I used to be a good parent. I used to care about all those things that don’t really matter. I’d worry about what food they ate, sport they did, homework, friends, music, art, socialising, leadership, chores, downtime, and the list goes on….
I was never really a good parent though. People told me. I didn’t discipline enough… or I disciplined wrong. I gave them junk sometimes. They only had organised activities 6 days a week. I let them wear pink, red and green on the same day. I didn’t jump to intervene when they couldn’t get it to work. I’d walk away and ignore them when they’d throw a tantrum. I didn’t make them wear shoes everywhere. Or jackets. Sometimes there’d be a stain on their shirt.
I like at the eldest – almost 17. She’s amazing. Everyone loves her. She’ll go places. Success! But… she loves junk food… Where did that come from? I only let her have sultanas and yoghurt for a treat… She has no idea how to entertain herself except with TV. Again, wtf? She didn’t even watch The Wiggles until she was 3 and at daycare! She needs to have activities constantly – to be doing something or going somewhere… but her downtime is to watch TV… and she hates to work! Seriously hates it. Hmmmm….
The next child challenged me. He had the same rules. Initially. But they didn’t seem to work for him. We’d go out… he’d misbehave. A while ago, he admitted he’d do it so we’d go home… Most of the time now, he doesn’t talk to me. He has chosen a different path to the one I was guiding him towards. I struggle to accept it, and as he tells me… just because he tells me he loves me, doesn’t mean he actually does….
Then I look at the next two. They’re busy dragging themselves up. And I have to say, they’re doing a much better job at it than I was doing. So… I figure I’ll let them keep going. The youngest had cereal for dinner tonight… again… because as he tells me, he LIKES it. They bicker and gang up on me and drive me batty some days… They don’t do homework. They eat way too much junk. They only do activities that suit them and they’re happy to just sit at home and do nothing quite often. They think chores are optional, as are showers and cleaning your teeth… we do argue over those last two…. But… they seem to be getting it so much better than I ever did… So I think I’ll leave them to it, sit back, observe and learn…