We all parent differently, perhaps in part to our own up bringing, our own life experiences and our own children. My parenting is similar with both the girls but I know they have different needs in certain situations.
Pinky likes to stick to the rules. She doesn’t like being told off, she won’t willingly break the rules. Nursery has helped reinforce some of the rules, such as don’t speak with your mouth full, put your knife and fork together when you are finished a meal, pleases and thank you’s. It has helped her see that it isn’t just me telling her she is doing something wrong or should do it differently and that these are actual simple manners and rules to follow. Perky has never been to nursery but she copies her big sister in every way so these rules are mostly being followed anyway. Perky is more prepared to break the rules but generally she knows what is expected of her.
But there is my point…. I have just used the phrase ‘what is expected of her’ whilst talking about a 20 month old. So am I a strict Mother?
Do they follow the rules because I expect it and won’t accept it when they don’t? Do I expect too much from them?
I expect them to ask nicely for things. Not to moan at me unnecessarily and whinge to get their own way. It simply wont wash with me. I call them on it and tell them they can only have what they have asked for when they change their attitude. This isn’t just limited to the house either. If we are out and about I expect the same level of behaviour and I will (and have) walk out of somewhere if they can’t do what I expect of them.
They should always remember to say please and thank you. They should sit and wait for everyone to finish their meals before getting down from the table, and then they should ask nicely if they can. So, I know Perky can’t ask this yet so I ask her nicely instead. ‘Everyone is finished now, would you like to get down from the table?’ this is always followed with a fervent nod.
They should not hit or bite anyone or anything under any circumstances. This may seem like a silly one but I have seen some parents justify it as a ‘stage’ and take the incident no further. No talking to the child explaining why that isn’t acceptable, nothing. Each to their own, it is indeed a stage, some say it’s a childs way of testing boundaries and finding out what the rules really are. So if this is the case, and it is boundary testing then it needs to be acknowledged more than ‘it’s just a phase’. Surely it is better to try and understand why your child bites, is it curiosity? Is it anger? Ignoring it will not make it go away. I am a great believer in discipline or at least boundary setting and education from the start. I think all adverse behaviour should be acknowledged and dealt with at all ages, not just when you deem your child to be old enough to understand the consequences of their actions. Perhaps there is an underlying cause to their behaviour I hadn’t noticed. Perhaps their molar teeth coming through that I haven’t seen. Perhaps they are too cold or too hot and don’t know how to tell me. Perhaps something has made them nervous and it was a simple expression of anxiety.
I also believe not all children can be taught about consequences the same way. With my two different situations can require different types of education. Pinky requires to simply be told that something will hurt her or someone else. Perky is more of a ‘learn by observing’ sort of child so this can come with its own challenges. Sometimes getting a little angry gets my point across (although rarely), sometimes pulling the disappointed card works, mostly a simple, calm conversation about why that behaviour isn’t acceptable is sufficient. Whatever my approach is I will not ignore it. I may well be very wrong but I think if you ignore something until you feel it is a more appropriate time to ‘cross that bridge’ the moment has probably passed and you are not providing a consistent expectation. How can it be ok to bite Mummy one day but not the next?
When I became a Mother I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t. I often wonder if I’m doing it right or wrong. I am far from perfect, I simply do the best I can. For me my best is to teach them how to be nice, good, polite little girls from the earliest opportunity. So far that is exactly what they are.
If my methods make me a strict Mum then so be it. What I do works for me at the moment. I am happy to adapt as we go along and I appreciate that others are very likely going to take a different approach to it all together. Every child is different after all.
Do you think you are strict? Or are you much more relaxed about things than me. If so how do you do it? I need some tips.