I wouldn’t say I’m much of a worrier but when I was pregnant with Reuben I did get the odd pang of worry. What would he be like? What if he gets into trouble when he’s older? What if he gets bullied? That kind of thing, but it rarely crosses my mind these days. Having said that, we’ve been on holiday this week (a gorgeous little cottage in the Scottish Boarders and 10m from the beach), which has given me time to read and think. There’s two things I’m mulling over at the moment and they are related to parenting styles. So I thought I’d do a bit more mulling on here (forgive me).
Exhausting Parenting Style
The first parenting style is from this really interesting article from Tuesday’s Times (don’t you love being on holiday so you can read the paper? In this case, Mike read it and then made me read this article): “Exhausted by parenting? It’s all your own fault“. The basic premise is that we put far too much pressure on ourselves to have happy children, the kid knows we are trying too hard so plays on this (ever walked into the room where your child is happily playing and they promptly start crying for you? Yep, me too!), and overall it’s exhausting. I can relate!
Now before you go all “why wouldn’t I try hard to have happy children” on me. Of course we all want happy children! But equally we need to remember that we aren’t and can’t be responsible for someone else’s happiness. I’ve learnt this in recent years about myself – I can’t look to others to make me happy, I need to look within. And, perhaps this is a better lesson I could be teaching my little dictator, rather than rushing to his side every time he’s frustrated! I dunno, I think I probably need to read the book the article was talking about…All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood. Sounds fascinating – one for the reading list!
It also said we should be putting our partner’s needs before our children. Can you imagine?!
Cultivation Parenting Style
The other idea I’ve been looking at is in the book I’m reading at the moment: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. He has been describing for the past chapter how it doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you weren’t brought up in a certain parenting style you are seriously going to struggle to be successful. He calls it Concerted Cultivation. This is the active participation of your parents in your life to help you develop your natural talents and give you a sense of entitlement – so the parents who are ferrying the kids from one class to another all weekend…they are participating in Concerted Cultivation.
I haven’t finished the chapter yet but already I’m wondering if there is a happy medium between Concerted Cultivation and not being exhausted!
I feel like Reuben is already at a disadvantage being an August baby. Physically and mentally he will be a whole year younger than some of his classmates, which could affect everything from his enjoyment of sports to how quickly he picks up reading to how much he enjoys studying. I worry about this and it is a completely arbitrary disadvantage purely because of the month he was born in. 2 weeks later and he’d be the oldest in his year…I have no conclusion yet but I thought I’d think it through here to see what you think!
Do you know what your parenting style will be? And what are your big parenting worries?! Please leave your comments below, I love to hear what you think xxx