Monday, 23 May 2011

Why do we worry so much when it comes to how we raise our kids?

I have pondering this question recently.

Since joining the community of parent bloggers I have recognized that I am the type of parent who takes time over every decision, big and small I make regarding the kids. I discuss things with Oh Daddy so we are on the same page regarding how we are raising the kids. Every new policy that is created, whether it is on fizzy drinks, sinful sweets, or others is agreed upon so that we know that we are raising our kids in a certain way. Raising a child with ASD, where there can be no grey areas has also helped shape our style. Things have to be discussed out of earshot and a united front must be presented. There can be no bickering in front of him, no inkling that there is room for leeway when one parent feels more strongly about a certain issue than the other. This style of parenting suits our respective personalities. Having had such an intensive research experience in study and in work, parenting in this way suits our way of thinking.

This same way of thinking is prevalent in the community of parent bloggers, why else would someone write a blog. I've yet to read a post that said "came home, fed the toddler Supernoodles whilst it watched Family Guy".

Parenting in this style sits well with us but recently I have been questioning this. I have always felt that this was the best way to approach the task of raising our kids. We sweat the small stuff as well as the big. Recently I've been looking at the examples of others around me and perhaps it is different living in a middle class area. There exists a certain amount of peer pressure to have kids in clubs, to have academically good kids and a fair amount of mothers I meet have had careers first and then kids, so the drive and ambition used in their careers becomes channeled into raising their kids. This is completely different from my upbringing. Coming from a council estate outside of Edinburgh where the majority don't appear to sweat this sort of stuff at all.

So it makes me wonder whether we are over thinking something that is essentially very simple? 

Growing up I was surrounded by families who 'made do'. Families who had too many kids for the size of their house, their wage, their nerves. Families who made sure that there kids were clean, out of the door on time, attending school and keeping out of trouble. Kids amused themselves and didn't rely on their parents to provide stimulating activities, resources or exotic experiences. There never seemed to be much thought given to which school the kids would attend, if it was a good school, how many vegetables they would eat, what after school activities they were involved in, whether or not they would go to university. This laid back approach to parenting was the norm. I know families who still live like this and think like this and their kids all seem to be turning out normal and well adjusted, if a little unambitious for my liking.  Is this enough? Is it really that simple?


  1. Great post. I've been pondering this kind of thing lately but not blogging about it quite as well as you have. Bringing up kids does seem to be so challenging, making sure they're in swimming lessons, being consistent with discipline and all the rest we do as mums. I'm a mum who relies on routine. I try not to fit too much into one day as I know that's when I feel most stressed. I know people who think nothing of meeting up at 4pm but I wouldn't because dinner is at 5pm so I need time to get dinner ready.

    In true 'my life' fashion I've been interupted to wipe my daughters bum and lost my train of thought - but love your post x

  2. I think we do worry too much and overthink things. Some of it comes from being educated, working women who suddenly find themselves at home with small children. We want to do this job properly, like any serious career. And so we compete to have our little darlings in all the right classes, eating additive-free home food. I think we should lighten up a bit. In the 1970s we were fed processed food, played on the streets unsupervised and stayed up watching Star Wars far too late while all the responsible adults around us were blotto (or was that just my childhood?) And still we turned out fine. My mum recently commented on me having a second glass of wine while I was looking after the children. I gave her a long, hard stare and reminded her of some of my childhood memories of THOSE parties. She didn't say anything after that.

    The best cure for overthinking parenting is to go back to work. Then you simply have no time to think, and you are forced to go back to a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style of parenting.

    For more tales about this, please have a look at my blog!

  3. Very thought provoking! I've got a draft sitting in my blog that is sort of along these lines. Perhaps now I'll work on it and publish it, with a thanks to you for making me rethink it!

    I am surrounded by pushy parents and I have seen what it does to some kids so I swore I would work hard to balance ambition with laid back. Wow, what a struggle that's been! But so far, I've raised a fairly kind, intelligent, happy daughter so I must be doing something right. ;)

  4. We do worry a lot more i reckon, and a lot of people I've spoken to, who no longer parent these days, admit that things were easier. Having said that, not everyone worries...pros and cons? :)
    It's acompletely different world, with so many advances and distractions. The constant bombardment of confusing parenting advice doesn't help either.
    I don't think it's a bad thing though - to consider things more, just means you care a lot! :)

  5. @ Mrs R: Gee thanks! It's something I wonder about constantly to varying degrees. I thrive on routine and organisation too. Thanks for commenting. xx

  6. @Working Mum: I had a similar experience to you as a child. And as hard as I am on myself my mother never fails to butt in and add something else. My looks of 'I remember my childhood all too well' go straight over her head! I bought a an organic toddler meal to give to Miss B during a luncheon because I knew there would be nothing suitable or filling enough there and I got a lecture on homecooking my toddlers food. Can I just add here that my little sister lived on chicken Super Noodles and pickled onions for seven years!

    Lolz. Thanks for commenting! xx

  7. @Mich: I had a feeling you might. I haven't popped by your blog for a while. Thanks for reminding me! xx

  8. Hi Li-Ling. Just stopped by your blog. It's great. I don't think it's a bad thing either (I wonder if I'll say that in another decade when I've given myself an ulcer!) Thanks for commenting! xx


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