Are you a good parent?

hands So, do you think you’re a good parent? Chances are that a lot of those mistakes you’re making, they’re actually good for your kids. A new study, that you can read about here, says that being overly protective or too nurturing can actually inhibit the  development of your children.

It’s no good feeding unwarranted praise to your kids to make them feel better about themselves, it only adds pressure. Telling them they’re so smart may make them think they don’t need to try. Allowing them to watch only PBS may make them more aggressive than if they were watching violent kid’s programming. Arguing is a sign that your child actually respects you. And they lie to become autonomous individuals in life.  Shocked? I’m not…

I was spanked as a child. I earned my praise, it wasn’t handed out freely. I argued with my parents long and hard, and sometimes, I won my case. But only sometimes… I played video games, I watched R rated movies waaaay before I was 17, and my parents probably thought I was a hellion as a moody teen. However, the list of things I never did is much longer and, in my opinion, much more revealing about my parents’ parenting abilities. I never cheated on tests, I never made bad grades, I never did drugs, I wasn’t  a 15 year-old mother, I never went out partying or got drunk, I never went shoplifting even when groups of people in my class were bragging about all the great things they got away with this weekend. And why not? Because I knew it was all wrong.

My parents didn’t have to be standing there watching over me to know I’d make good decisions, the right decisions. I’ve always believed that I turned out pretty good. I went to college, got my Bachelor’s degree, and my life is pretty steady. So now, hearing about all these parenting tips that have emerged within the last five years, I just get amazed at what people are doing. I’m shocked to hear that kids aren’t allowed to watch certain Disney movies or read Harry Potter; these are the kinds of things that I learned from as a child.

Belle and Jasmine and Ariel were awesome role models to an 8-year-old kid. I mean, come on, there may be a lot of witchery and magic in these movies, but they’re just plot devices. Even the first Harry Potter delivers a message that all kids could learn from: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” There’s nothing in any of these things that’s telling your children to go out back and erect an altar to some dark lord.

Children need to be disciplined. They need strict boundaries and tough love. We can’t be coddling our children or else they lose necessary lessons in life. Lessons they’ll wish they had learned when they get out into the world alone, without Mommy and Daddy, and find they don’t know how to take care of themselves.

I speak as a child on this one, not a parent. I have no children yet but I know what worked for me growing up. Without spankings and tongue lashings, I wouldn’t be able to face the things I have to face everyday. I wouldn’t have the patience or self-control that I have. I wouldn’t have the respect and manners I have.

I owe a lot to my parents because they didn’t try to protect me from the world. They shoved me out in it and said, “There you go. If you need a little help along the way, you know where to find us.” And I did. I came back asking for help, knowing that what I couldn’t do on my own, I could do with their help. It’s important to me that my children one day be confident enough, strong enough, and responsible enough to stand on their own and still make the right choices. And I just don’t think they’ll get that from a time-out in the corner, a hundred undeserved praises, and a specially selected, parental-approved TV programming list.

You aren’t always going to be there to protect and shelter your children. You need to make sure they know how to make the right choices in life when you’re not there to do it for them. And if they make the wrong choices, you better hope you taught them enough to  know how to handle it and to make it right again.

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