22 hours ago
Monday, September 29, 2008
When my son was just a toddler, I had an invaluable parenting lesson. We were eating a meal with several people, some we were close to and some we weren't. A man who really had no business instructing my son, told my son to finish his glass of milk before he was allowed to leave the table. Now, I was relatively new at this parenting thing and I allowed this man to badger my son while I was steaming inside. It all had to do with me wanting to be respectful of this older man and really not knowing how to gracefully reassert myself as the parent.
The episode eventually ended and upon reflection, I vowed to never allow my children to be put in that position again. I was the parent, and I don't care if somebody disappoves of my decision... it's my decision to make. I will let my son leave the table without finishing his milk, if I choose. What a stand!
It seems like a no brainer, but it's not easy for some of us people pleasers to face the disapproval of others, especially if we admire and respect them.
Each family has their own values, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
When we moved here, we were pleased that mass transit would be available for our girls. They would have a bit of freedom to come and go, all for the price of bus fare. We were excited that they would get to go to the city and explore a bit. Another family was shocked that we would allow our teenage daughter to go in by herself and meet a friend. For a moment I wanted to smooth the peace, be the people pleaser and explain my decision to them. To us, it's perfectly acceptable and even desired that our kids do that. But I just stood quietly by our decision.
And guess who went into the city again on a bus? Yep, my daughters. And they loved their adventure. And I loved their growing sense of independence.