What’s the latest skinny on parenting? Do today’s mothers and fathers read books to determine how they will parent? I did a search and found that many parental guides now have a specific focus: discipline without shouting; how to nurture a child’s brain; how to parent with love and logic and how to parent using the power of less. That is very different from my generation when you purchased one book that commented on all aspects of parenting: Dr. Spock, Penelope Leach, William Sears, and the team of Murkoff and Mazel. And as these books appeared, parents talked about them and how different viewpoints made us question an initial decision so that when the second or third child arrived we were doing things differently.
PRIVACY and the COPY GENERATION
But my interest for this post is privacy. We live in the Facebook age, the digital age and slowly, without realizing it, the society out there can take over home rule, change the major rules of parenting. Society can subvert some of our initial decisions so that we are becoming lax in one area and maybe over-zealous in another. That just adds to feelings of confusion that all parents have had at one time or another. We question what we should do when the going gets tough. We struggle. But now the struggles about breast feeding versus bottle feeding, what diapers to use, what foods to introduce and when, if the child should sleep with parents, what toys the child should have, when to introduce him to television, when to let her outside in the yard alone, how to handle daycare, what type of preschool to select and on and on–now initial decisions made by the two parents can be pushed aside because others are doing something else. It can become the “copy” generation instead of the “let’s evaluate and discuss” generation.
PLAN, DISCUSS and DECIDE
What’s the solution? Privacy. And I’m not referring to parents who are purposefully harming their children–doing things to them that are worthy of imprisonment–and thus trying to hide it. I’m just talking about a man and a woman who love each other and who sit together and discuss, plan, and decide how they will parent–or sometimes ask their own parents for advice. And know that you will alter and change as your parenting journey unfolds.
The major character in the novel I am completing gives an emotional speech at one point–about the interference that a horrible act perpetrated on her daughter and what it can do to her ability to just breath, to go on living. She doesn’t want to hear about another case, another parent who is suffering as she is. When we bring a child into the world, we deserve the privacy of loving that child and raising that child the best way that we can.
“I don’t want to hear about anyone else. Don’t tell me about anyone else. I’m sick of hurt and sorrow. It’s a private thing, raising a child. So private. I loved Sarah and protected her from the world…” from ON STRANGE GROUND
THE NEGATIVES OF SHARING
I have written before about the now common thread in our society to SHARE! The word share is a kind word, a loving word, but it can have very deleterious effects on people. We have to draw lines and preserve privacy. It’s just not smart to SHARE so much of our lives on the Internet. Or if we are asking for help or seeking advice, there are ways to then move to a more private way of getting that information. Caution should go along with sharing.
OUR BOOMER GENERATION? WE DONE GOOD!
And a final thought for those reading this who are aging parents–don’t deny what you have accomplished. Don’t let the changes in parenting make you question the decisions that you made. I wrote about this previously in a post, RAISING KANE: HOW PARENTHOOD CHANGES. And it does, generation to generation. But there was little my mother did with me that I objected to and now I will uphold all the decisions I made in my own parenting. Why? Because If I made mistakes, they were not intentional–everything I did for my children I did with love.
Yes, society changes, it gets tweaked, but the basic concept of loving and caring for a child doesn’t change. My grandmother was home all day with her children, but she also raised chickens for food, sewed clothing for her four children and maintained a clean house. She didn’t have time to play games with them, but she read to them every night. My mother went to work when I was in the seventh grade, so often I started dinner, folded laundry and always assisted in cleaning the house. When my mother came home–we were hers. When I was raising 3 children, I took care of my house and made all the meals, helped with homework and drove my children to extracurricular experiences–but they had chores and responsibility. I think that’s good and I admire women who today work full-time and set up the chore list. It helps build character and responsibility.
So moms-with-kids reading this–don’t change what you think is right because someone on FB is doing it differently. Don’t SHARE all your parenting skills. If you have special ones, then write a book instead. Let someone read and decide if they need to change what they are doing. Hold close to your heart much of your parenting journey and teach your children that some things are okay to SHARE, but others belong in what my mother would call “the bosom of the family.” Keep elements of your family history close to the heart where private matters should stay.
Thanks to: tabularasaisbr.blogspot.com and www.piedmontdisputeresolution.org