Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Fine Line of Parenting.

Parenting is like forever trying to balence a scale that just won't....well, balence. You take all the crap from your own childhood that you are convinced screwed you up, go to the opposite side and reach total imbalence. You re-adjust til you sound just like your parents, which is scary enough, and imbalence again. Trying to keep it all level is an exhausting job.

I was raised in an overly-strict manner and there was no tolerance for doing anything different than they wanted. It was not a horrid childhood, just a very controlled one. My curfew in high school was midnight. Half my night was spent making sure I would get home not a second after. I usually made it in the five til range. My mom would be standing at the door, with the "mom look " of anger, and she would start yelling at me, "You JUST made it by the skin of your teeth!!". Being on time was not quite good enough,nothing was, really.

Then you have children of your own and these certain areas are so build up in your mind to "never do". I was so much more relaxed when Ryan was to be home at midnight and got home at twenty after instead. I wasn't going to fuss over the minor lateness. I never wanted him to feel like he didn't have room to breath, but then twenty minutes late became forty-five minutes late, then an hour, then an hour and a half. Next thing you know I am calling his cell phone, demanding he get home on time and standing at the door with the "mom look".

I was taught to give up my seat, keep quiet, always put others first and be polite to the extent of being a doormat. I wanted my kids to be independant, free-thinkers that could make up their own mind, look after themselves and put their interests in front of others on occasion. I told them being polite was great, but it was not their job to always be the one to sacrifice, so use your good judgement and you'll know the difference. Turns out kid's judgement is not always so "good". It was not long before I am standing over them saying , "Do you EVER think of ANYONE but YOURSELF??".

I wanted my daughters to be fiesty and have a good sense of self, know what they wanted and not be afriad to demand it from a society that caters to men. Now my thriteen year old is intolerable with demands and my toddler is running the place. She is the princess and we are reminded of that on an hourly basis.

Sometimes you see your efforts and it is a proud moment, those rare times when the balence does work and they are confident without being overly selfish, assertive without being aggressive and bratty, and kind without over-sacrifing themselves. You think you have fine tuned the balence until ten minutes later they break the scale again.

I often wonder what they will carry as "the things I am never going to do to my children". What they will overcompensate for when they are raising their own. I hope it is a whole lot less than I thought I had to do.


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