My article

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Andrea Danielle, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. Andrea Danielle

    Andrea Danielle New Member

    Hi there, I submit articles to a Toronto Kids Website and I thought I would share my latest one with you since I thought a lot of you could relate. I was inspired to write this from raising a difficult child. You are the experts, and I am sure that after all that you have been through, you can not be judgmental anymore :smile: My hope is that I can make a few parents of easy child's think twice before judging. I welcome any suggestions for improvement!

    I am mother: hear me judge

    There is something about becoming a mother that can make even the most easy going woman become judgmental of other parents. It seems to happen sometime after giving birth while we are immersed in the masses of information on babies and parenting that this strange transformation takes place. We search for the “right” way of doing things because we want the very best for our new baby - breast or bottle, soother or no soother, family bed or crib, attachment parenting vs. letting them cry on their own. These decisions start to take on extreme importance in our lives! We are sure we now know what is best and question why other parents would do things differently.

    Now my confession….

    It was 9 years ago that I sat at a parenting seminar nursing my 3 month old first born son, listening to Barbara Coloroso speak about parenting strategies from her book Kids Are Worth It. I was intrigued by her stories of what she refers to as “Jellyfish Parents” and “Brick Wall Parents”. I was confident that since I was learning about all of this while my son was so young, that when the time came for discipline, I would be an excellent “Backbone Parent”! After this seminar, I started to look at parents of older children and think: “Aha, there is a jellyfish letting their child get away with too much”, or “Oh, look at that strict one - they are being a brick wall parent”! Of course, I had no insight into these people’s lives or their children’s personalities. I am ashamed to admit how judgmental I was! I was a very strong believer in breastfeeding. and ended up nursing both of my sons until about age 2. I shudder to even think of the negative opinions I had of moms who didn’t breastfeed, chose to use soothers, or who applied the Ferber method of getting their children to sleep. Somehow, it comforts me to know that I was not alone in judging others. I heard this “holier than thou” attitude in mother’s groups then and I still hear this type of judgmental talk today.

    If I only knew then what I know now…..

    So far, raising my first son, although not always easy, has been relatively event free. I would say, I’ve maintained my “back bone parent” status reasonably well. He has always been a happy kid. He was never in trouble at daycare, had a lot of friends, and other parents told me how polite he was, I felt like a good parent: what an accomplishment! I knew of kids at his daycare, who were still hitting or biting others and acting out. I actually wondered what their parents might be doing wrong. Then, came along my second son – almost 6 years ago. He has been much different... Now, my husband and I have become the parents that people look at and question our parenting ability. Our son has been diagnosed with Tourettes and Pediatric Bipolar Disorder. He has been the one at the daycare and school who has hit other kids, screams, and gets into a lot of trouble! When we meet other parents and tell them who our son is, or when they witness his inappropriate behaviour, we see that look in their eyes that we recognize. That same look of judgment I used to have for other parents who I didn’t think were doing the “right” things. What I have learned is that for neurological disorders such as these, even the most skilled “backbone parent” would not stand a chance. Neither did counting to three, rewards, charts, clear consequences, threats or just being really “firm”. Patience, kindness and collaborative problem solving is helping. However, that does nothing to reduce the looks from the other moms in the playground!

    When I find myself speaking to mothers expecting their first baby, I try to not give any parenting advice. There is so much I could tell them but new parents will learn all of the usual things on their own. There are plenty of books out there – too many, really. What I do suggest to them is to not become judgmental of other parents. The response I usually get is something like this “I am a tolerant person, I don’t expect to be become judgmental”. No one really expects it to happen, but sadly it often does. I think it is in our nature. Parenting is hard, really hard. You can’t really understand how hard it is until you experience it yourself.

    What I have learned is that every child is different and what works for my family might not work for others, and you don’t always know the full picture. Now when I see a parent doing something different from what I would do, I quickly stop any judgmental thoughts that sneak into my head and remind myself that “they are doing what works for them”. I wish someone would have given me this parenting advice early on, although I am not sure I would have listened.

    Not everyone faces the same challenges, however, if you are finding that the parenting strategies your family is using are not working well and you need support, there are many professionals who can offer advice. Remember though, if the advice does not fit your child’s personality or your own values, you can and should ask for different suggestions. Trust your own instincts!

    The experience of dealing with a child with special needs has changed me - not only as a parent, but as a person. I am very grateful to my son for providing me the opportunity to learn some very important life lessons.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I really like this-well done! :bravo:
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Nicely done, Warrior Mom!
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good job. I hope people who need to read it, do. :smile:
  5. kris

    kris New Member

    <span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #3333FF"> that was really good, andrea.

    i hope people lisen.

    </span> </span> </span>
  6. Ltlredhen

    Ltlredhen New Member

    Very well said Andrea, thanks for sharing with us.

  7. Loris

    Loris New Member

    Beautiful and well written. How true it is. Some of us need the reminder at times.
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    that was very nice. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. Rhea

    Rhea New Member

    Well said, Andrea.
  10. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I thought it was right on the money. I can add to your experience that I also had a very easy first child and thought that others were just doing it wrong when they had a more difficult experience. About 18 months into my second child I had a different outlook.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Content - great. And it needs to be said. Writing style - a couple of spots where you could have contracted and made your point just as effectively, if not more so. But only a couple, and it's no biggie. Overall, this is effective writing in that I think you achieve your aim. The contrast you describe, between perfect first child and difficult child for the second, is very useful because it shows this is much more than parenting. You have effectively used "show" instead of "tell".

    One point - you say you no longer advise new mothers - I would suggest two items to share with prospective parents:
    1) It's not going to be easy, but

    2) have faith in yourselves and your instinct for your children.

    I feel this would fit with your stated views, but if not, then ignore it. It's just something I thought of as I finished reading what you wrote.

    And a comment on the parenting experience - I remember saying, when difficult child 3 was a baby, that I at last had the perfect baby I felt I had earned, after the first three. Ironic! And really, the only reason he seemed so perfect was that I had finally had the chance to tune in to what the baby wanted - he wasn't the one being perfect, it was me, giving him exactly what he wanted. If I misinterpreted his signals, it was bedlam!

  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


  13. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I would like so much for others to read that article. Wish it would be published in our local paper.
  14. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    what a beautiful article--thanks so much! I think it should be mandatory reading for all parents! And I was at my most judgmental before I ever had a child. I always say I knew just how to raise a child until I actually had one. My first, too, was pretty easy, guess that is why I went on and had another--if I had only known....:)
  15. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I think that most of us feel very much the same. Thanks. I hope someone sees it and it makes a difference for them.
  16. Andrea Danielle

    Andrea Danielle New Member

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Marguerite, I really appreciate the suggestions - very good ones. I am not a writer, I have a lot to learn but I am starting to really enjoy this. All of sudden, I have a lot to write about :smile:
    I am happy to hear that so many of you feel the same that I do about being judgmental! We have all learned so much on this journey!

    Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
  17. catwoman2

    catwoman2 New Member

    How true it is! Excellent job! :bravo:
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I couldn't have put it better. :bravo:

    Parenting is a learning process, one that I've found doesn't end even when the child leaves the nest.
  19. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Please let me know if I can share this. Using your name as author ofcourse.

    Thanks you.
  20. Andrea Danielle

    Andrea Danielle New Member

    Sure, you are welcome to share. I will PM you my name!