The Number 1 Rule of Parenting
By Random Chick on July 09, 2011
Featured Member Post
Parenting is hard. Well, if you want to raise children who become useful members of society. There are approximately 615,224,001 books on parenting, everything from getting your baby to sleep at night to teaching your children origami (if that’s what you want to teach your kid). I am here to suggest that you throw all your parenting books away, don’t listen to any advice (especially from your parents), and stop fretting about whether you are a good parent. There is only one rule you need as a parent:
Let’s break that down a bit. Let’s say that your child wants to sleep in your bed at the age of two. Lots of cultures welcome children into the parents’ bed. You get sleep, they get sleep, and everybody wins. While this may seem easy at the time because you don’t have to deal with the two year-old bedtime battles, it may come back to bite you in the long run. What if your child has been sleeping in your bed for like, years? Say, until he/she is five years-old. Now, you would really like to have your bed back. You tell your child that it is time to sleep in his/her own bed. Then the fun starts. Bedtime battles turn into all-out Armageddon, and you are the casualty. What if you had spent some time and energy teaching your two year-old to sleep in his/her own bed? Yes, you’d have to deal with the Mommy-or-Daddy-I-Want-Some-Water or whining, crying, and constantly getting out of bed. This is what I’m talking about when I say, “it’s tough, so you are doing it right.”
You use this mantra whenever you’re encountered with a decision that you are perplexed about, which is a lot unfortunately. Here’s another example:
Your eight-year old wants you to buy him/her something. You don’t want to buy it because it is just plain frivolous. As children often do, he/she constantly badgers you about buying this thing. At this point, you can either buy it so he/she will shut up (easy), yell at your child to stop hounding you about it (sometimes easy), or suggest that he/she do chores and earn money to buy it (tough). If you go with the tough option, your child will whine about wanting the thing now and how long it is going to take to save up enough money to buy it. You will probably have to remind your child to do the chores. The chores will probably be done poorly, and you’ll have to get him/her to do them over. But, if you stick with it, your child just may learn a valuable lesson about working for something and possibly the value of money. If it is tough, you are doing it right.
Okay, I’m gonna admit that I don’t always follow this rule. Sometimes you just gotta go the easy route. But I’m going to say that whenever the Hubby and I follow this rule, it works. By the way, the Hubby and I figured this out when our first child was about two years old now she’s eight, and we have a five year-old too. We use this rule a lot with both our kids. Parenting is hard but if you put in the tough work as early as possible, your job gets easier (fingers crossed).
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Photo Credit: zenat_el3ain.
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