Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Park parenting: My way

I am not an angel or a perfect person or a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination. I know parenting methods differ, I also know that there is no book, no way of knowing you are doing a good job, and we realize our mistakes a little too late. I strive every day to be a good parent and I think that is all anyone can do. I try very hard not to judge other's methods as children are not "one way fits all" equations. I read an article about some parents wanting other parents to butt out at the park. It was even said that some parents go to the park to let their children be free of parenting. This is all a choice on a personal level, I'm not saying that this doesn't work and honestly everyone gets to screw their kids up all on their own. That being said here are the reasons I still parent, even at the park, and possibly other people's children.

Thing 1 has a hard time making friends. He is far too nice and far too forgiving. He gets picked on and as a mother that really angers me. I know kids are jerks but mine isn't and it makes me sad that he has to deal with children his age acting this way. Last night my son came home to grab some Nerf guns to take to the park. No big deal, toys are meant to be played with. Ten minutes later he came home with 2 friends to get more Nerf guns (we SERIOUSLY have WAY too many of them) for a Nerf war. I am fond of him playing outside and I see no problem with this. I did put some restrictions on his massive gun collection, he didn't get to take anything of his brothers and if his friends were going to help play with the guns they would darn well help bring them back. All the children agreed and set off to have fun at the private neighborhood park that I can see from my driveway.

At bed time I went in search of my little darling who was playing happily with friends at the park. He saw me, knew it must be time to go home and told his friends he needed the guns back he had to go. One little jerk let him walk up to him then threw the gun over his head in the grass. I SNAPPED. Like baby on my hip screaming kind of snapped. I yelled at the child to pick up the gun and hand it to my son. He stared in shock and I'm sure fear. I told him he had better learn some manners because that was rude and uncalled for. There were adults in the vicinity, ages ranging from barely legal teens to early to mid twenties. No one said a word and I'm pretty sure I struck fear into their hearts as well.

I tell my children on a daily basis that the scariest thing in nature is a mama bear. I became the mama bear. My adrenaline was pumping and I was pissed. My son was being a good fair person, like I taught him, and this other child was being rude. Do I blame the kid? Not really. Do I blame his parents? Not really. It's a culmination. I know my job as a parent is to protect my children when they NEED protection, offer them support all the time, and raise them to be genuinely good people. These are the goals I set every day. Last night Thing 1 may not have NEEDED my protection but I had had enough. If you want to give your children a break from parenting I get it, but you need to know that if they are hurting my child because they lack direction and general decency, I will rectify the situation.

I will parent your children for you. You can give them a break all you want but I will not hesitate to correct behavior that impacts my family. As long as your choices don't affect me I will stay the heck out of it. The millisecond your choice not to parent gets in the way of the values I teach my children, I will do what needs to be done. I will scold a child, I will make them apologize, and I don't care if you don't like it. Find another park or correct the behavior yourself. The real world is an ugly place and though I want my children to grow knowing that life isn't always good or perfect, I also want them to have time before they have to join the working class. I want them to be children and play and be happy. I don't want them to act like jerks and I definitely don't want them to be treated like they are nothing by your jerks.

We all get to choose our parenting style. Mine is a mix of OCD or CDO(in the correct order) and mayhem. My children are growing fast and the more they grow the more I like what I see. They are becoming decent human beings and though children are truly the meanest beings you encounter in life, I will not let them beat my son down without a fight. I will teach him to fight, and in the moments he is scared to fight, I will fight for him. That is my choice. You can say I am ruining your child's fun all you want, but I know that the day I have to step in is the day they crossed my line. If you don't agree, that's ok, because I don't agree with your choices either. We can agree to disagree and move on.

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