It occurred to me recently the power of my parenting. These four little people who have thoughts and opinions and emotions are, generally speaking, under my power. What they wear, watch, eat, and play, are all things I have control over. And that is extremely terrifying.
I’m not what you’d call a “helicopter mom.” I let my kids play outdoors without me and I leave the room while Hulu is on. But I do homeschool and meal plan and pick out their clothes and set up playdates. But I still manage every hour of their day, in one way or another.
We’re training adults
My husband and I like to say that we aren’t raising kids, we’re training adults. We want our kids to be smart and opinionated and witty and well-read and into college football and like good music and care about important films. We can’t ask a 6-month-old what their interests are. We mold our child the into the men and women they become. And that should scare us!
My oldest son looks to us, his father especially, for approval. He wants his dad to like the same things he likes and be happy with all of his choices. Our middle son wants us to show him love by cuddling and just being near him, while our only daughter demands undivided attention. The baby is only 7 months old but he’s seems to have us figured out anyway. What would happen if my husband started telling our 8-year-old that his ideas were stupid or we stopped snuggling with our 6-year old, or we ignored the calls from our daughter? Would our baby even remember our love if we just took it away? The power we hold over our kids is potent. They want it and long for it and can become desperate for it if it were taken away from them. We need to remember that. We can’t have a bad day and ignore their needs.
What we do to them and for them while they are children can manipulate their entire lives. We can alter the person they are or will become. *We need to remember this before we yell or discipline or punish. We need to be kind and show love, ultimately.
Are we doing it right?
We know that so much is just natural. So much is pre-determined in our genes. But what about the stuff that is nurtured? How are we sculpting the lifestyles of our offspring? Are we doing it right? If you’re a successful and well-balanced adult, did your parents know exactly what to do or did they just get lucky? Or maybe you’re awesome in spite of how you were raised. Maybe you have had to fight your nature and your nurturing to become who you are.
All of that hardly matters though when it’s your turn to raise babies. We all try to do what we think is best for our kids and their future. And most of them turn out ok. As long as we remember that the power we hold over our children is intense. Don’t abuse it.
*I am not advocating for discipline-free child rearing or gentle parenting. Your choices in discipline are yours alone and will not be discussed in this post or the comments.