I remember when my son was just born and was at the hospital filling out some form. The person I was talking to asked “mother’s name” and I gave my mother’s name. Imagine my shock when really, they were asking for my name. The first of many things that change when one becomes a parent: reality. The thing about parenting is that everyone has their own take on it. Some parents are so hands on they are called helicopters while some are so hands off that children are left to make all the decisions for themselves. I would like to think that I am somewhere in between. Annoying and controlling enough but allowing for some wiggle room for good and independent decision making.
For example, when it comes to choosing after school classes, my son and I go through the class listings and discuss what he should take. I usually let him pick one class and I pick one. In the past he has chosen a science class, ceramics and legos. I choose swimming every time. When we have these discussions, we go through a give-and-take process. We listen to each other and we decide. It works for us. I know of another family with a son the same age as mine and when the class listing comes out, they do not show it to him but instead choose his classes. There is no discussion and no input it makes me feel sad for that boy. Who doesn’t want a voice?
My friend blogged the other day about comments made by her mother about her daughters’ weight. It really made me sad. It made me sad because I struggled with my weight when I was younger and still have to be on top of it or else. Back then my mom was always supportive. She did not criticize or force me to eat a certain way. I am glad for that since I was really good at making myself feel bad about myself all by myself. It is always difficult to deal with other people offering advice on how to raise your children whether it be friends or relatives. How do you address this situation? There is no good way. The choice many of us make is to duck and run; make sure that our kids are not exposed; or if they are, it is not for too long. And if that exposure exists, I hope that my son will have the wherewithal to make a good decision; no matter how large or small.