Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Parenting against instinct
Being a balloon parent (I'm running with my new term) doesn't come as naturally as many might think.
There are times I just want to run to my little girl and cuddle her close when she falls. I watch for her reaction when she hurts herself, and hold my breath as I smile at her and calmly ask if she's okay.
Sometimes it's funny when people talk about how tough she is. There's a running joke that a friend's sons like to say, 'We're not as tough as Abbey!' But I try to counteract all the talk about bravery and toughness by telling her often that it's okay to cry if something hurts. Just so she knows.
Sometimes I'm relieved when she does cry after a fall - usually when she's really tired. It's the perfect excuse to listen to my instinct and cuddle her, at least for the thirty seconds she'll allow it.
On many occasions I hold my breath as she climbs a ladder to a tall slide, and every time she's out of my sight for a moment I have a little freak out.
But all these panicky parenting moments, and many of the clingy ones, I hide from her.
Why? Because I think it's the best thing for Abbey.
Because I want her to listen to her own instincts. I don't want to overpower that, so I follow her lead when she's trying something new or hurts herself.
Because my favourite part of parenting is encouraging her, and having her realise how capable she is is far more important than following my instincts.
Sometimes I parent against my instincts because this, her childhood, is all about her. Not me.
Posted at 9:17 AM