Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Parenting

I have a lot of interests in my life but the most priviledged role I maintain is that of a parent. My other roles can come and go but no matter how awful or how well I feel I must always do my best for my son. I could be sacked or asked to leave another role but my son assumes I will always be there for him and he looks up to me to help him.

He tells me I'm unkind when I enforce boundaries but the truth is the extent of the damage or good I do to him through my parenting will not be noticed by him for another fifteen or so years. I expect I will hear about it in the same way my mother heard it from me in my early twenties!

Boundaries are important to me. I don't believe it is possible to be a good parent without certain boundaries. My son doesn't miss out on having a few treats here and there but he does miss out when he's naughty. My husband and I have extensive chats about boundaries because we don't exactly agree when to enforce punishments or even how to. It's hard as a two parent family where that sort of discord exists because consistency is at the heart of good parenting but we have very different parenting styles.

One thing we do seem to agree on is the level of information we give our son about life. As he grows and develops we are changing the amount of information we give him and, both of us being interested in education, we both want to teach him as much as we can about life - whatever is age-appropriate.

I feel very strongly that I mustn't say bad things about my husband to my son. Whatever is going on between my husband and me - and let's face it, all relationships have their difficult times - it is for my son to make up his mind about other people rather than for other people to make up his mind for him. I hate the idea that I could manipulate him into thinking bad things about other people and I don't want to encourage him to be intolerant or rude to people. I would like him to respect people even if he does not really like them and I hope I am proving to be a good role-model in this respect.

Responsibility is another area I am really keen on. I hope my son will grow up to understand that he contributes to the mess in the house and that if his partner is also working hard bringing in money that he should help support with housework. Teamwork is the only way to make a partnership work and he needs to be responsible for making that happen otherwise his relationship will develop into an unhealthy one. That doesn't mean everything has to be split down the middle, rather play to both partner's strengths and for those tasks noone likes ensure both sides are doing their fair share. Life is full of tasks we hate but as long as noone is overburdened a good attitude will take care of them and the rest of our time can be spent having fun.

I suppose ultimately my son will learn how to parent his own children from my husband and myself. Whether he adopts the same sort of parenting styles he has been brought up with, or he rebels against it, what he is learning from us right now is framing the way our grandchildren will be brought up and subsequent generations too. That is a huge responsibility!




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