"I wasn't raised that way."
"My mom would have never let me do that."
"These kids nowadays are awful, wimps, entitled brats."
"I could only speak when spoken to."
"Children are to be seen and not heard."
"Don't trust your kids because they'll lie to you."
"Teens are going to have sex and get pregnant if you don't watch them all the time."
"Let them figure life out on their own. It will make them better."
"When kids are in high school they don't need their parents involved in school. They can handle it alone."
I hear these things all the time. Parenting advice from the past and present about how people were raised or currently raise their kids. People talk about your parenting style behind your back or offer advice directly that may contradict how you interact your own children. This advice, solicited or unsolicited, can impact one's ability to feel secure in their parenting.
Parent shaming. I hate it.
I am raising humans. People. Girls with minds and opinions and intellect. I talk to my girls about feelings, drugs, sex, sexual orientations, race, safety and feeling empowered. They are still children. They will be adults for a very long time and I find it important to communicate with them about how they feel and use that to empower and direct them.
Having confidence. Character development. Being good people, not because they are forced by fear and stringent regulations, but out of respect for themselves and us as parents.
Them being comfortable is a big part of my job daily. Not living a lavish spoiled lifestyle without responsibilities, but being comfortable with themselves and their abilities and in their surroundings. I advocate. I support. I guide them. I help mold mindsets.
I'm not perfect and I beat myself up about it all the time. They will have to make choices on their own, and one thing I say often is "make good choices," but I do this after knowing I have poured into them the tools they need to make those choices. And if they mess up I will still be here. I won't leave no matter how badly they mess up. I operate as their backbone outside of their body.
They operate independently outside of me but know that I am there whenever.
I never want them to be afraid of me. I hear criticism spoken often of parents who don't yell or spank or demand silent, perfect, orderly children at all times. Mine are messy, needy, tumultuous, opinionated, loud, attitudy but also full of grace, love, and kindness and are giving, athletically-inclined, business-minded, poetic... the list goes on.
I hear that there are different parenting styles. I also know that hearing people say "I was raised like such and such and I turned out fine" is a misconception. Loud criticisms and opinions are spoken all the time, especially in the Black community. But with this thinking of ruling with an iron fist can come ugliness and uncertainty for a child.
Family secrets, substance abuse, hidden mental illnesses, over-disciplined outbursts and runaways, sexual abuse, and childhood scars often come from rearing. The "I grew up like this and I am fine" mentality is relative to each individual situation. Think about your mental health. I think about mine often and there are things I wish were different when I was a child. There are differences I want for my children. Yes I discipline. I also teach lessons through my actions and our interactions. I know that my reactions (or non-reactions) will help shape their worldview and influence how they mature. I know that when I say no they understand that it still comes from a place of love.
I'm not a tyrant. No we're not friends, but my kids respect me. I respect them. I trust them. I want them safe and comfortable (in relation to situations). I want them to feel love and grow to be good people in this messed up world.
Parenting is hard for everyone and is one of my biggest challenges, but I refuse to allow anyone to be shamed about how they raise their children (as long as they are safe).