The annoying ‘you shoulds’ of how to parent

I hate to rant, but I am going to. Are you as sick as I am of parents telling you how to parent, and/or what your kids ‘should’ be doing? As an unschooler, the random shit I hear parents say sometimes disgusts me ( the ignorant or insulting comments) and at other times I am at a complete loss for words.

My husband had a bad day today, and sadly did not back me up when our neighbors began to comment on what we ‘should’ do with Kaya. They were polite, and I wish them well, but they also hit their kids, so I don’t think they really have a right to tell me what is best, and even if they didn’t, it’s still impolite.

Basically, they told me how kids at a VERY young age need to be with other kids, literally 24/7. This topic came up when my sensitive near 3 year old began crying when a 5 year old took her ball and refused to give it back. They were both playing well until this point. I consoled kaya, asked her if she wanted to leave and go home ( and nurse) and she said no: she really wanted that ball. One of the moms with me went on about how normal this is ( which it is) but that she hits her kids when they do it ( now, this is a very deep cultural thing here, and she even acknowledged this and that she has been told by her Western peers that this is not the way to parent). She then went on about how she had her eldest around kids 24/7 when he was an only child, so that he would get used to sharing and such, and just socialized in general. My husband made a comment that pissed me off and was not only inaccurate, but that I found insulting as it basically put Kaya and I down. She is sensitive, and and she isn’t even 3 yet. This comment was based on him having had a bad day, but it nonetheless left me feeling insulted.

We should not have to appologize for our toddlers or babies acting like babies. I am speaking to the choir to unschoolers, but I feel compelled to reiterate this over and over. Sharing is not something kids are beaten into understanding and doing. This takes time, and gets easier the older they get.

The whole ‘homeschoolers are antisocial’ is a fucking bad joke. What, they aren’t desensitized like they should be? They emote? They are more intelligent? I heard Gatto talk about how parents basically give their kids up for adoption, when they send them for schools for most of the day, then playgroups, sports, study groups, choir, church camps, and God knows how many other social things they do. HOW OFTEN TO PEOPLE ACTUAL SEE THEIR KIDS? And how much of that time is quality?

My girl has played with other children, and gradually. I never forced her, I brought her with me to the cafe in Korea and she would meet kids there, or in the park at our school. This is enough for her, and therefore enough for me. I do not need her to be raised by strangers or by other children. And if I tried to do this, my empathic little girl would become a wreck.

If you have a chance, read the book Embraced By The Light. It is a very uplifting book, and very interesting, but it goes over the child abuse of a girl she was fostering and had to give up to the adoptive parents. The little baby was devistated; the author was her mother to her, and she too was in love with the baby. When she was with the new adoptive parents, she would not stop crying, and they began to abuse her. They eventually abandoned her  ( in bad condition) at a hospital, and the foster mom was contacted and told what had happened. She had not recovered from losing her foster child, her heart as well as the baby was broken. She got on the plane, determined she would find a way to adopt the girl. The doctors told the social worker involved that they did not think the girl would survive because it was obvious she wanted to only be with the foster mom; thank goodness, the author used this to convince the courts to give her her baby.

I mention this because humans try to control children, to dictate their destiny. Some kids are more sensitive then others, some are more relaxed. I personally dealt with abuse when at several babysitters’ houses, but when I complained it was written off that I was ‘over sensitive’. Again, adults feel they can determine how a child should feel, and what is ‘reality’. This leads to destroyed adults.

Let’s break that pattern. Let’s give our kids all our love, and tell society it is full of it, because it is. It’s a broken, dysfunctional insane mess. Don’t add to it.

To learn more about memetics and why society is as screwed up as it is, read the Virus of The Mind. I really can’t recc that book enough; I feel it is imperative that one reads it.


About Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley

Writer, Blog Coach, and Digital Strategist based in Thailand. Wellness fan. Gamer.
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6 Responses to The annoying ‘you shoulds’ of how to parent

  1. Stuart says:

    I’d recommend giving Susan Blackmore’s book The Meme Machine a go as well if you are into studying memes.
    She has another interesting concept she talks about online called temes or tremes which is mind blowing.

    My partner has never commented like that but there are times when she questions the validity of what we are doing (she is the breadwinner in our family and out all day) and that can really sting.

    This blog post was a journey!
    It covered a lot of ground 🙂

    • Hey Stuart! I can’t wait to check that out; I have heard of bemes but not tremes. Once I started Virus of The Mind, my view of society and myself totally changed. Now I really question what we are, how much of us is just programing. Have you read the Holographic Universe??

  2. Marilia says:

    I´ll try to find these books. Your blog is really awesome and parenting criticism sucks, even more comming from people doing what we consider wrong (like hitting) and we are not preaching about how to do things. I had a hard time back home with this, where friends have more closeness to give me shit about my ways.

    I had people tell me to put my 3-year old in time-out, to hit her, to yell and make sure she understood how disapointed I was at her behavior…

    • Thank you so much for the kind words!! It’s sad that people have this mentality towards children, as thought they are second class citizens. My mom gave me shit too, as do some friends, and I just don’t talk to the ones that kept doing it. My mom has come around a little, seeing how our daughter is ‘different’ and what we do works for her and for us.

  3. Michelle says:

    So true. My children are sensitive too…and they want to be with me. It’s a harder concept over here in Asia where children are more….more…independent, I guess you could say.

    Where the breastfeeding rate is 99% right out of the hospital but is 25% at 6 months and 2 % beyond a year. REALLY!

    But yes, my little ones want to be near me. I went to church a couple weeks ago and went ot check out the nurseries, where I usually am with my 3 and 15 month old. She told me about how to drop them off (which I dont do) and that if they cry for more than 20 minutes they get the parents. I almost cried myself. And I’m not exaggerating. My DH asked me in the car if I was okay.

    • It’s so sad that breastfeeding has declined so much; the kids will be the ones suffering for parents deciding to listen to society and how it views breasts and extended nursing. I was nursing Ky in Korea and people were very respectful, but I still did it mainly at home as I got enough looks already there and developed bad anxiety after my daughter was born. We are still nursing her now that she is 3. I’m the same, re crying, if I am not with my daughter. It is natural and it’s sad how society has pushed families so far apart that parents have somewhat gotten used to being without their kids for hours.

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