Lately, I’ve had a plethora of moments that have become blog fodder in the way of parenting pet peeves. These aren’t in any particular order because they all bug me just about equally.
Please don’t interfere with me trying to teach my son a lesson - particularly sharing. Brandon and I recently had an interaction with an acquaintance and their child in which the children were each playing with the other’s toy(s). For a little while things were going well. When my acquaintance needed to leave, Brandon was upset that he had to give back the other child’s toys. He pitched quite a fit. My acquaintance offered to let him hold on to the toys and get them back later. A generous offer, but I’m trying to teach Brandon how to share and give toys back when it’s time. I think that’s important for him to learn, even if it’s harder given that he doesn’t have any siblings. I had to explain this to get my acquaintance to understand why I wouldn’t accept the offer.
Humans have to make judgments in life, but that doesn’t mean we should be judgmental. The aforementioned acquaintance made a point of letting me know that their child was very good at sharing. Yes, a 20-month-old is good at sharing. SO WAS MINE at that age; he was also easily distracted out of wanting something. Then he figured out how to fight for what he wants. (You had to be there to hear the comments and the attitude - judgment was being made, but I didn’t take it personally.) Said acquaintance may never have issues with their child sharing, but to assume that it’s all figured out at that age is a bit presumptuous. I’ve no doubt that the future will bring some challenges to their current beliefs they hold as gospel about their child.
Teach your children how to be safe by example - follow the rules of the road! I wish I had a dollar for how many times I’ve seen parents or caregivers ushering their children across the street without a walk signal. Recently I saw a woman with two kids in a double stroller rushing across a six-lane road when the light had already turned green. She knew before she stepped into the road that she shouldn’t have, but did it anyway. Personally, I trust myself far more than I trust any other driver on the road. If I don’t have a walk signal, I’m not going to cross - especially with my child in tow. This goes for cycling, too. Just today I saw a man with a young son cycling through a crosswalk and then in the middle of oncoming traffic lanes to more conveniently get where they wanted to go. Cyclists and drivers can safely share the road if both are actually following the rules of the road.
Discipline is good for children. It teaches them boundaries. I get regularly frustrated at the park and other public play places when parents let their children take toys away from my son. I stand there telling him over and over that he has to play nicely and share and to ask other children if he wants to play with a toy they have. Other parents hear me and then watch their child do the opposite of what I’m telling my child to do and say nothing. Different families have different values (some can be attributed to cultural differences), but this seems a basic thing that every child should know to get through life. That is, unless we want to perpetuate the current sense of entitlement that’s practically epidemic in western culture.
Comparisons are inevitable, but just how valuable are they? I often ask my friends when their child(ren) have done this or that. I take their answers with a grain of salt, knowing that my child is different and that a hundred different variables could affect when he does or doesn’t do something. While I find the information interesting and sometimes reassuring or useful, I hope it’s never perceived as an opportunity to brag on Brandon. Nor do I want to engage in comparisons with other parents that turn into them bragging about their child.
If our children grow up to be healthy, responsible and independent adults, then we’ve done our job as parents and none of this other stuff even matters at that stage anymore.
What are your parenting pet peeves?