Feb 12, 2013

Doing It Wrong...

This article was written several months ago now, but a few weeks ago it was making its rounds through Facebook.  It sparked some good discussions in my circles about helping your kids vs. letting them struggle sometimes, and when to do those things, and where the boundaries are with other people's kids, and so on. 

For me it really spoke to the idea of me being the mom, and having the prerogative to make decisions (even if they turn out to be--heaven forbid!--wrong). In the comments the author gave some clarifications that also made the article itself much less about whether you help or stand back at the playground, and much more about when you make a (sane, acceptable) choice, and others choose to undermine you. 

Then I read this article a week ago, and it really made me stop and think.  I totally make snap judgements as I observe other parents parenting.  And I'm not sure there's a way to stop that--we see, we evaluate, we add it to our mental structure of the world around us.  But I do think it's good to aim for my response on a good day: "That's different than we do, but that's OK because different families have different rules/approaches/issues," and not so much my response on a bad day: "Stupid mom is ruining her kids in one way or another.  If I was their mom we would do this and that, and it would be so much better."  Because it occurred to me that even if I did things exactly the same as I do with my kids, I would likely get much different results, because they are different kids

And that made me think about, first of all, making the clarification that I'm assuming things here.  I'm speaking within the confines of families who are providing their kids with a baseline amount of safety and love.  And even in this I have to be careful, because everyone has different definitions and guidelines, but let's assume that while the children may need therapy someday, their most basic needs are met and the parents are basically competent on most levels.  Good? Good. 

Which brings me back around to prerogative, and all the choices we have the freedom to make...and all the voices whispering back (or yelling. or giving us the stink-eye) "You're doing it wrong."  That was the crux of the article for me.  It's easy to see people doing "it" differently and take it as a personal indictment: "You're doing it wrong." Heck, even without anyone else I've got Contrary Kerri to contend with. 

And I know we all have different strengths and weaknesses, but for me it is very much about gathering some courage to say "It's my decision." Maybe out loud, or maybe just in my head.  But knowing my propensity for wishy-washiness, it's a good and worthy skill for me to develop.

How about you?  Do you find it easy or difficult to embrace your prerogative?

1 comment:

ginadewitt said...

Love this Kerri. I don't have a problem embracing my prerogative, although I used to. Now what I sturggle with is choosing to take my thoughts captive when they turn from evaluating to judgment. I think when being a mom is your fulltime job, and it's 24 hours a day, it's that much easier to judge others on how they are doing it. By judging I mean basically condeming them in my thoughts. It's important for me to feel secure in how I parent while giving others the freedom to the same...even when I keep it to myself.