I’ve never been a person to criticize parenting styles, I’m no expert nor do I really care how you raise your own child as long as there is no abuse involved and the child is raised in a happy, stable home. It’s not my right to judge because I too am not perfect, there is no textbook for this and every child and parent combination is different. As adults, parents should be able to look at their own parenting style and know what works and what doesn’t for their child (psychopaths excluded).
I read an article on Parent 24 this morning that actually raised the hair on my neck a little in irritation. A parent taking the time to ‘judge’ other parents for certain activities that their children are involved in… Delving slightly into the world of toddlers with nail polish and young girls attending pamper parties. Parent24 Article
The gods thought it would be pretty funny to give me two daughters instead of the sons I’d be better suited for. That said, I don’t have sons and would probably suck at parenting boys… Now that I have girls, I wouldn’t know what to do with boys! I’ve also never been the girliest of girls and assumed I wouldn’t know what to do with my girls either. Turns out, I am a little girlier than I thought :) My daughters have been raised in a home where they’re free to be whatever they would like, do whatever they like (within reason) and grow up to be the people they’d like to be. They’re both young (8 and 2) so there is plenty of time for them to discover themselves and what kind of women they’d like to grow up to be. I am not the greatest parent in the world, I make mistakes, but for my mistakes I’m the greatest mom in the world TO THEM. I discipline my children, I’m strict when it comes to education and homework, I get frustrated with them but nevertheless I love them. I have no secrets from my girls (This has at times come under scrutiny, though the information I arm my daughters with is certainly done in an age appropriate way), H is only 8 and yet she has had conversations (not dictations) from us regarding the birds, the bees and the mechanics in between. Some may say I’m prematurely aging her, I definitely do not see it that way. I choose to arm my children with correct information and knowledge rather than limiting them in the home only to come under outside influence and learn incorrectly. To the people who disagree with my approach, I accept your arguments and see your points and choose to disagree politely. My 8 year old daughter and I can openly discuss sex, love, religion, menstruation, emotions, nudity, money and schoolwork etc in a way that is appropriate to talk to an 8 year old and she is free to make up her own mind, voice her own opinions and make her own decisions. I am certain that when my daughters are in their teens, finding out who they are and discovering their place in the world, they will have all the information they need to make educated choices, some of which I didn’t make myself. I find that the naysayers are from a generation in which this approach may not have been necessary… The world is changing, has changed. We are forced to mature quicker, make decisions earlier and be adults long before our ancestors were teens.
Back to the article, my daughters have a fairly privileged lifestyle. No, I do not believe my children are spoilt or have an entitled air about them. I believe that I have always done my best to over rather than under provide for them and yes, they’re still children and have occasional bratty moments yet they still understand money and how financial standing affects their lifestyle. They don’t have everything they want, they do have more than enough. We always do our best to get the children outdoors, we’ve visited all the zoo’s possible and do other outdoor activities with them. At the same time, they have access to their toys and consoles indoors and certain time is permitted for that as well (On the condition that rooms are tidy and homework is done). I think we really have tried to balance their indoor and outdoor time along with tv time and friends and family time, they have no cause for complaint in that department. Now, no matter how badly I wanted the girls to be tomboyish (And D is to some extent), my girls are GIRLS. They like the girly things in life. If I sit in the lounge and do my nails for the fun of it, both H and D want their nails done as well. Generally, H will opt for bright pink and D would opt for black, out of the 20 something colors of nail polish I own, their choice. H is 8 years old and while she is still very much into Monster High (How awesome is my child?), Barbie, Reading (Vampires, Fairies and fairy tales. Again, how awesome?), Writing (In multiple diaries, everywhere) and music, she is also very into make up, handbags, jewelry and of course nail polish. We even considered a pamper party (the type of party mentioned in the article) for her birthday should she decide that that was what she wanted, not because I wanted it for her. She is only 8 yet she already knows what she likes and doesn’t like, how can I fault her there? To say that make up and nail polish is forcing girls to grow up too quickly is like saying that boys playing soccer influences their chosen career path too soon. Not the same thing? Exactly.
It’s not about the art of ‘grooming’ when it’s a 2 year old child having her nails done, if anything it probably looks terrible because it’s all over the fingers as well… It’s more an act of fun, a game, an alternative to jumping on the trampoline. So why would I let my 2 year old have painted nails as well as my 8 year old? To any non parent I say, have two children first and we will discuss letting one do something and not the other. To a parent, I say I choose my battles wisely. The article asks ‘Are we not raising diva’s?’ and I can confidently say no, we are not. We are raising confident children who know what they want and like and if they’re well groomed as well, bonus.
What advice about parenting can I give to anyone? Absolutely nothing. Go with your gut, if you believe to be correct then it probably is and if you feel terrible about it, it’s generally not the best course of action. (Again, psychopaths excluded).
I don’t aim to be the best parent in the world. I aspire to be the best mother to H and D and them alone. What works for me may not work for everyone else and vice versa. I’d like to think I’ve learnt from my own mistakes to help me be a little wiser to the ways of the world and I cannot wait for my children to start finding their feet, making their mark, making mistakes and growing up to be beautiful ladies who are happy with who they are, because that’s all that matters. My only hopes for them? That no matter what they wear, what make up they put on, what color nail polish they manicured with or what tattoo they got that day, they can go to sleep with a clear and confident head staying completely true to themselves and no one else.
And to all who judge me walking with my children in the zoo, they really are my children and just because I’m tattooed to the nines doesn’t mean they’re kidnapped. I have the scars to prove it :)