point where he’s completely distressed then it would be time to go home. In the end I believe it’s just a balacning act. Remember, as the parent, you get to be the scales.
Bonus one – My child will not be allowed to sleep in my bed. I’ve thought this one numerous times both before becoming a parent and after. The train of thought here is if I let him sleep in our bed once, then he’ll get into a habit and want to do it all the time. Once again, I may be over thinking this one. But I think that if he wants to sleep in our bed because he’s sick, or had a bad dream, or just needs some closeness once and while, it won’t be such a bad thing. I guess only time will tell on this one.