A friend of mine wrote a blog post about being a good parent. Hey I fessed up to stealing ideas from others, I just like to call it inspiration. My spin on this is a bit different than hers, you see, I know I am not a good parent. I break all the rules. I yell at the kids, I am inconsistent, I let them watch to much tv, play too many video games, and eat junk food.
I have a friend who is very strict with her kids. She even has an allowed snack list posted on the fridge. Those kids toe the line, because their are consequences and they are enforced. When I told her that I needed to talk to Mac about attending an event that she had organized, her response to me was, "aren't you the parent, don't you get to choose?" Well, yes, I am the parent, but I also know that if I don't involve him in the decision, especially when the plan has changed generally does not go well. It is about respect. It is a social event that invovles him, it is really not my choice for Mac to go or not to go, it is Mac's. Wait a minute that sounds like good parenting, or at least good justification.
I got flame roasted in an open forum when I admitted I let my kids decide about wearing coats. I offer a coat, hat, mittens, etc, but if they choose not to put them on, then they suffer the consequences. Again, this whole argument about me being the parent and me getting to make the decision gets trotted out. But, for me it is about creating children that turn into independent adults. So, I respect them enough to make a choice about their outerwear. If they make a bad choice they will be cold, they won't die. If it is that cold, one step outside and they are back looking for their coats.
My kids have a lot of freedom, because I am lazy. Or at least that is the feedback I get. But, in reality it is because my philosophy about parenting is different than the general populace. I am not their friend, but discipline means creating a disciple. I prefer to coach the kids and then letting them suffer the natural consequences of their decisions. Sure, I step in when things get out of control, but I let them forget their homework, decide not to wear their coats, and make decisions about what friends they are going to spend time with.
What annoys me is when someone in the grocery store judges my parenting and then offers me advice. That person does not know the kids involved, the back story or even what is happening. It seems if I take the kids to the grocery store, they are tired and crabby and have about 85 billion tantrums. This frustrates me, and my reaction is to ignore them, and then they finally wear me down and I snap at them. Yeah, it isn't a proud moment in parenting, but you know, it is also understandable. So, unless you have never snapped at whiny kids the grocery store, don't judge me for doing it. Oh, and I do yell too much... I am working on that, because it hurts my throat when I do it.