I am not sure how one measures success as a parent. There are many warning signs that various 'experts' tell us can help us realize that things are not going alright.
My brother-in-law and his wife have parenting the direct opposite of me from pregnancy, birth, and basically everything since their first baby was born. (They have two now.) This whole issue and comparisons have been compounded by the fact that my son was born four months before my nephew. My in-law's, the other brother-in-law and they all live in the same town, which is a 25 minute drive from where I live. I really don't care how someone else parents, but the problem with our situation is that my sister-in-law is of the 'I am right and you are wrong' club. Everything she does is right and perfect and anyone else who does something different, or has a different goal is in the wrong. Period.
I will share just this and you decide what is what. Here is a peek into my world.
(I try not to blog about family but this story is just too tempting so I am blogging about it.)
While at a family party this last weekend, a game of wiffle ball was being played. The father and sons in that family are all baseball addicts, as a spectator sport and Little League. (The father is head coach and the sons play the game.) During the game after my nephew (aged 8, not even 8.5 yet), said in a raised voice with a rude tone of voice to his FATHER, "You are a piece of sh--!". And the father laughed.
Just knowing about things like that makes me think that I am living on an another planet, because our entire outlook on life and what we feel is acceptable and what we teach our children is so very different.
Do you see what I am up against?
(Do you see why every time I am with that family I wonder what new bad thing my children will learn from my nephews? Imagine if they were in public school with similar children all day, what they would learn and be like? This family LOVES American public education; my sister-in-law is a public school teacher.)
They think I am nuts and weird. Maybe I am. In my world, profanity is not acceptable, especially around the children or when speaking TO the children. We don't call names to express ourselves, we discuss the emotion itself and why we feel that way and we deal with the source issue and resolve the source of the problem. We also live with reasonable expectations and goals. Sportsmanship is taught, it is not about playing a game and being perfect at it and always winning, at that age it is about having fun playing a game of wiffle ball and learning the rules and learning to be patient (waiting their turn), and cheering on the others on the team, and not saying rude things about the other team just because they are playing against us.
Our children are being taught to show us respect. I try hard to always be respectful of them. None of what I do is easy and neither my children nor I am perfect. Parenting is a process which takes constant work.
If I ever heard my son say that to my husband, especially at age 8, I would take it as an immediate sign of failure, with urgent reassessment needed---of what we were doing in an attempt to rescue my child and our family relationship. If my nephew does this at age 8, then what will he be doing and saying at 13, 16, and 18?
It is all about standards, the standards we set for our family, and how we parent depends on the standards we are working towards. I guess my husband and I have a very different set of standards than his brother and his wife.
I am trying very hard not to be judgmental. When things like that happen, I am just flabbergasted. Sometimes to save my own sanity I must share this with someone and so I am doing that here on the blog.
Please, if someone shares my viewpoint, post a comment to the blog or email me. I need some reassurance that I am not wrong for thinking and doing what we are doing.
Technorati Tags: parenting, children, sportsmanship, profanity, parenting style.