Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Parents: It WILL be OK... ignore the haters!

I spent years listening to the opinions and unsolicited advice of others about how to parent my children and I thought I would address some of these things here. Now, I never said anything in the past, maybe I should have, but I am saying it now in an effort to help other parents. Parents who listen to the barrage of opinions, advice, criticism, and judgements of others. Parents who quietly go about their business without ever saying anything yet feel hurt inside. Parents, like I was, who need encouragement and support, not fear and manipulation... from anyone!

Here are some of the things I endured from others. Does any of this sound familiar?

What is it about pregnancy that makes people crazy? Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to harm or kill your own baby. I was told not to put my arms up over my head or I would cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby's neck. I was told what to eat, what not to eat, how to sleep, walk, and even work. My favorite by far though was the constant advice on how to feed my baby once she was born. I had half the population telling me that I was irresponsible and not giving my baby the best chances in life if I didn't breast feed. Whilst the other half of the population, mostly family, telling me that breastfeeding was disgusting and an embarrassment. How was I to succeed?

The next hurdle came when I was to have a son. I do not believe in circumcision and so the obvious choice for me was not to have my child circumcised. This was clearly the worst offense I ever committed as a parent. I was berated, insulted, and even yelled at. Someone close to me actually told me that "one day your son will come to you as a teenager and tell you that he hates you for what you have done." Wow, just wow.

Madison, my first child, was a bit of a wild one! She was fearless, spontaneous, and very strong willed. She was a handful and often I was told by friends and family to "hit her." I was told that my discipline style was not severe enough and that she was sure to turn out like an uncontrollable monster who would most likely be "knocked up" by 16, if I didn't "spank her ass." Regrettably, once I did actually try spanking her little bottom which left me in tears, while thankfully, Madison was completely unscathed and unaffected by my attempt. I was told that clearly, I didn't hit her hard enough. I never tried again.

I was also a terrible parent for teaching my children about "choices." I used to use the phrases "that was not a good choice" or "it's your choice, but there are consequences," as opposed to "your bad!"  To the "choice" comments, I was told that kids don't have choices, it was up to ME to make their choices, and I was giving them too much control, and my approach was "stupid."

I also made it safe for my kids to talk to me... about ANYTHING. So while their friends were sometimes engaging in really risky behavior, our house was the safe zone. Our house was the place where kids could come and speak with "another Mother" (me) who would help and encourage without the judgement and ridicule. For the safe haven I offered, I often had a target on my back. Not many people, especially friends and family, want to offer you praise or thanks for doing the job they couldn't.

I am here to tell you my children have turned out wonderfully. Now, not all of them are full grown and out of the house yet, so I supposed they could still hate me someday, but I am going to go ahead and take a chance to say that they have turned out awesome! Madison is 19, in the Air Force, and happy. I am happy to say she wasn't "knocked up" at 16, nor did she sprout horns and become a demon. Harry is happy, successful, creative, and he likes me. Carrie seems to make really good "choices," and is a very compassionate child. I have applied all of my "horrible parenting techniques" to my step children as well, and they love me too.

So my dear readers, parents, friends, family, and others: Don't listen to the negative offerings of others. Don't let someone else scare you into parenting in a way that you don't agree with. Don't let the hurtful words of others convince you to do something you think is wrong. Please follow your own hearts, heads, and higher selves. Surround yourself with people who inspire, encourage, and offer support. Believe me when I say that it WILL all work out. Do your best, love your children, never compromise yourself or your kids and Live Inspired Now.

PS: Would you like to learn more about my work with kids, both my own, and the kids I work with? My book 'Live Inspired Now: A Field Guide For Happiness' is full of great stories, life lessons, and quick tips about everything from parenting, to relationships, to finding your perfect mate, and more! Get an autographed copy right here on my site! Happy New Year Friends! :)

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