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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rebel Without A Cause

Something I was reading on Erica Orloff's blog the other day (don't ask me what because I can't remember) got me thinking about things our parents do or say that we strongly react against, and make a conscious decision not to do when we're older.

The trouble is, doing the total opposite to what our parents did can have it's own problems. As I found out.

I'm the oldest of four children and when we were young my mother would get me to do everything for the others - only 5 years between the four of us, and I'm the only girl. So, in the mornings she'd stay in bed while I got the breakfast. She'd direct traffic from her arm chair - and we'd have to fetch and carry for her (I hope none of my family are reading this. I love my mother dearly, but she's a bit lazy!).

SO.... I resolved not to order my children about in that way. And what happened??? You guessed it. I spent all my time waiting on them hand and foot, not asking them to fetch and carry for me........ Hmmmmmm. Not only that, I NEVER stay in bed, I'm up very early every day (whether I'm working or not) and am always there to wake them up in the mornings (when they're here).

I've also been accused of being too soft with my children, but I don't regret that. I reckon they're kind and compassionate towards others, which is really important to me.

What are you doing that's different from the way you were raised?

Comments:
Strangely enough, I've done loads of things the way my mum did them (even down to lying about whether there's any chocolate in the house!). This worries me when I look at her now and wonder if that will be me in another 30 years. Of course it worries my husband even more...
 
I think a lot depends on how alike you are..... my mother and I are very different. My father and I..... that's another matter. we're both stubborn old wotsits!
 
Hi Sara:
Two fundamental differences . . . one, I am an "askable" parent--the one thing I was positive I wanted to do differently. Whether about sex, poltiics, or quantum physics, I wanted my kids to be able to ask me anything without fear of reprisal. It does make for more debating in our house (less blind obedience), but I am glad I chose to do that. The second difference is I rased my children with faith--my father is an atheist, I am a Buddhist, I take my kids to a liberal Christian church. I wanted them to believe in something and to have a sense of the spiritual component in the universe. Life is hard enough . . . I think I needed to give them something to cling to for when they have dark times, or when they are older and face those toguh things we all face.

E
 
I'm with you on the 'askable' parenting, Erica. The blind obedience seems to be a generational thing - children should be seen and not heard, respect is a right, and not earned...... It's so much better nowadays.
 
I use the air-conditioner in Houston.

My dad didn't know for probably 15 years (or at least a good chunk of that time) that the air conditioner in our house was broken. He thought it was just way more than he wanted to pay. Nevermind that he had a window unit installed in his bedroom!

I live a much cooler life now. (And so does he--he moved and found out the A.C. was broken and had to fix it for the buyers).
 
alyssa:
I laughed out loud at your AC story!

E
 
So funny, Alyssa!
 
Hmmm interesting. I think I've turned into my mother actually!!!!

*cue scary music*
 
I'm finding I raise our kids fairly close to how I was raised, but while my parents and my husband's parents were very religious and spent much time at church and church events, we decided not to raise our kids in a faith. It's interesting to hear everyone's responses.
 
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