Growing up, I was not one of those children who vowed to not be as hard on her children as my parents were on me, in part because my parents meted out a fair amount of discipline, mixed with more love than discipline. Secondly, as I became older, I reflected on their parenting practices to help mold how I would one day raise my own children. Fortunately, my husband was raised in a similar household to mine, so our general thoughts on parenting are in synch, even if our approach may be slightly different in specific situations.
The idea from this post came out of my Facebook status earlier this evening. On the way home from school, I cautioned my son Izzy to not shuffle his feet in the snow that had suddenly fallen. Actually, I had already explained to him that I didn’t want his ankles to get wet, but he wasn’t listening to me (go figure), so when he asked me why he couldn’t shuffle in the snow, I simply answered him with the parental mantra, “…Because I said so!” Now generally, I don’t make a habit of using this phrase as often as our foreparents did. I do communicate quite a bit with my children, sometimes ad nauseum, using every opportunity for teachable moments. Child psychologists probably admit that explaining the ‘why’ to a child encourages them to submit to their parents’ request, instead of allowing them to blindly ‘do as I say do, not as I do’ (another parental classic!)
When I was pregnant with Izzy, I made a point to NOT read parenting books, although I did peruse parenting magazines for fun, just to see what kind of New Age foolishness was out there. Admittedly, there is a lot of value to some more modern aspects of parenting, but I’ve found that many of the classic styles are still tried and true. I remember when Izzy was a toddler, my mother came to visit and she offered to stand back and watch how we handled him, to see how us ‘new parents’ deal with situations. Was she serious? Although I appreciated her desire to be respectful of our ways, I told her that much of what we did was predicated upon our upbringing, and that she should feel free to dole out the Grandma discipline at her discretion! I assured her that she would find we were not too far off from how she and my father had raised me.
So yes, maybe we can do without some of the extreme measures that were used when we were growing up, and there is some merit in modern parenting, but sometimes it’s just not that deep, and it is what it is…because I said so!