Posts Tagged ‘parenting styles’

Does My Parenting Style Even Matter?

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Does my parenting style even matter?Much of the bluster of the so-called “mommy wars” centers around parenting styles. But recently, I read an article in The Sun about parenting around the world by Utah State anthropologist David Lancey, who contends that parenting style at the infant/toddler stage doesn’t make a real difference.

Shocking, huh? Stay with me, because it makes sense. For most of time, parents couldn’t really afford to get too attached to pregnancies, babies and even small children. Death was common. Most societies put value and stock in the older members of their societies, which makes sense. Older people have life experience and wisdom that needs to be passed down. Especially so in the sense of ancient societies, where the wisdom these individuals carried could mean the difference in your clan or tribe surviving or not.

In some societies today, this thinking carries on. In China, it’s a common belief that it’s better to lose a child than a parent, for you can always have more children but a parent cannot be replaced. Western thought recoils at this idea, and that’s because we are what the author calls a “neontocracy” where babies and children are what matter most.

Now, any mom who has had to wield a cart full of groceries with two preschoolers in tow, or who has walked into a non-family friendly restaurant with two hungry kids to scowls and frowns from other patrons would tell you that is absolutely not the case. But the amount of time we spend worrying about, arguing and reading about parenting in these early years bears out his claim.

The truth is, we put so much pressure on ourselves to make sure our babies are learning and growing and developing on par with their peers when in reality, these things happen on their own. Babies learn to speak, eat, walk, use the potty and sleep through the night largely regardless of what we as parents do.

Lancey’s argument is that in Western culture the babies and kids are fussed over so much because they become our trophies—our measurement of self-worth. To have a “good” baby is to be a “good” parent. To have a an intellectually or athletically gifted child is something to brag about, so we try to get our kids to talk earlier, walk earlier, play sports earlier and read earlier than anyone else’s kid. Who is this helping? Certainly not the children, and it’s stressing us out as parents.

So what’s the solution? Lancey says it’s simple: maybe just chill out and quit placing so much pressure on our children to be our everything in life. Give your child free time to play. Let them interact with individuals of different ages. Let them learn at their own pace. Give them jobs to do. Don’t place your self worth in their accomplishments. Most of all, let them make mistakes, and let them learn from them.

Saying your parenting style doesn’t matter doesn’t mean that you are harming your child by taking a certain approach, just don’t ever get too down on yourself or too proud of yourself, regardless of the circumstances, because you are affecting the outcome much less than you think.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who lives and writes in Oklahoma City.  

The Mother Within: Finding Your Way

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Pregnancy Week 36: Making Time for Me Before Baby ArrivesLiving in a world of oversharing media, where a news break of the latest thing to hurt your child comes on every night, it is tricky to find the path to become the mother you wish to be. Attachment parenting, Tiger Moms, Free Range Parenting, all these options are out there calling to us, yet before the baby was born we dreamt of what our lives would be like. And once our little ones are out of the womb it’s easy to become very lost in the day to day of survival and perseverance without remembering who you wished to become as a mother.

Motherhood changes us all. It’s hard to imagine minutes after birth what it felt like to have a little body inside your belly. Suddenly, there is a tiny person demanding life and love where there previously was just hope and dreams. Motherhood changes us in the best ways possible, growing stretching our hearts and patience. With the birth of my first baby I had a dream of the type of mother I wished to be. In the rush and fog of it all, I quickly lost my way in the haze of sleepless nights, diapers, tears, teething and home.

Finding a way in this new life can take some practice. I found my confidence growing with each month, each day teaching me a lesson in patience, time management and growth as a person. From learning and becoming confident in diaper changes, to learning to be comfortable nursing and leaving the house, to figuring out how to manage my time and home, everyday became a lesson in confidence, trust and listening to the inner voice that told me to do it my way – to hold him, rock him, nurse him as long as I wished, to let the rest go and find my path in this new world.

By listening to this voice, the path has become easier. I trust myself more, question less and listen to my children as they show me the way. Often we believe that we must have all the answers, but the one thing I have learned with my boys is to listen to them. They have shown me the way, how to raise them, how to teach them, how to be the mother they need me to be. Sometimes it is the tough mom, who holds her ground, and sometimes it is the silly fun mom who shows them that it is ok to cut loose once in a while. This lesson took me a while, took my a while to catch on to listen to them and learn to let myself be molded into their mother.

Motherhood is a journey, some find it easy and smooth and others a bit less so. But finding our own path on the journey makes the road much more enjoyable. There is no substitute for sharing our own confidence with our children; soon they catch on and accept it as their own.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom in Portland, Oregon. She lives, loves, laughs and giggles with three little boys ages 5, 3 and 6 months.