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To the Unsolicited Parenting Advice Giver

Someone with only one child who is under 10 and who has no special needs, recently suggested that I alter my parenting approach.  Apparently, this unsolicited advice giver felt that if I just took a moment to understand where my child was coming from and didn’t judge his behavior so negatively, things would be much more copacetic in my world.  I managed to stifle my laughter long enough to say something like “I’ll give that some thought.”  Later I called one of my good friends who like me, has 4 kids some with special needs, and the two of us laughed so hard that I almost peed on myself.

I too was a parenting expert when I only had one child.  I read the books and bought into all the parenting advice in People Magazine.  But now, three children later, I am much less of an expert and more of a survivor.  Some days, the house looks like a war zone and it is all I can do to make sure the kids are fed something edible and get to school.  Don’t ask me to try to provide psychoanalysis as well.

To be quite frank, many times I don’t give a rat’s ass where my children are coming from.  I used to, but now who has the time? When I ask you to empty the dishwasher, empty the damn dishwasher.  It’s not rocket science.   If you had a bad day or are not feeling heard, I’m sorry.  That sucks for you.  But the dishwasher still has to be emptied and I’m not doing it.  I already do enough around the house.

I am happy to sit down with my children and have a loving exchange about feelings but not until the frickin’ dishwasher is empty.  I am really tired of the idea that our children always have to be happy.  Life is hard.  We all have to do things we don’t want to or don’t like. Sometimes your team loses…even if they lose by 100 points, the other team doesn’t owe you a pass.  Put on your big girl/boy pants and suck it up.

Let me add that not all children are the same and do not respond the same way to the same approach.   Some children are more difficult than others.  It is what it is. Please don’t assume because I don’t do the feelings nonsense now, it is not something I didn’t try in the past with no success.  It didn’t work with any of my children.

But I know my children and I know what does work.  I can just look funny at one child, and tears will follow.  Another one of my kids not only won’t respond to a look, he won’t respond to screaming, crying or the taking away of his electronics.  You know what makes the biggest impact on him when he’s in trouble?  Being sent to his room.  He hates being alone.  One of my kids loves being sent to her room.  “I’ll gladly go to my room, I can read for hours there uninterrupted.”  She however, can’t stand to lose her laptop because not being able to play Minecraft while Skyping with her bestie would cause her to have multiple seizures.

I have tried all kinds of parenting tactics.  I have seen what does and what doesn’t work.  I know my children well.  I assure you I know them better than the unsolicited advice giver does.  And to the unsolicited advice giver I say, if you want to have a debate about who’s turn it is to empty the dishwasher every time you ask, be my guest.  I won’t judge you.  My dishwasher is empty.

P.S. NaBloPoMoW8Lo Stalled at the scale this morning but I did lose a pound yesterday so I will not be negative.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and my weight loss won’t be either.


4 thoughts on “To the Unsolicited Parenting Advice Giver

  1. My daughter, an only child, was almost 17 years old when I started dating Mike. He had three teens – one a year older than Faith, one a year younger, and one two years younger. It was definitely culture shock! He tells me (and says this came from Bill Cosby) that you aren’t a “real” parent with only one child – you always know who to blame. Although I think I did a pretty good job raising one child, I believe I would have been an abysmal failure with 4 kids! Congratulations on being a survivor!

  2. “Let me add that not all children are the same and do not respond the same way to the same approach.” Amen. If you can laugh at the unsolicited advice, you are doing well. I have had many a hearty chuckle myself. You are an amazing mom, and no one who has not walked a mile (or spent 24 hours) in your shoes knows anything about how to parent your children.

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