I’m very aware that parents are NOT perfect, but there are a few critical things that need to be close-to-perfect while parenting–things that can affect a child psychologically for years to come and even for life.
As a parent I will not:
1. Make negative comments about my child’s appearance.
Reasoning: kids go to school and inevitably get ridiculed for whatever it may be that is different (read: unique) about their appearance. Why, then, should they have to return home to their own parents making the same sort of comments? Why would I want my own flesh and blood to feel anything less than beautiful?
2. Force my children to be a part of an extracurricular activity that they do not enjoy.
By forcing my child to keep attending the activity that they do not want to do, I inhibit them from discovering their true talents and developing them. I will not get frustrated when I pay for seven different activities and none of them ends up working out. I will help my child find what they really want to do.
3. Try to be the “cool” parent.
I won’t let my child get away with doing whatever they please just to keep up an image of a “cool” mom. I will not make exceptions to rules I have enforced simply because I don’t want my child to be upset with me or dislike me. They will get over it, and life will go on.
4. Be an overly strict parent.
I DEFINITELY believe that if a child is over-sheltered, over-monitored, over-controlled, and kept on a short leash that they will become the opposite of what I would like them to become. I don’t want my child rebelling so much that they end up in a hole they cannot crawl out of. A little rebellion is inevitable, but I feel that if I give my child freedoms they desire every once in a while–even if they seem questionable to me–they will not feel the need to sneak, rebel, lie, etc. I won’t force religion, college, politics, or anything else on a child who should be making those decisions for themselves. I can only influence someone so much, and I will attempt to influence my children to lead a lifestyle that I know will make them happy.
5. Tell my child I’m too busy or to leave me alone.
I won’t put my child in the position of feeling like a burden to me, because they are not. No matter how stressed-out or swamped I am with chores or work, I will not brush off my child’s attempts to talk, interact, or be with me. If I truly need to focus on an important task, I will let my child know that after I’m done with it, I am all theirs. I don’t want them closing themselves off from me as they grow older simply because I didn’t make them feel like I was interested in their lives as a younger child.
6. Compare them to other siblings.
I realize that no two humans are the same, and there is no reason to expect one person to act or be a certain way. I won’t ever make my child feel inferior to another sibling or even put the idea in their mind that I would want them any other way.
7. Talk about my child to others while they are within earshot.
Aside from praising their accomplishments, of course. If I am talking to a friend about the tantrum my child threw earlier that day and my child hears, they feel embarrassed and attacked. Even simple things that are not necessarily negative such as “(blank) is my shy one” or “(blank) is always doing (blank).” I don’t want my child getting an idea from me and having it ingrained in their brain as fact. Maybe my child is a little shy–if they have accepted that as who they are then they may not feel the need to branch out as their life unfolds. I don’t want to determine my child’s nature or influence it negatively. If I feel like I need someone to vent to about a particularly hard day with my child–which I imagine will occur at times—I will be 103% sure that my child will not hear me. Further, I will still vent in a way that does not belittle my child in any way.
8. Hide things from my child.
Whether it’s things from my past or current events in my life, I will not hide from or lie to my child. I will not hide my past mistakes and experiences from my teenagers in the hope that they will not have to endure the same feelings as me. I won’t try to paint an unrealistic picture of my life for my child and try to seem perfect. I will let them see all my flaws and shortcomings as they are. I will be a human: I will be someone they feel comfortable talking to about their lives.