Want to nail parenting? Just follow a few basic rules. That should be easy, right?
I love rules.
I cross at the lights. I secure my phone in my bag when I get into the car so I am not ever tempted even a bit. And my kids always, always do all their homework.
Rules and me work well together.
So when I began this parenting gig I just assumed I would follow the rules. That would make it easy right?
The thing is, I tried. I really did, right from the start. But what I have learnt over the course of eight years and three kids is that parenting rules are made to be broken.
Parenting rules are there to give you the illusion of structure and harmony before you decide to procreate. They lure you in.. this is gonna be a cinch.. then once you are in deep. Wham. Chaos descends.
The problem is that once broken a cloud of unliftable guilt descends regarding that rule you have crossed. A fog of fear and horror that you have done the unthinkable.
Caused “considerable long term damage.”
And yet despite the damage caused, I continue to break them, daily.
1. Don’t bribe your kids.
They tell you that if you bribe your kids, they will end up expecting a reward for everything. Carrying their own school bag will cost you a dollar. Putting on their shoes will be three jelly snakes and a bag of pretzels.
By the time they are 16 you will paying out more than you earn just to get them to school on time.
Now I know bribing my kids isn’t the greatest parenting tool in the box, but here’s the thing: With three small kids sometime you struggle just to get downstairs in the morning. I can hardly envisage the next day let alone the day they turn 16.
At the moment I am all about short-term success. If a couple of gold coins and a bag of Tiny Teddies does the trick then I am happy to be the FIFA of parenting.
2. Stick to a routine.
I tried, but it went wrong. No one actually told my kids there was routine involved with being a three-month old.
Surely as your child is born someone should pass on this important fact so that the routine you plan out can be adhered to by all and those crazy newborns don’t keep waking up wanting to be fed.
3. Let them fail.
I’m a big supporter of this, the idea being that by always rescuing your kids you never teach them resilience.
But am I alone in thinking it’s great in practice, not so great in reality.