Thursday, February 13, 2014

Granny’s Common Sense Approach to Parenting: 101

 Good morning! Recently I’ve been seeing the interwebz flooded with about a million different articles covering all these different parenting styles, philosophies, and concerns over whether we, as parents, should beat ourselves up or not be so hard on ourselves. All the contradictions and finger-pointing gets my brain churning and bubbling, turning me into one ginormous ball of frustration every time one of these links pops up on my screen.

 THANK GAWD my Offspring are well past the stage where I need to worry about this crap!

 The only thing that worries me is all the young, brand-spankin’-new parents out there swallowing it all whole. I mean, talk about getting information-whiplash every time you get online. Hellz peoples, just googling about diaper changes and feeding schedules would be enough to make me swear off reproduction if I hadn’t already got mine over and done with.

 Anyway, all this got me wondering, what “style” would my mad parenting skills have fallen under? Since it all pretty much trickled down from my Mom and her Mom and so on and was all just good, old fashioned, common sense, I think the perfect name for it (since EVERYTHING has to have a name these days) would be the Common Sense Granny Approach to Parenting.

 I figured since I haven’t done a Top Ten List in a while, this would be a GREAT topic for it, so here it is in a nutshell,

Granny’s Top Ten Pieces of Advice For Parents Everywheres:

    1)  lighten up
 Guess what? Folks has been doin this birthin’ thing forever and someone, somewhere must have done something right without the interwebz and pretty books, ‘cause you’re here, ain’t ya?
 If ya stop worryin’ about all the stuff that ya might be doin’ wrong and just do what your gawd-given brain tells ya is probably the right thing to be doin’, you’ll get a lot farther and have more time to spend with your babe than if you waste hours on your computer trying to find something the so-called experts agree on.

    2)  listen to your baby
 Feed ‘em when they’re hungry, put ‘em to bed when they’re sleepy, and cuddle ‘em when they’re needy.
 Feeding a baby on a schedule? They don’t know how to tell time, but they sure know when they’re hungry and how to tell ya about it.
 They’re all manner of cryin’ and cranky? Put ‘em down for a nap, ‘cause they needs it.
 They won’t quit pullin’ at ya and buggin’ you while you’re warshin’ dishes? Put ‘em on your lap spend some one-on-one time. Those dishes will be there later, but babies grow up fast.

    3)  read to ‘em
 I don’t know about all these pads and pods, but I do know there’s nothin’ as magical to a little one as the sound of their Mommy or Daddy’s voice reading ‘em their favorite story.
 Forget the things that require bat’ries and do the readin’ for you. All that shows a baby is things are better than people. Sit down, put your baby on your lap, pick up the book, do the voices and animal sounds, and just READ.

    4)  sing to ‘em
 Music is not just joyful and purdy, but it’s as old as the hills. It don’t even matter what ya sing, just make some noise and teach your little ones to love singin’ too. Who cares if either of ya can carry a tune in a bucket. It don’t have to be perfect to be fun.
 Besides, jumpin’ around the kitchen and clappin’ your hands is good for gettin’ the blood a movin’ and the giggles goin’.

    5)  let ‘em play
 Somethin’ I think a lot of folks has forgot is kids ain’t little adults, they’re kids. We big ‘uns have our jobs we needs to get done and young ‘uns has their jobs too, and that’s playin’.
 Let ‘em get dirty, make some mud pies, eat a few worms, and tear a few pairs of britches. Let ‘em have their invisible friends and listen whens they’re tellin’ ya about their grand adventures slayin’ dragons or followin’ a butterfly.
 When you’re busy cookin’, gives ‘em pots-n-pans to bang around and play with. When you’re busy cleanin’, gives ‘em a dust rag and let ‘em play at helpin’. If it ain’t for playin’, how else do ya think they learn to make sense of the world around ‘em?

    6)  let ‘em make mistakes
 How in tarnation are they gonna learn to take responsibility for their mistakes and fix ‘em if they never make any? You gotta teach ‘em that sweepin’ messes they made under the rug ain’t gonna work in the real world.
 I think if more people had been taught that there are consequences to doin’ somethin’ bad, then the world might not be in the state it is now.

    7)  let ‘em get hurt
 These parents that never let their babies skin a knee, sprain an elbow, or even have a broken heart (just in case you’re more interested in that whole metaphorical thing) are fools.
 Nothin’ good in this world comes without some risk. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. If a body never gets hurt, how can they ever learn to deal with disappointment and pain?
 Gettin’ hurt happens to everyone and it’s all in how you get back up, brush yourself off, and learn from your mistakes that shows what kinda metal you’re made from.

    8)  punish ‘em
 Let ‘em make mistakes, let ‘em fall down once in a while, and then teach ‘em there’s consequences for their actions.
 Nobody learns nothin’ good from bein’ allowed to get away with anythin’. If some stupid prank might look bad on a college admission whatever? Then maybe Juniour might think twice about ever doin’ somethin’ so stupid again, because one instance of being a jackass just cost him a little bit of his future.
 That, my friends, is exactly how life works. It don’t care if you were raised to feel all entitled and be a brat, all life is interested in is cause and effect. And let me tell ya a secret; no one ever dies from a swat on the backside, but plenty have gone that way because of a spoiled brat that didn’t know how to follow the rules.

    9) make ‘em work
 Ain’t nothin’ in this life that comes for free. It don’t matter if you’re born with  a silver spoon in your mouth or a plastic fork, someone somewheres had to work hard for that food on your table, those clothes on your back, and that roof over your head.
 Those folks afraid to let their little ones break a sweat or put in a good day’s work are just makin’ things harder for the rest of us. When that time comes to let little Jimmy out in the world? He’s gonna be settin’ back and thinkin’ we all owe him an easy pass, ‘cause that’s all he’s ever known.

    10)  tell ‘em you love ‘em
 Look here, a Mommy and a Daddy love their babies. But ya gotta make sure ya tell ‘em that and then show ‘em in ways that don’t involve you buyin’ ‘em stuff.
 This world has gotten so big and filled with bright and shiny things and sometimes folks forget that stuff ain’t love, it’s just a bunch of meaningless junk. It really is the thought that counts, so just go on and skip the middle man and give ‘em your thoughts instead of some new toy. The thoughts is what’ll still be with ‘em long after that trinket is forgotten and collectin’ dust.

11)  do your damn job
 Here’s some extra food for thought; the schools didn’t decide to have a baby. The law people didn’t decide to have a baby. Uncle Sam didn’t decide to have a baby. YOU DID!
 It ain’t the school or government’s job to raise your baby and teach it right from wrong; IT’S YOURS.
 If your young’un got bad grades? It ain’t nobody’s fault but theirs. If they didn’t follow the rules and got their little behinds in a sling? Then see #7.
 If your precious angel is a bully and a hellion? It ain’t no one’s place but yours to jerk a knot  in their tail and let them know that kinda behavior ain’t gonna fly.
 Teach ‘em some respect for other folks and their belongin’s, that no means no, and that a man’s (or woman’s) word is his (or her) bond. Do your job and raise respectable people that anyone would be proud to call a friend.
 Stop blamin’ the things YOU allow ‘em to watch, play, or get away with and instead take a good, long look in a mirror, put on the Mommy and Daddy panites, and do your damn job as a parent.

 With as many styles as you can think up names to go with them; Helicopter, Tiger, Authoritative, Hands Off, Attachment, Instinctive…you’re free to take your pick, make up your own, or drown in the choices. Personally, I’m glad I listened to Granny.

 What about you? Did you agonize over which style to go with or did you just listen to your gut?

Bonbon Break
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