Childless Parenting. We’ve All Done It!

I’m finding that as a parent, I am pretty much thinking and doing everything I said I wouldn’t. We all think we know what we’re talking about when we’re childless. We think we know the right ways to discipline, the right ways to love and encourage, the right ways to ensure we do so much better than our parents ever did. What a laugh. Parent-me wants to reach back into the past and slap Childless-me into next week.

Two of the beliefs I always had were that participation awards and wrapping your kids in bubble wrap were both completely ridiculous notions. Kids need to learn the difference between winning and losing, they need to know that you’re not always going to win in life, so why should you always win on the field? Kids need to learn to work hard to achieve awards and trophies and recognition. False, false, false. Kids, especially young kids, need encouragement. They need to know that whatever their best is, it is good enough. They need to know that just participating is winning. That is true in sports, in school, and in LIFE. And damnit, yes, if my son is part of a pass-the-parcel game at a birthday party, there better be a little prize for every kid playing! There is plenty of time for a 5 year old to learn he or she won’t always win. There is plenty of time for them to learn that the more you put in the more you get out of something. It is amazing what a difference a little stamp or sticker will make to a 5 year old. My son was upset because he didn’t get a certificate at gymnastics. We explained that those kids had graduated to the next level and that if he worked hard enough, he would one day too. The following week he got 3 star stamps in his record book and it made all the difference in the world. Kids just want some acknowledgement that they are doing a good job. And I think if they are there, and they are participating, they’re doing a fantastic job!

I’m not saying kids don’t need to learn these lessons. I just don’t think they need to learn them so young. But don’t ask me what age I think they’re old enough to start learning the lesson of losing. My ideal will probably change every year, and always be at least one year older than what my son is.

I also know I’ve heard in the past about parents who want monkey bars removed from playgrounds because they’re dangerous and I’ve thought, “What morons.” Then last week my son did a handstand and fell into a somersault in the playground at school and about gave me a heart attack. The ground at school is much harder than the nice, plush, springy floor mats at gymnastics. What if he had broken his neck!? Yes, this is how I think. I do sometimes wish I could wrap my son in bubble wrap and make sure nothing happens to him. He’s the only have I have! Not to say that parents with more than one child have spares so can not worry whether or not their kid breaks their neck…oh you know what I mean!

In any case, I am here to confess, I have been a Childless Parenter. I thought I knew what was best for kids before I had him. I thought I knew what to do, before I had him. Now that I have him, I may not still have it all right, but I will certainly try to figure it out as I go. Which I guess is all any of us can do.

Linking up for I Must Confess with Kirst at My Home Truths

My Home Truths

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29 thoughts on “Childless Parenting. We’ve All Done It!

  1. My biggest quandary before I had kids was with my friend who already had them. When they came over to visit our brand new house the kids ran amok and she did nothing to stop them. Imagine cups of red cordial about to be knocked off the coffee table onto brand new carpet (my kids – when I did have them – weren’t allowed to take food and drink into the formal lounge); and the toddler was just stopped before peeing into a large ornamental vase! I didn’t say anything at the time but if I’d already had kids I would have had the confidence to say something …

  2. Before I had kids I was one of those awful people who if I saw a child having a bit of tanty in a supermarket, would roll their eyes and mutter that they needed a good smack. Now I really don’t believe in smacking and my boys are a nightmare when I take them shopping. I probably deserved that, though! Love the bubble wrap picture. xo

    • Yep, smacking was one of mine too. Said I’d do it, said it was done to me and I am “fine” but I no longer believe in it either. The bubble wrap pic cracked me up (but there are times I wish I could do it!)

  3. I guess one of the advantages of having kids so young is that there wasn’t really ever a ‘childless’ me – before I fell pregnant with Miss 10, kids were the last thing on my mind! I did however get my judgey pants on after she was born because she was such a ‘good’ baby, slept and fed right on schedule, so I assumed that people whose babies cried just didn’t know what they were doing. I got brought back down to reality with a thump when #2 turned out to be refluxy, unsettled and generally feral twins!

    • ohhh no!! Boy that one came back to bite you in the bum hey? Ha! Perhaps it’s good we were never able to have more kids, b/c Nick has been pretty good. I’d hate to think (or find out) what ferral twins would be like! 😉

  4. Oh you and me both hun – I always said I would never let my kids play with plastic guns and yet we have a Nerf gun arsenal that would rival an army. I said I would never let my kids eat Maccas and I totally linger over the pass the parcel to make sure my kid doesnt miss out and does give up before he gets his prize. I thought I was an overprotective mum, but then I was the asshole who let her 6 year old ride a bike on the weekend when he didnt have a helmet on and then had to drive him to the hospital we he stacked and punctured his head. I challenge any mum to say they are the same mother they were when they were childless xx

  5. Yep, it’s definitely a different story when it’s your own kids. I teeter on the edge of wanting to be a relaxed, go with the flow mum that trusts my kids to let them fall over once in a while, and a neurotic, control freak mum who wants to rush to their aid and protect them from everything. It’s not easy!

    • I know what you mean about teetering on that edge. I think I have moments people think I’m completely irrational and other times they’re probably thinking “uhhh, are you going to watch your kid?!” it’s a hard thing to navigate!

    • The neighbour said, “Hi Nicklas” once and Nick said, “He knows my name” I thought “That’s because I’m always screaming it at you – NICKLAS, MAKE YOUR BED! NICKLAS, LET’S *GO*! NICKLAS, BRUSH YOUR TEETH! NIIIIIICKLAAAAAS!!!!”

  6. I wrote a post a few months ago about sucking at parenting and that was perfectly ok. If a childless friend tries to ‘educate’ me on what I should be doing with my child..I just smile and nod, then completely ignore it. Parenting really is one of those things that can only be learned with practice.

  7. I think most people are guilty of childless parenting! It’s a different matter when you have your own. Firstly, there is the exhaustion, sleep deprivation and so forth to factor in. And there is the FIERCE maternal love that you can never explain to a person who is not yet a parent. It screams PROTECT, keep SAFE and the love is the strongest love ever. The kind of love where I can honestly say that if a man with a gun entered my house and wanted to shoot one person…I would say CHOOSE ME!! I would do anything to keep my children safe. This is the stuff that childless parenting does not know anything about 😉 xo

  8. Yup! Definitely guilty of childless parenting! I never understood why my friend was such a stickler about sticking to a routine. Dinner, bath, bed…why did everything have to be done by 7:30 on the dot?? Then I had twins. OMG. Routine was what helped us survive!

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