The debate about which parenting style is the best for kids is nothing new. So many moms are guilty of judging or criticizing other moms and the way they parent their kids. Helicopter, attachment, free-range, tiger… the list goes on. This mom watches her kids too much, this one not enough, that one pushes her kids too far, while that one seems to let her kids drift. Observing what other parents do is a strange experience because we often have a hard time imagining ourselves parenting the way that they do.
We spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the craft that is our personal parenting style, right? Does an opposing parenting style mean that I’m doing something wrong? Here’s the thing – the range of parenting styles is incredibly broad and diverse; kids are raised with major differences, particularly differences from my finely researched and honed skills. And you know what else? Most kids will end up just fine.
I learned this painful lesson while my daughter was in elementary school. I was on the committee to put together a classroom basket for our school’s silent auction fundraiser. We had decided on an arts and crafts themed basket, and there were a few of us coordinating the efforts to solicit donations and get everything together. I am decidedly a type-A personality, so I had a timeline, to-do list, and deadlines for the whole process. I went about my tasks daily, proudly checking items off my list rapid-fire, such a great example for my daughter, right? On the day we needed to turn it in, the committee was to meet at noon to assemble the basket with the items we had gathered and make it look fantastic. At around 11:45 I start getting calls and texts from one committee member, Christie, who is out of breath while running in and out of stores trying to remember what she was supposed to get. She had a horrible morning with a sick dog, someone left the freezer door ajar overnight so the contents had begun dripping all over her kitchen floor, blah, blah, blah.
Are you kidding me? I have worked diligently to produce this basket in the most efficient way possible, and she is running around 15 minutes before it’s due? Amazingly, she manages to get to the school, albeit 10 minutes late, with absolutely everything she needed. The basket was a success. As the school year went on, I noticed that this is how she is all the time: rushed, frantic, hectic, disorganized, and a little over-excited. How could she possibly manage her family of a husband and three kids like this? And then I got to know her kids. They were fine… no, actually, they were thriving.