I freely admit, I think I know every thing.
Which is probably one of the reasons at 6, my mother told me, “No one wants to be your friend because you’re so bossy”. Thanks Mom!
At thirty, I was flying by the seat of my pants. Trying to raise two children without damaging their psyches. Lord knows, I tried my best but I’m sure they carry scars all over their feelings.
I read all the T. Berry Brazelton books on child rearing. I even poured over Dr. Benjamin Spock’s books. His advice seemed antiquated by that time, but I wanted every bit of advice I could get. My best take away from Dr. Spock was that I should take my children to the playground, everyday. So I did.
But seriously? I had no clue what I was doing. My Mom did her best with me, but she was not a parenting model I wanted to replicate.
Fast forward 28 years. I still have no scientific, based on data collected, wisdom. But I do know a few things. They’re mostly intuitive. They may be wrong.
Please refer to the first sentence of this post.
At 58 I have perceptions that I consider wisdom. So where did I get the idea my adult children, want or care to hear my child rearing wisdom? Notice how carefully I worded that? And why can’t I keep my opinions to myself? I must be as bossy as my Mom said!
What I know now:
When a child hits the terrible 2’s, don’t ask if they want to do something, when they really have no choice. If they really do have the option to choose, then give them that power.
If they must get into their car seat or have a bath, don’t dangle the option of choice in front of them. Life is challenging enough at two. When they can’t communicate well enough be understood, don’t temp them with an option, when it doesn’t exist.
I remember reading that older parents are better parents. They’re calmer and wiser. I’m pretty sure they were referring to parents in their thirties or forties vs twenties. But in my opinion, late 50 wisdom has it all beat!
Again, refer to the first sentence.
I’ve always felt life would be perfect if we could live it backwards. Possessing the wisdom gained with age, in a young, healthy body and the luxury of a lifetime ahead of you!
Mom, I hear you now, saying I’m being bossy. And you may be right.
But hindsight is always 20/20. We all do the best we can with what we have available at the time.
My grown children are intelligent, loving, parents who will do the best they can. I just wish they’d listen to some of my unsolicited advice.
I plan to be my grandson’s favorite person in the world. I want to be that wise person, he feels safe to ask any question. I want him to know I have nothing but his best interests at heart.
Now if I can only keep my opinions to myself about child rearing, my children may continue to allow me spend time with him.
Jennifer Connolly blogs at A Well Styled Life