So — there I was minding my own business, when all of a sudden I stumbled upon a parenting article written by Mayim Bialik. If you aren’t familiar with her name, you might know her from the movie Beaches and the TV show Blossom. She wrote a blog post which caught my attention; Why I don’t don’t force my kids to say ‘please’ or walk on schedule.
What? She doesn’t make her kids say please? But why? I was immediately sucked in and began to read.
I read a lot about parenting
Now, I have read a lot of parenting books, blogs, and the like. If I’m going to be 100% honest, I’ll tell you that some of it confuses the heck out of me. One book says to do things one way, and another says the complete opposite. So I take what I think is helpful and I leave the rest by the wayside — or lock it up my subconscious to pull out at a later date if needed.
Right after reading Mayim’s post, I thought to myself “Well, there is absolutely nothing I will take away from that article!”
What my parenting style is NOT
I knew even before the boys were born, that attachment parenting was not for me. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with it — it’s just not my style. I’m sure there are some fantastic attachment parenting — twin parents out there, but I am not one of them. It’s hard enough to get sleep with one newborn but if you are demand feeding, co-sleeping and sling wearing twins, triplets or more? That could be tough. Plus, I have yet to see a comfortable sling for twin parents. Does this look comfortable to anyone here? You decide…
In relation to the slow parenting — I honestly don’t have the patience for it. I promise that I am working on taking it down a notch. I’m not a hyper scheduler or type A personality which helps, but it is hard! As I’ve mentioned before my kids dawdle like crazy!
Another thing that I just can’t get on-board with, is not reminding your kids to be polite and that includes sharing. Sorry Mayim, if I see you in the park and your kids want to play with something my kids have — my children will be asked by me, to share with your kids. I don’t care if your kids share or not, but mine will. I will always encourage my children to say please and thank you; just as my Mom and my grandparents encouraged me to. It’s polite. People who go out of their way do to nice things or give you something, deserve to be thanked. It’s common courtesy. If you are a courteous individual, you will be successful in whatever you do, because people appreciate being appreciated.
Some people have said that Mayim’s methods are extreme. While I don’t think her style would work for me I, wouldn’t say she’s extreme. Would one say that the Amish are extreme? Probably not, they just live simply and Mayim parents simply (though I wouldn’t think it would be simple at all. It sounds like a lot more work to me). In other words, she parents organically — meaning she goes with the natural flow and follows her children’s ques. You will not find any TV watching, Leapfrog game systems, or other automated learning toys. I honestly don’t know how she does it. She notes that she still nurses her her 2yr old on demand; which includes feeding every two hours during the night. Wow! I think Moms who breastfeed are the bomb! I wasn’t able to – but I have much respect for those who do – but every 2 hours? That has got to be messing with everyone’s REM sleep.
After reading Mayim’s article it got me thinking, “What is my parenting style?”
My parenting style
For one thing, I need my sleep too much to do what she does. Maybe that makes me selfish, but I am a much more patient mom – and all around better person – when I have had enough rest. That’s why it was important for me to develop a routine (or some will call it sleep training) for the twins. I am happy to report that they are no worse for the wear. In fact, they are excellent sleepers (like their momma). At almost 4 years old, they still take a 1-2hr nap everyday — and no, it doesn’t have any impact on how they sleep at night. The boys were sleeping through the night (6hrs) without waking up at around 3 months old. They did have one very late feeding around 11pm — and then would sleep until 5 or 6am. I had them on a sleep – eat – wake schedule and it worked beautifully for us. It wasn’t too strict but it was a routine that helped all three of us get through our day.
I guess my parenting involves a mixture of things. I’m not really a natural parent but I there are some things that might be considered natural parenting – like making all of the boys’ baby food – but then there are other things – like using disposable diapers – that would cancel that out. I do let my kids watch TV but I limit what and how much they watch. PBS is our best friend because of the educational programming; minus the commercials.
I am probably more overprotective than I should be; I’m trying to loosen up a bit now that they are getting older. I do worry about them getting hurt or something bad happening to them if they are out of my sight. I am working on not hovering though. I am starting to realize that if they use scissors and cut themselves, they’ll probably be more careful next time. So if I warn them not to do something several times and they just keep doing it, that must mean they need to learn the hard way, to get it to sink in. It makes me sad when my children get hurt, disappointed, or upset but it’s just part of life. I try to remind myself that orotecting them from everything is not only impossible, it also won’t allow them to gain life skills they need to survive in the world. Again, this is something I am working on.
I do use time-outs, I don’t spank my children, and on occasion — I have been know to yell to try to get their attention. Which by the way, rarely works.
I guess there isn’t really a label for my parenting style — or even Mayim’s for that matter. We are both moms, who are following our own instincts. We both love our children and want them to be happy and well adjusted. We are both working hard to encourage and support our children so they can live their best life.
Even though she and I parent differently, I did take away something from her article — that I should back off a little. I need to step away, take a deep breath, and let the boys play and explore without intruding on their natural learning. When they are fighting instead of just “fixing” whatever is happening, I should allow them to work it out (ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, but the crying and whining can be really hard to listen to).
There are a lot of things I’ll keep the same. I’ll still always remind them to share and of course, to say please and thank you.
So what is your parenting style?