My yard, my rules: Love wins
“We forget that what they need is the freedom to be children, to be curious, to be sheltered from the worries of adult life - even if for a little while. We ignore the fact that the myths about needing to go to the best nursery, have the best grades, extracurricular activities, and community service in order to succeed academically are largely unfounded. In fact, the only thing hyper-parenting has been shown to do is lead to depression and its destructive side effects in adolescents.” ~ Reem Kassis
Friends, you need to understand something: parenting is not a race. It is not a contest. There is no goal post you are aiming for. In fact, if we are looking at trying to achieve any one thing at all, the goal of parenting is not to be scoring points but rather to be raising happy, healthy child(ren) to be a happy, successful (in their eyes, not yours or anyone else’s) adult(s) who is/are productive to the point they would like to be. The point of parenting is to help your child grow and understand that they are important and loved, and that they should treat those around them as they would like to be treated.
5 things to remember:
1. It doesn’t matter what the neighbors say. It’s your yard/parenting style/child/car. Do what you want with it. You don’t have to listen to the advice of others, especially if it is given in a condescending manner. Your neighbor doesn’t know what is going on in your head or your life; unless they have walked the same journey you have, they don’t know where you are coming from. If you do something, and you believe in it, stick by it. Especially if it is something you feel will benefit your children. Know this: You know best.
2. It doesn’t matter if you’re color-coordinated. So you go out in your grubbies, who cares? So your kids’ pig-tails aren’t fishtail braided and set to engineer-like levelness, it doesn’t matter. So your kids’ clothes are a hair snug (growth spurt, anyone?), they have dirt under their fingernails (a good long afternoon swim will take care of it), and they have a hole in their pants (it was a really great wrestling match), it is no one’s business, and it doesn’t even matter. Your kids probably really enjoyed getting that dirt under their nails, and no amount of fashion-policing is going to make the least bit of difference. Ask yourself: are my kids safe? Are my kids well taken care of? Are my kids happy? Because if the answer is yes, then that is good enough.
3. It doesn’t matter if you don’t win the contest. Because there isn’t one.
4. It doesn’t matter if the latest child-expert-speaks books aren’t focusing on it. Your name may not be on the spine of a new release, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know what you are talking about. And, just because you are doing something and it isn’t mentioned in one of the plethora of books on that holier-than-though bookshelf doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing exactly the right thing for your little sweeties. You may not be the star of some reality show, and you may not train/take care of/foster anyone note-worthy, but you surely know what you are talking about when it comes to parenting your kiddos. You.are.a.good.parent. If you parent from the heart, you listen wholly to your children, if you focus on their best interests, and if you give them the freedom to grow and develop into their own self, then you are the best parent you can be. And not one person – author of parenting book or otherwise – can say anything different. This is not about them. It’s about you, and your people. Again, you know best.
5. Love wins. Every time. From card games to relations between countries, love wins. Being nice is better than being mean. Every.single.time. Yes, sometimes you have to be stern and sometimes you have to say no, but you don’t have to be a bully and you don’t have to be mean. You can have it your way and not hurt the feelings of others, and you can have it your way without railroading anyone. You can play nicely, and get along, and it won’t make anyone think you are weak. Love wins. Especially in parenting.