Why I Encourage Others to Reprimand My Kids
I was 25 when I had my first daughter. That’s not a young age. It also doesn’t make me an ‘old’ mum either. But it does mean that by the time I had my first daughter I had learnt a fair few lessons. One lesson I have learnt that I value quite highly, has been handed down through generations, yet seems to get lost in today’s media strong and intrinsically isolated society.
It takes a Village to Raise a Child.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that it actually takes more than one set of parents to physically raise a child. Most single mothers cope pretty well with no help at all on a day to day basis. But when it comes to teaching children morals and values, I actually believe that learning from more people than just your mum and dad makes you a much more rounded child.
Take for instance, discipline. Now as a whole, I am the disciplinarian in the house. I think in most households you will find that one parent takes more control of the actual ‘telling off‘. As much as we all admit that we want to bring up our children equally, it is very rare to be able to carry this off in practise.
In most households, one parent will be more exacting than the other. In my house for instance (as I also explained in another article ‘why can’t he discipline them’) I am the one that handles the day to day reprimanding.
Mummy is the one that tells them to eat their dinner, to get dressed or do their homework. Daddy will of course step in at weekends when the kids are being naughty, but on the whole, I am the big bad dragon and he is the cool fun dad. Most of the time it works for us. Not all the time admittedly, but most of the time. At the end of the day, I am their mother and not their best friend. As much as that lesson in itself was hard to learn, it is one that I am sure I will be grateful for when my daughters reach the teenage years.
However, there are some days, that even being the cool dad that never gets angry just isn’t enough. Some days we will both raise our voices and it seems our words get lost in the haze that is children’s TV, music and pre-teenage screaming (despite hoping this would be a while off, it seems this starts around 6 years of age in girls. Trust me, it’s exhausting!).
Quite simply put, sometimes our children will look at us with that look of ‘whatever‘ on their faces.
This exact moment, is where the ‘village‘ comes into play.
You see, in my mind, I applaud the mother who looks at my daughter running up the slide while another is about to come down and tentatively raises her voice to ask my child to get down.
I applaud her.
Why? Because this woman, who bares no family resemblance to me and has no connection to me (other than the fact our children play in the same park) is silently but resolutely backing me up as a parent.
The million other times I had told my daughter not to do the exact same thing, have been met with the ‘ok, whatever‘ shrug. One that I know fine well is a rehearsed act… and that five minutes later she will do the same again.
To be fair to my daughter here, it’s not exactly dangerous and my astute and highly intelligent 7 year old knows that all too well. It is exactly why she is doing it. She is pushing boundaries and mummy is just being a ‘boring wet blanket‘.
That is until a raven haired stranger utters the exact same words.
Thank you – Divine Goddess sent from parental heaven.
Thank you for making my daughter understand that it’s not just me that is a ‘kill joy‘.
Children need to learn respect and from an early age. Growing up in a military family taught me that. But it seems many children are lacking this basic social skill. I have been adamant to teach my daughters about respect from a very early age.
Respect for their peers, no matter the age; respect for authority no matter the uniform, and respect for other peoples language, race, culture and creed. But respect nonetheless.
Only, by the age of 7 they are bored of learning that lesson and simply believe mummy is just ‘too strict’ and not fun anymore.
The raven haired disciplinarian I spoke of cautiously strides over to me, noticing almost immediately that I am watching and quietly apologises for raising her voice at my daughter.
“Oh Lord no, you carry on. As long as you don’t raise a hand to her, you can raise your voice as much as you like. Maybe she will listen to you – she seems to have inherited her father’s skills and ‘switch behind the ear’. I swear she actually tunes me out at the moment.”
That raven haired beauty is now one of my closest friends. Do you know why? Because she backed me up.
As mothers, once we have given birth, we are also ‘reborn’ but into a world of judgement. Everyone has an opinion on your parenting skills. Everyone (even those without children) believes they can do a better job than you.
But other mothers know. Other mothers realise that they have been there before. They have told their child off a million times and had no reaction, yet as soon as another mother utters the same words it seems they have the Midas touch.
It takes a village to raise a child. Why? Because sometimes it takes more than ONE person to get the point across to a stubborn child.
So to all the mothers out there, as long as you are not beating her around the head with a stick then please feel free to help me instill a sense of respect into my child. Sometimes it takes the words of another to make them realise that we are not ‘making up these rules as we go along just to piss them off.’
No. In fact this is just how the real world works.