Thursday, 5 January 2012

And the Parenting Winners are....

.....The parents whose children become child prodigies? The parents who manage to potty train their 1 year old? The Mother whose baby sleeps through the night at a week old? The parents of children who take their GCSE's at the age of ten? The Father who yells so loudly on the sidelines of the football pitch that his son has no option but to play to his best? The family who buy the most expensive presents for each other? The parents whose children have every screen possible and more? The Mother whose toddler eats every type of food put in front of them?

How ridiculous does this sound? And yet we all do it. We all, at some point in our parenting life, compare ourselves to other parents and join the Parenting Competition. I have some news for you....


It does not matter if your baby eats homemade butternut squash pureed into ice cubes or if she eats food from a jar bought in the supermarket. It does not matter if you breastfeed or bottlefeed (yes, I know this may offend some, but I was often offended by people remarking on my choice of feeding and adding to the guilt a new mother already feels). It does not matter if your baby walks at 10 months or 18 months and it certainly doesn't matter if you manage to miraculously potty train your son at 18 months or 3 1/2 years old. It doesn't matter if someone elses 8 year old can ride and bike and yours can't. It doesn't matter if your 4 year old son can't hold a pen properly, but your friend's 5 year old daughter spends all day colouring neatly in the lines. It doesn't matter if your child's classmate has piano lessons, swimming lessons, karate lessons, football club and drama club and your child just enjoys being at home. It doesn't matter if you cannot afford the all singing, all dancing birthday party for your child.

Today, during my blissful child-free trip to the library, I overheard two mothers of pre-school children talking. I was horrified to hear one of them make this careless remark: "I'm not being funny, but my children are alot more academic than yours". This is the culture of competition in which we bring up our children.

However, the reality is that there is no competition because all of our children are different. They are unique. Why do we beat ourselves up, reading silly books with ridiculous 'milestones' that tell us what our children should be doing, when our children have not read the book? They are their own unique person, created in love and made to be the perfect child they were meant to be. Don't hear what I am NOT saying. I love competition and know that it motivates children - especially boys - to work harder and push themselves further. The competition between parents though, is totally wrong and gives the impression that we are never pleased with our children's achievements because Billy in their class is always one step ahead.

Come on, let's give ourselves a break and stop comparing our children and our parenting. Let's climb off the unsteady ladder of 'parental achievement' and celebrate our children for who they were made to be. Let's be free to bring up our children in the way that is best for them and for our own families. Let's enjoy our children and give up the Parenting Competition that so damages family life. Anyone else want to join me?

1 comment:

Ruth burchardt said...

2 years ago when I had Caleb, God reminded me of this 'issue'. I even have to remind myself of that time as well, as I slip back in to the old way of thinking. Well done for inspiring others. Long may it continue.