About common parenting and common sense

Here is a fun fact about parenting. We are all experts in this field.  We know exactly how to be the parents who raise great kids. We don’t think about how we are going to deal with their tantrums, picky eating or low grades. We don’t plan for our sleepless nights or exhaustion, because these are not the things that are supposed to be our problems. We know what we are doing and we are going to show the world, and our own parents, what real parenting is about. And then, ready for everything and anything, armed with books and good intentions, we become moms and dads, just to realize that we’ve been ready for nothing. Who would imagine that our child hates broccoli and cleaning up  and loves computer games more than spelling games? Yet, however we try to deny it, this is our reality.  We can either accept that our children have taken us a little by surprise and let them be picky, rude and lazy, or we can admit that we are far from experts in parenting and humbly agree to take corrective measures. Perhaps it is the challenges of parenting that have taken us by surprise and we should revisit our parenting goals and techniques, before it’s too late. In other words, if it’s important to us that our child is respectful to other people, we can’t tolerate them disobeying  their teachers. If we want a child with integrity, we can’t let them cheat on games. If we want a diligent student, then why do we do their homework?

There are no experts in parenting. Even the parenting book authors have their questions and dilemmas. In parenting there is no one-fit-all guidebook or a miracle help line with 100% effective solutions. Instead, there is a lot of trial and error, plus constant adjustments. But at the same time, parenting is not a rocket science. It is not a science in the first place. People have been raising kids for ever and many of those kids turned out really well without Kumon, ADHD treatment and  ballet classes at the age of three. They turned out well, because their parents raised them with love and common sense. Why is this combination such a rare beast these days? Are we so afraid of losing that pricy spot in some elite school that we have lost our parenting instincts altogether? No worries. Thanks to us driving our kids from class to class and driving ourselves crazy, our child’s place in the best school in town will be guaranteed.  The only spot our child will miss, will be at the school of life. But who cares?  None of our friends and fellow parents worries about it either.

Common has become a new normal.  Big kids ride around in strollers as if they couldn’t walk, tired parents serve as play-mates in the park full of kids, veggies are taboo… I am not trying to criticize anybody. Rather, I am trying to provide some food for thought for everybody, myself included.  Until recently I was cutting my son’s apple into wedges, because it was easier for him and less mess for me. And then it dawned on me: my son has teeth for a reason!

Common is not normal. Common is easy and contagious. Common is an excuse. I might sound old-fashioned, but as a parent I’d rather stick to normal. My children deserve it. In other words, it’s the school of life for my kids. How about yours?



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