Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My view on parenting

For most of my life, I've been "eh" about most things. Of course, I have my personal political views (left), but I try not to talk about them outside of my husband and work--both of which think the same way I do. I don't find it a productive use of time to talk about them elsewhere. But for the most part, I'm not opinionated on most things. To each his or her own. Now if a friend is about to do something stupid, I might say something ("Have you thought about looking at it this way?"). If someone asks my advice, I might give advice.

I find it interesting that one area where I definitely have opinions is parenting. I have rather deep, passionate opinions on how to raise my child. I recognize that my way might not be the "right" way, and all parents are trying to raise happy, successful children. There are many paths to take to get there; I realize that.

My parents were lackluster in certain areas (aren't all parents?), but my mother was superlative in others. She raised me to be very resourceful and completely independent (not sure that was by design) with a strong work ethic. I follow through on the commitments I make with rare exception, and I try to be very reliable. Upon entering the work world, I realized how rare these qualities are in a world where people drop out at the last minute, miss deadlines, are unorganized to the point of not reading important emails, etc. My motto of "show up prepared," which I thought was a given for everyone, isn't universally practiced. And I think a huge part of where I am today is because I show up prepared, far more than any skills I have. While I probably don't need to raise my daughter to be as independent as I am, I think it's important to instill a strong work ethic and reliability for the dividends it will pay in her life. So I am a bit…overzealous when it comes to that.

I don't believe in monetary/"thing" rewards. I try to instill that the psychological feeling of success is better than getting money or "things" for accomplishments. For instance, she has weekly spelling words at school. Some parents give their kids money or toys if they got all their words right, especially back in the beginning of the year. I thought to myself that it would be a difficult weekly reward to maintain, and wasn't the goal for her to enjoy learning for the sake of learning instead of for the reward? So I'm the parent who says "good job" and that's it.

The new thing seems to be surprising your kids with a vacation (perhaps to that huge moneymaker that starts with a "D") and missing school. Parents are renting billboards (I kid you not) to announce the surprise to their kids. To each his or her own, I say.

With a bit of trepidation, we're going to that "D" place in August. She has started asking about it since so many of her friends have gone, and I do think she's old enough to really enjoy it. Why crowded August? Because I do not want to show her by my actions that missing school is acceptable to me. Sure, if her grandparent was on his or her deathbed or something like that, of course I'd make an exception because I do want to role model that people are more important than school. And as for announcement? We told her earlier this week that we're going in August. I'm looking forward to the anticipation she'll experience in the coming months, and we'll look at the park map and plan what order we'll see things in. She'll be part of the process. She's put the date on her calendar, and we're telling her that we'll be staying with family for part of it, and we're staying on the property for some of it. This is how I approach the whole thing, which is far different from how most other parents approach it. And that's okay.  


jojo cucina cucina said...

Beth, i wish YOU could raise all the children of the world. My philosophy on parenting would be very very similar (if i had kids). Like you i am a person who comes prepared and was also surprised when entering the working world that people who were not actually held on to their jobs. It was probably the most challenging part of my career in unions. It would be very important to me to raise kids who had good work ethics and who were not always looking for that reward for doing something they were supposed to be doing in the first f*#king place.

I myself have never been to Disneyland. Never really even wanted to. Probably would not take my non-children there either because i hate crowds and lines and get motion sickness on the rides, not to mention the screaming kids and tired irritable parents. But i think it's great they your told her ahead of time (without renting out a! people do that????) and she marked it on her calendar.

Somewhere i read that the anticipation of a vacation is almost as exciting as the vacation itself. (or something like that). I like looking forward to a trip and i imagine children are like that too. It must be a little bit like waiting for Christmas though when talking about Disneyland.

Back to the rewards thing for a moment. I think it is a very slippery slope granting rewards. Take food for instance.....look at the adults who have food issues today because their parents used food as a reward or a way to comfort. Rewards for doing a job seems like you would be raising a child who would never do anything for anyone or go out of their way to assist others if there was not something in it for them. There is a little too much of that already with this generation as it is. And don't even get me started on the trophies for participation....

BTW...Have you ever been to Disneyland?

B said...

I also mess up kids too. I'm a bit hard on her and expect too much.

I've been to D'land a few times. I do love amusement parks despite the crowds. J and S have never been to D'land, and I think both will like it. We won't go crazy there because they try to sell you all this crazy stuff, like charging $60 to do your daughter's hair like a princess so it can get destroyed on the rides.