What kind of parent? First, what kind of person?

These two can get along, so why not the children? ... asked the non-parent.
These two can get along, so why not the children? … asked the non-parent.

My friend Samira wrote in her blog, mamasfeet (tagline: Join me through the journey of parenthood. Beware: There is no escape hatch.) asking What kind of parent are you?

Her children are small – a baby, one potty training and one finished – and I am so, so grateful to be far past that stage. When we worked together, her children were not yet born, so I only know them from pictures from afar (Houston and now Iran).

I was truly struck by one comment of hers: “In fact I plan on incorporating some new concepts I learned about to help authoritarian moms, like myself, get their point across without creating a disconnect.”

That was so not me. I considered my childhood strict, and while I wasn’t going to go flower child backwards, I’ll say my standards were relaxed a bit. No, the in-laws did not always seem to like the results, but my feeling on that was, “I live with these people, you don’t.”

So anyway, here’s what I told Samira. Feel free to chime in, and please do visit her blog as well:

I am so intrigued, and I say this without judgment, that you call yourself an authoritarian mom. For various reasons I was not that way, and I am interested in knowing how this acknowledgment of your own desire to continue that path will play out as your three blossom. (Please, please take that in love; I think you know that is what I mean.)

Yes, you want them to have the best of you, but that requires that you not lose yourself. So many of us put ourselves on hold while our children grow and it does not need to be that way.

My babies are nearly 20 and 21, girl and boy, and I am blessed they remain under my roof. Maddening though it is sometimes that we raised them to be independent thinkers, I would not change that. And my advice to any parent boils down to this: Pick your battles. Choose what is important to you, stand by it, and let the rest wash past you. In the process, your child learns your values, and that is the best gift we can offer.

One thought on “What kind of parent? First, what kind of person?

  1. Sorry for making you write a post 😉 I also came from a childhood where my parents were strict. And to give them credit, I think they were just more scared being immigrants and having children in a totally different environment, that they felt control would keep us safer. Although I labeled myself as an authoritarian, I certainly don’t enjoy being that way. But I find it so hard to relinquish that control. I find it so hard to let go and teach my kids by just playing and getting dirty (Even when I try, I’m already getting stressed thinking of the mess to follow).

    I know I have to ease up and let my kids be kids, or else they will go further from me and I’ll lose them. But I want to change, and I plan on trying some new parenting techniques using play as a teaching method. Wish me luck!


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