Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The parenting maze

Sometimes I feel like I am lost in the 'parenting maze', the multitude of decisions we make daily about our children's upbringing, trying to do the right thing, not repeat our parents mistakes and screw our children up in later life. We are bombarded, especially as several noted, around Mothers Day, with all this speculation and opinion about what is best for our children. To be a good parent is hard, especially harder I think if you are the primary caregiver while your other half spends most time working.

For me, I am not what you would call a 'natural mother', it is not something that is built into my character and I adore my children and would not be without them, but I have to work at it. Lately with my 5 year old, now being so much more aware and starting to copy and repeat our behaviours, it makes me think much more how I look to them. My parents, were not the best parents, for several reasons that I wont divulge here, but they werent the worst and I turned out pretty well I think. So I look at how I was raised and the way my parents chose to 'teach' me and I try and use some of those methods, but the view of parenting has changed vastly in the last 30 years. Nowadays, you have Supernanny and naughty steps and psychologists and experts giving you different advice, it's a maze! I try and praise my children where I can, give more positive than negative but sometimes that is hard when they are playing up and there is more negative than positive. My children are pretty good, but sometimes I look at their behaviour and think, 'I never would have done that' and I start to question my parenting, what am I doing wrong? Why do they behave that way, how can I change this behaviour and sometimes I just really dont know. Should I buy some parenting books?....but which ones, should I ask someone? I think I was brought up fairly authoritarian, and knew if I did wrong what the consequences would be. I want to give my children strong and clear boundaries, but as hard as I seem to try it doesnt always work and sometimes I find myself turning into some out of control mother, and although I know they really wont respond to that, I cant seem to help myself.

I was reading an article the other day about different parenting techniques and in particular why yelling doesnt work. But something I read in this article and others seems to say that we shouldn't punish our children or tell them off but instead praise them. That all well and good and I agree that children should be praised, negativity will not work but there has to be balance, like anything in this life. If a child does something wrong this should be noted and identified to them, in a constructive way. But I read things like this and it only makes me question more, who is right? Will the supernanny generation be any better than us? Also how much influence do we really have on our children's behaviour?

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