“You need to learn how to control your kids”
That was the comment made about me after the post about my family choosing to not regularly having dinner together went viral. Apparently my two year old having difficulty sitting still is cause for alarm for some people. My parenting and the control I have over my children needs to be called into question.
There’s much I could say here…but the main thing that had me shaking my head was this:
My goal is not to control my kids.
They aren’t robots or animals. They are human beings with thoughts, feelings, emotions and ideas of their own. They aren’t miniature versions of me, they are unique versions of themselves.
I have no right to seek to control them.
Do I teach them? Yes. Obviously. I take teaching my children very seriously, I want them to learn and grow and be able to make their own decisions as they get older.
Do I expect them to obey rules that I’ve put in place for their own safety? Absolutely. But I also teach them why the rules are there so they can learn to make good choices later in life.
I’m not teaching them to merely “obey”. I’m teaching them to make choices, and to learn from them.
Control is not something I’m seeking.
I’m their mama. Not their dictator.
This isn’t some new brand of parenting that allows the children to rule the household while the parents cower in fear. No, my husband and I are in charge. We’re just not in “control”. That word, when directed at my children, makes me twitch. My kids are allowed to be sad. They are allowed to have trouble sitting still. They are allowed to have a bad day. They are not allowed to hurt other people or themselves. They hear the word “no” (quite a lot) and know precisely what it means. Most importantly if they want to know why they are hearing the word “no” we sit and talk about it.
So to the darling commenters who called my parenting into question over our personal family choices… I’m not sorry, and I’m not going to learn to control my kids. Perhaps we are striving for very different things in our parenting. I’m never going to “learn how to control my kids” simply because I don’t want to and I don’t think I need to. Every day I learn how to teach them better, we learn and grow together. It’s not about control, it’s about learning and loving…together. Respecting who they are, even when it is different than me and not expecting them to behave like adults every moment of the day. When at all possible, we laugh together. Sometimes that is impossible. Oftentimes rules must be enforced, but most of the time it’s an effort to work together as we learn together.
Are there phrases like “control your kids” that make you twitch? Share your thoughts in the comments!