I’ve been labeled by some as a hands-off parent. I don’t get too worried if my daughter misses one meal or sleeps past her bedtime on occasion. I am not constantly hovering over her, marking her every move. At the park, I sit on a bench, watching her climb on the slide that is a little too high for her, but I don’t immediately get on my feet and run towards her, because I know she will get down on her own when she realizes it may be too much for her four year old limbs. I even forget to apply the sunscreen sometimes or forget the water bottle at home. In other instances, my daughter eats microwave macaroni, sips some of my soda, and watches cartoons for a couple of hours.
At this point, some parents might be appalled at some of my choices in raising my child. Before you stop reading, please consider some of my other parenting skills. I drive my daughter to school every morning and pick her up in the afternoon. I volunteer at her school for her craft projects and set up playdates so she can mingle with children her own age. I gave up my career as a lawyer so I would ensure that I would available for her at all times, whether at school or at home. Every week, she eats fresh veggies, fruits, and homemade Indian food. Some would call this hands-on parenting or being too involved in my daughter’s upbringing.
I offer this comparison because labeling parenting styles is a dangerous business. Which way is right? Hands-on or hands off? I don’t know. I think raising children is a a little bit of a risky and uncertain venture, much like getting married. There is a certain amount of luck involved in these relationships. You may do everything you deem is correct or the right way, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee an outcome. So passing judgment on a parent based on his or her parenting style is antiquated thinking. I know I have been guilty in participating in this type of thinking too. I’ve realized one important thing. I may not be parenting the “right” way according to one parent, but does that make it wrong? Unless it is common sense wrongs, like neglect, starvation, and abuse, I don’t think so. There is so much grey area when it comes to parenting,not any one way ensures optimal success.
I am trying to figure things out much like every other parent. The next time you think a parent is doing something “wrong”, remember we are all hoping that our parental moves will guide our children into becoming an ideal adult. But whose ideal? Do you see the dilemma?
oh yes! I see the dilemma! Of course, I read your first paragraph and could have been reading about myself. 🙂
Of course, great minds and friends think alike! Love ya!
Rudri, I think that balance is the most important thing in parenting and life in general. It seems that you have it. Katy
Good point. Thanks for the compliment.
I parent much as you do. I’m pretty hands off, my 4 year old has played with and experienced many things that others would think too old for him. But, like you, I think I offer a healthy balance and I believe it’s that balance that will help my boys be healthy, well adjusted people. No one is perfect, that isn’t real life. I don’t think we need to be perfect parents to have perfect kids. I think we need to be real parents and have real kids. Great post! I really enjoyed it.
Thanks so much for reading. I think your point about keeping things realistic is so important. Well said.
Before I had Hannah, I had high ideas about how I was going to raise her. That totally changed once the reality of having a child hit! It’s so hard to be a parent and figure out what’s “right.” It certainly doesn’t help when people judge your parenting choices. In the end my girls are happy and loved, so I figure that I must be doing something right.
Happiness is essential and a testament to our parenting skills. I think it is easy to say how you are going to parent before having kids, but once you have them, you realize that you have to be flexible and look at each kid’s needs individually. As always, thanks for commenting.
So much about parenting involves guessing, making mistakes, following our instinct and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. As parents, we’re engaged in our children’s lives 24/7 and are constantly struggling with letting go and remembering they have their own lives. And in all this, we do a whole lot of loving, a way of living really, that, as rewarding as it is, takes a toll on our mental, physical and emotional being. If a child is loved, fed, respected and cared for, all other fuzzy minutiae can’t be that significant.
Great point Belinda. I think sometimes as parents we lose sight of the big picture and get too focused on the details. It is all about balance.
mmm…reminds me of Aesop’s tale, the old man and the donkey. You can’t make everyone happy. One thing is certain, allowing your daughter to grow healthy boundaries is certainly wise. Keep up the good work!
Thanks Nikole. I am certain my parenting skills will be challenged as she grows older, but I hope that I can always remember to keep healthy boundaries. Glad you visited my blog.