Saturday, November 22, 2014

Am I too Strict of a Parent?

I've always been cognizant of how I raise Sidekick.  It started the day we came home from the hospital when I insisted that he only sleep in his crib in his room and when I started his bedtime routine when he was four weeks old (I believe both of those made him a great sleeper from day one.  He was sleeping 12-13 hours straight at nine weeks old). I expect to hear "please", "thank you", and "sorry" when appropriate and without being prompted.  I expect him to sit at the table and eat his meals and snacks, no grazing or roaming around with food.  I keep him on a tight schedule, and I don't ever blow off naps and only "break" his bedtime for special occasions.  I do not tolerate whining or yelling from him, and I expect him to be a good, respectful boy with no exceptions.  There are consequences for bad behavior. He doesn't get sweets very often (heck, he's only had ice cream about five times and juice two times in his 28 months of life).  I expect him to be courteous to other people, especially when we meet someone for the first time.  I expect him to walk people to the door when they are leaving our house and to say "good-bye".  He typically only watches TV 20 minutes a day, and that is before he goes to bed.  (Yes, sometimes I've allowed more, especially on the weekends if we are watching a move because we'll watch half of the movie one night and the other half another night).  Ugh!  I just reread this paragraph, and I feel like a drill sergeant!  He's not even 2 1/2 years old, but do I expect too much out of him?  Am I too strict?

I see so many kids having so many (too many?) privileges, and it really bothers me.  I see so many kids with bad behaviors, and I can't stand it.  I see so many kids with poor manners and/or are disrespectful, and that is a huge pet peeve of mine. I hear about and/or see very young kids, many of whom are Sidekick's age, watching hours of TV a day, playing on iPads constantly, and being so spoiled.  It makes me reevaluate my parenting and makes me think that I might suck as a parent.  But at the same time, I don't see a point in Sidekick watching more than 20 minutes of TV a day, I see no point in letting him have free access to my iPad (or even the privilege of playing with it more than every once in a while... that thing is MINE!), and I definitely don't spoil him (birthdays, holidays, etc.) and I never will.  (I cannot justify spending 100s of dollars for Christmas, but many of my friends and family do.)  I walk into a house that has been taken over by toys, and my stomach churns when I see that the kids have EVERYTHING they could possibly want and then some.  I see kids controlling their parents and their parents giving in to them.  I don't want to be able to plug Sidekick into any of those scenarios that really get under my skin. I am avoiding all of that like the plague while I actually have control of him and what he does. 

When it comes to things like raising Sidekick, I am happy that I am a single Mom because I get to make all of the rules and there is no husband to break or bend them.  I can only imagine the fights and discussions that ensue when it comes to dual parenting with regards to everything about which I have written. I've heard from friends how they say/do something that affects their kid(s), and the spouse changes it.  The kid(s) know(s) how to play off one another, and that has to be difficult for both parents and for their marriage. 

But I digress... am I too rigid?  Am I not allowing Sidekick to experience everything that life offers him? Am I a mean parent?  Some people criticize me that I am too strict on him, but at the same time, I look at my respectful, happy, silly, smart boy and wonder if there is such as thing as being too strict to where it is detrimental to his life.  I don't consider myself strict, but my goal as a parent is to raise a happy, respectful, kind, successful (whatever success means to him), respected man, and I believe that starts at this age.  Sidekick definitely doesn't act like he is almost 2 1/2, so I don't treat him like he's almost 2 1/2.  I've always talked to him like I talk to any adult.  My mom reminded me the other day that even though he doesn't act his age, he is living in the body and emotional brain of his age.  It's a good reminder when I get frustrated on the off chance that he is having a rough time and fighting me on something.  He can be stubborn like his Momma and defiant (like the donor... I like to blame him sometimes- ha!) 

Is it necessary to play on an iPad and watch a lot of TV?  Should I be giving him more gifts for his birthday and holidays?  Do I expect too much out of Sidekick?  Do I suck at being a parent?

To be honest (and don't kill me), I don't find parenting that difficult and I never have.  Don't get me wrong, I have moments when I want to hang myself or lock Sidekick in a closet because I'm at my wits end, but overall, parenting is easy for me.  Is it because I am so "strict"?  Am I just lucky to have such a good boy?  Was it a perfect blend of sperm and egg?  Is it a combination of all?  Is this all going to backfire when he gets older, and I'll all of a sudden have a hellion on my hands?

But seriously, I really wonder if I am not being a fair parent and if Sidekick is missing out on things. When I think of the boy he is, he is better than anything I had ever thought he would be.  He is kinder, smarter, funnier, and happier than ever imagined he would be. So I must not be screwing up too much, right?  If that's the case, then why am I questioning things?


  1. I just stumbled on your blog and I would love to say are not too strict. You are a diamond in a pile of stones. My sons are 31 and 29 and were raised in much the same way. They were (are) respectable, intelligent and don't rely on "things" to entertain themselves. My oldest son is raising his 2 children much the same way and they are fun to be around. As sidekick get older, the benefits of how he is being raised will become more and more evident. Keep up the great work and don't second guess what you are doing. BTW.....he is gorgeous!!!

  2. I don't see any of this as being too strict, I follow pretty much the same things in my home (though a little more TV, but only educational shows).

    I have seen a few situations were parents are too strict in my teaching experience, but it truly is where a parent is constantly expecting perfection 24/7 (ie why did my child get a 95% instead of a 100% on that one minor assignment).

    I think it is so important for kids to learn how to behave in the real world as early as possible. Manners are expected, and I talk to him to explain things ahead of time to prepare him. I promote independence, helpfulness, and problem solving whenever I can. I also find parenting to be fairly easy majority of the time, that is not to say we don't have our moments that he is a typical naughty almost 2.5 year old! I think you and I were lucky that we also ended up with somewhat easy going kiddos too!