Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Art of Raising Children

Guest Post by

If there’s one subject guaranteed to get most people’s goat it’s got to be the thorny talking point that is parenthood. Of course, you can moan about your children to your heart’s content, but woe betide anyone else who deigns to criticise or merely pass comment on your child-rearing conundrums.

You may well be unleashing a torrent of trivia about your tiny tot and divulging every detail of a current concern but that doesn't mean you actually want anyone else’s input let alone their advice. A comment from a well-meaning family member or friend who tries to impart the benefit of their wisdom is likely to be met with narrowed eyes and flared nostrils.

It’s often advisable to remember not to offer your advice to parents when they are complaining about their little ones. Just act as a receptacle for the moaning and mollycoddling and try not to look too distant or disinterested. Imagine how those long-suffering health professionals must feel being on the receiving end of a scorned parent, unhappy with some unwanted advice.

Unfortunately, a criticism of your child does feel like a criticism of you and very often a seemingly throwaway remark can feel like it has a sting in the tail. A thinly veiled criticism can easily be disguised as an observation. Whether your mother-in-law feels the need to divulge her disagreement with you on some aspect of your child-rearing choices, or an acquaintance can’t help but congratulate herself on her own motherly accomplishments, then the casual observation somehow feels like an insult. If you question the intention behind the comment, then the observer can feign mock horror at your absurd sensitivity.

After all, whether we intend it or otherwise, our children are an extension of us until they are old enough to state their own independence – a day many of us secretly dread. If a father chooses to wear something in a Fred Perry pastel shade, then you can almost guarantee that the son will be seen sporting a gothic get-up. You spend your life defending your child-rearing choices from the critical gaze of onlookers, only to end up on the receiving end of daily criticism from the very children who you defended – a perfect example of Catch 22!

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