Friday, June 19, 2009

Two things.

The way we parent is an amalgam of the way we were brought up (the bits we accept, the bits we reject), the way our partners were brought up, the books we read, the money we earn, the country we live in. Etcetera, etcetera to quote the King of Siam.

But here are 2 random things that influenced my parenting.

1. Watching a documentary called Faces In The Mob, about kangaroos. There were these two mother kangaroos. One was very firm and bossy about training her joeys what to do. Her babies all lived. The other was a bit more slapdash, a bit vague and never any follow-through. Her joeys died; one was hunted, then lost and died a cold, lonely, pain-filled death. I can't tell you how much of an impact that show had on me. But I can tell you that my children know that No means No.

2. I house-sat for a friend who was also a cat-breeder. One of the cats liked to sleep with me, and decided she would still prefer to do this despite having given birth to a litter of kittens the previous night. While I was awake I kept returning the mother cat and her mouthful of mewling kitten back to their basket. But eventually I slept, and I slept deeply as I always do. When I woke the next morning, that very persistent cat (she was Burmese) and all her kitties were in with me, but 2 of them were cold and dead. Again, major impact on my psyche. I still remember coming to and wondering what the cold furry lump near my thigh was. I never let my babies sleep in the bed with me.

Bertie Wooster_8409


  1. A friend who works as a psychologist in a school once told me that children who are allowed to run the family often have social difficulties that are more persistent and pervasive than those who come from very, very controlling families. This was important in forming my ideas about parenting. My children have always known that I am the boss. I will listen, but once the decision is made the discussion has ended. And... I would NEVER cause my children humilition. NEVER.

  2. It's amazing how some moments stick with you isn't it? How they can outweigh anything else you might hear or read on a subject.

    Apart from my own parents, my parents-out-law (via my partner) and books and so forth, the thing that's had a big impact on how I parent is having babysat lots of other people's kids and seeing how lots of other families operate. If you want to reject some of the methods of your own parents you need to know some alternatives, and that's how I learned them.

    x k

  3. Those are some powerful influences.

    I was raised by a very leniant mom who was trying to overcompensate for her controlling upbringing. It was really challenging and I always wanted more stucture. I've told her this as an adult but she still insists it's the best way to raise children. I can understand sticking to your convictions when your kids are young, but I find her insistence interesting considering that I've told her multiple times that it was a real hinderance that I've had to carry with me into adulthood.
    I can't change her mind, but I do try to create as much consistency as possible for my boys. It's a struggle since it doesn't come naturally, but I believe it's important.

  4. Aaaaah parenting, a world of crazy!

    I have spent 20 years involved in Early Years Childcare in one form or another in several countries aorund the world, 11 of those as a parent and the one thing I know beyond any doubt (in my mind at least) is children thrive on structure. This is not authoritarian parenting but authoratative. Rules and regulations are important if for no other reason than if they don't exist what are your children going to rebel against?

    Oh I could go on, this is an area I have a LOT of views on ;-)

  5. Very interesting about the Kangaroos!!

    I am not sure what has really influenced the way I bring up my children. I do strive for them to be independent though.
    One thing I have always said (usually to myself) - I am not to regret how I raised them - I don't want to look back and wish I had done things differently.
    Parenting cannot be done in phases - it is a lifelong commitment!

  6. Stomper, I bet we parent very similarly. I am also a believer in routines and rules, but with a little flexibility thrown in there as well.

    I have 'kept' in my parenting repertoire almost everything my mother did in parenting me except that my kids do NOT have to finish everything on their plates, and they don't have to eat their crusts either! I get lots of good ideas from other parents to help me along the way, too.

    Great topic - you've got us all commenting!

  7. You had better give me a long list of all the things you rejected about the way your parents brought you up!
    I pick up a lot about current parenting practice from watching (mostly) mothers in cafes, supermarkets, and on buses. And of course I watch my children doing it, and learn quite a lot from that.

  8. So true that there are those little turning points that can have a big impact upon the way we parent.

    My kids all know the boundaries and I think that's very important, kids need routine and structure. I have to say though, I would never have managed if I hadn't felt able to cosleep with all of my babies. I'm too lazy to get up and get a baby in the middle of the night, if they're already in my bed I can just roll over and give em a boob!

  9. Wow. That is profound. (In the case of the kittens, a bit heartrending as well.)

    I'm afraid my parental influence is a dog training book.

  10. 'No' means 'no' here too. However, we still have a screaming, tanty-throwing 4yo when he doesn't like 'no'. And yesterday, he asked me why I said 'no' all the time'. And then he said 'no' to his dinner, his bath, and his bedtime... it's hard to 'no'.

  11. ...and when they were tiny, I had nightmares and would jump screaming out of bed because I'd dreamt that the baby was in bed with us and that I'd rolled on top of it. Even though they were NEVER in bed with me EVER. I always got up to feed..

  12. I'm with you all the way Stomper. 11yo...can someone help me with her please. Total angel at school "oh, Mrs EasternMax you have a golden child". Challenging at home.

    Perhaps you do home visits?

  13. After you visit the EasternMax home, can you please pop over for a chat with Abby? I have found it very easy to set boundaries with J.T., but very challenging to do the same with Abby. J.T. LIKES structure and boundaries and knowing what is and is not allowed and Abby is into, well, Abby Rules. It is a constant battle, but I don't give in and give up! I keep at it. Even when I have to fight the same battles everyday.

    I secretly think Abby is Aunty Evil's clone.

  14. Stomper, I like everything that comes off your keyboard! You write with such honesty about the simple things and it makes me think, "Hey, maybe I am an okay parent. Maybe I'm not the only one who tells their kids no."
    A round of applause for you. *clap clap clap*

  15. I feel bad as I am the exact opposite ( no structure, still co-sleeping ), and seem to be the only one here !! :(

    That said though, I do get lots and lots of compliments from teachers and randoms on my children, so I can't be doing too much harm.

    Didn't like my own damaged upbringing and have no real skills passed down as I brought myself up. I'm so out of whack on so many levels because of that.

    What makes me happy is that I can stay home though during these early years. Being a latch-key-kid was the saddest thing ever.

    Although waking up to dead kittens is really, really awful ( I am a light sleeper though, alert and ready for action with but a whimper - another childhood leftover, i'm sure )


  16. You shouldn't feel good or bad about this stuff, I wasn't trying to say mine is the right way. I was just giving the reason behind some of my parenting. You obviously adore your children and who could ask for more.

    Like you I adore staying home through the early years, and actually I'd like to keep staying home as much as possible.


  17. We had a bit of the Home Devil Outside Angel!
    On the whole our kids were good, & I was reasonably strict about some things. Never forced them to eat things they really disliked- nor eat crusts! I still dislike crusts.
    Our kids say they had the best childhoods, so I must have done something right.

  18. A real thought provoker, Stomper.
    The husband and I have a bit of a motto when it comes to parenting - the path of least resistance is rarely the best way to go.
    One thing I really remember from my childhood is having to eat peas long after they had gone cold. I still don't eat peas, but I make sure my kids do.
    Oh, and they never slept with us either.
    Look at gorgeous Bertie - he's all grown up now, isn't he? Such a beautiful boy.

  19. Stomper, love this subject and love all the comments. Yes, we have structure and no co-sleeping. And as far as the home devil issue goes, I take enormous pride in knowing that even though my kids are often feral at home...they KNOW how to behave outside the home. They KNOW because WE TAUGHT them what was appropriate. One of the loveliest things last year was watching Mackie (now 12) leaving behind the "head down mumble" phase and begin to look people in the eye and introduce himself. Very proud.


Don't let the cat get your tongue.