Why Am I Scared to Parent My Children?

9:32 AM

 A comment that was made on my "Do you leave your child" post the other day gave me the idea for another discussion that I wanted to bring up. Why am I afraid to parent my children? It seems that nowadays, society has become more judgmental as a whole and a lot less understanding of everyone's individual choice on how to lead their lives. I can't be the only one who feels afraid to parent sometimes because of the judgment that could come from others.

For example, when I was growing up, if I did something wrong or mouthed off to my parents, there was a great chance that I was going to get spanked for it. It was socially acceptable then and even the private school I went to in elementary school was still allowed to issue corporal punishment.

Let me be clear that we are not a spanking household by personal choice. When my kids were toddlers, I may have given their hands a light tap to let them know something was unsafe to touch, but other than that, I can list the times I have spanked my children's butts on one hand. The most notable time was when my oldest got the idea from somewhere that it would be a good idea to call me the "B" word which he heard from kids at school. Spanking is just not the way that I choose to discipline my kids, but that doesn't mean that it may not be right for another family.

However, spanking is just a fraction of what is being judged. It is impossible to go anywhere with four children and sternly correct them without getting looks of disdain from others. When did it become acceptable for everyone to feel they have a say in how you should parent your child and what is right or wrong?

One time, I was at Old Navy with my oldest who was about 2 at the time. He had gotten out of the stroller and was throwing a soccer ball around the store. I asked him to get back in the stroller and he would not, so I picked him up and carried him out while pushing the stroller. He began to scream because he wanted the ball. An older lady started shaking her umbrella at me and asking me what on Earth I was doing to "that child." I informed her that he was my son and I was doing nothing but carrying him out of the store while he was throwing a fit.

I understand the child abuse is very much a problem, but I really question what some people consider child abuse. Other people should not be able to shame parents into thinking that they have to always coddle their children and give them only positive reinforcement or they are bad parents. This approach may work for some, but not all children or families are the same and you can't base what everyone should do on what works for your family.

Children need boundaries and they need consequences for their actions. After all, when they grow up, their boss isn't going to give them a prize if they are on time for work after being late three days in a row. No, the boss is going to tell them they are fired if they are late again. Their are consequences in life and children need to learn that, while at the same time being rewarded for positive behaviors as well.

Please think twice before making a face at a mother trying to parent their child in the store, even if the style of parenting is different than your own. Do you sometimes feel scared to parent your own child/children too? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below, but as always, please keep it respectful. :)

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  1. I think this is exactly what's wrong with our kids today. Parents don't/can't/won't discipline their children for fear of what others will think. You look crossways at your kid and the neighbor calls CPS. It's ridiculous. Kids have no boundary's, no sense of right and wrong.

  2. Spot on! I was in Walmart not to long ago, and Zoe was throwing a fit over a toy she wanted. I explained to her nicely she doesn't get something everytime we are out. I had to checkout with her screaming and the woman behind me says, what is wrong with parents, give her the toy. Excuse me? I'm her mother, and she does not get something everytime we are here. I was furious!

  3. I read an interesting article the other day about a teacher who was put on suspension for writing in her personal blog about her lazy high school students whose parents didn't discipline them for not doing their homework, etc were mouthy, rude and simply didn't care about working hard or being polite. I'd venture to say that not teaching one's children about consequences when they are little leads to this ugly behavior

  4. I've been blessed with the trait of not caring one iota what people think of me. I'm going to parent my kid in public the way I see fit and screw what everyone else thinks.

  5. I am more likely to look crossways at people who don't parent their children when they are out that the ones who are parenting their children. But I do admit that it's hard to parent my children when were out, after all I have 5 kids so we tend to bring attention to ourselves anyway.

  6. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you DON'T discipline your child, you're a horrible person. If you do, you're horrible for whatever method you choose.

  7. Why is it that immediately after becoming a parent your choices become the village choices that everyone has a vote in?
    Great post!
    Just because I believe cosleeping worked for us doesn't mean everyone has to parent that way. Why is that so hard for folks to accept?

  8. You're absolutely correct. I HATE it when people try to make ME feel guilty for the way I'm parenting my children. I'm not a spanker either, but they do need appropriate punishments for behaviour

  9. Great article Kathleen. I think you are so right that there are many parents afraid of what others will think of them if they decide to discipline their children in public. Not to mention their teachers and counselors at school are telling them that if you parents touch you can have them arrested. Everyone is so confused as to what is right or wrong.

  10. There's also the fear that you'll be turned into CPS and have your kids taken away. Parents are just running scared...scared to let their kids roam free, scared to discipline, scared to take their rambunctious bruise covered toddler to the doctor...on and on! This fear is crippling the culture of parenting and hurting kids. So in the name of protecting kids from actual abuse we are poisoning the environment and producing more behavioral issues that have serious impact on the future generations.

  11. Great post! Thank you! You've captured a very real situation in our society, which is turning away from "live and let live" and into "the only good is the collective good, so if I don't agree with you, I'm going to turn you in!"

    It's the tendency of people to call CPS if they disapprove of your approach that seems to seep through everywhere and leave us all parenting in fear. The other drawback - besides poorly disciplined kids - is the lost freedom and spontaneity, the ability to explore and take risks, because your nasty neighbor might turn you in for letting your son ride a bike without a helmet, or letting your 10-year-old play at the park unsurpervised. What's crazier, the government authorities might even think those actions just cause for unthinkable interference with your family!

  12. I have become very fearful, stressed and depressed and there are hundreds of websites confirming all my experiences and fears about CPS (MISNOMER). My life of three intrusions from this ad hoc agency with governmental powers. My darling child does not deserve this, and nor do I. We are a non spanking house so far, but our child is only 6. Two were froma notorious crazy lady busy body, false reports, but to cps its a way to get in and create a case. Today I am a wreck! I need to defend myself for the sake of my child and sanity.bellaslaw.com & disguted with the system.



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