Monday, October 28, 2013

What you can't tell by the time they're teenagers

When my kids, and those of many of my friends were little, doing it all right and never wrong was a big part of our daily thoughts. It stood to reason in our sleep deprived, hormonal brains that if we were doing things right, other ways were wrong. I don't think that has changed much.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the mommy wars. We've both worked with kids of all ages for many years. We have made some parenting decisions that are very similar, and some that are polar opposites. All of our kids are good kids.

I put a lot of thought into my parenting and all in all, think I've made good decisions that have served my kids well. I even think a few of them are clearly superior to the opposite decision. But I've also come to recognise over the years that I CAN'T know what would work for another family; that the fastest way to encourage someone to NOT do something is to tell them they MUST (or is that just me?), and very importantly, that by the time your kids are teenagers, some thing will simply not be obvious. So relax. By the time your kids are teenagers, no one will be able to tell:

  • Whether your child was breast or bottle fed
  • What kind of diapers your kid wore (well, except Mother Earth)
  • If your child co slept or had a crib
  • If you played Mozart for your baby
  • If your child read at 3 or at 7
  • If your child's first meal was organic brown rice lovingly toasted in a cast iron skillet for extra iron and ground in a virgin grinder and mixed with your milk and organic fruit you grew yourself, or fruit grabbed off the shelf at the produce market, or a spoon full of chocolate
  • If your baby was born at home, a birth center, or a hospital

What will the astute observer probably be able to tell?

  • If you read to your child and create a language rich environment
  • If you are actively involved in their education, whether it takes place in a public, private, or home school
  • If you have been fully present for your child
  • If you have MODELED and expected basic manners of your child
  • Possibly, whether you've ever tried to pass off a fruit juice sweetened whole wheat birthday cake or oatmeal raisin cookie off as the good stuff. That kind of thing leaves scars.


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