Recently my dear younger sister, who is eight years younger than me, and doesn’t have her own kids yet, was trying to give me some parenting advice. I don’t remember now what it was, but I do remember that it did not go over well with me.
“Just wait until you have your own kids!” I snapped at her, “You’re a perfect parent, before you have kids!”
She was a little taken aback, and I apologized later for getting snippy with her, but she also acknowledged that she really has no place giving me parenting advice.
I know where she’s coming from though, I did the exact same thing before I had kids.
Before I had kids, I was a perfect parent.
Before I had kids, I knew that my kids would be well-behaved — not throw tantrums in public, sit quietly and appropriately in restaurants, and generally be all around good-natured and well adjusted kids. All because I parented them the “right” way, of course.
I would give them the right amount of structure, discipline, and love. They would know their limits, and what the consequences were if those limits were overstepped. And I, of course, would enforce those limits swiftly and consistently.
Ah, it was all so perfect in my head. What wonderful children and a happy life I would have.
Ha! And then the dream came crashing down on me — I had kids of my own!
And it was NOTHING like I had envisioned in my head.
Four and a half years, and two kids later, (which I also understand that I am still very new to this!) if I have learned anything, it’s that every family is different, every child is different, and most importantly there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
There is no perfect formula that will lead to the perfect child. We’re all just trying to figure it out as we go.
And we all need all the help, support and encouragement, not unwanted advice, that we can get!
Did you dream of how perfect your kids would be, before you had kids? Have you ever received unwanted parenting advice from someone who wasn’t even a parent themselves?