Updated: May 26, 2019
Parenting mistakes, we all make them. Like that time you dropped the kid, lost the kid, or a thousand other things that went wrong. My kids have given me so many mishap parenting stories that if I listed them here, you'd send the link to social services.
When kids become teenagers watch out, cause they now make big life changing mistakes right along with you, so it's a double whammy.
Like the time my son decided to jump the US / Canada border to see what would happen. The border is a ditch with a few small markers. No signs saying stay out. Nothing that says it's monitored. No cameras or technology. Nothing. I raised him to be curious and to figure things out for himself by trying stuff out. Well he wanted to know what would happen if he jumped the ditch and went into Blaine, WA. I'll tell you what happened - The US border guard arrested him.
Most of the bad decisions he makes are because I chose to raise him to try things, figure things out, be curious, and be fearless. I wanted him to be himself regardless of what others thought. Sounded like a good idea as a small child, as a teenager though, not so much.
I know that teenagers are supposed to make mistakes, however for some, the mistakes are so bad they can't see a way out because of the judgements of others and they kill themselves.
Teens are judged by their chosen "look", the rumours floating around the schools, their societal missteps. The bully, the victim, the jock, the rocker, the cheerleader, the nerd. It's been like that since teenagers first came together into a group and hasn't changed much. No matter how PC we all think we are. No matter how liberal the schools are. We all sit in judgement.
What do you think of adults who use shame to judge teens?
Shaming starts when kids are babies and mothers sit in judgement of each other's parenting styles so that they can feel more secure in their own choices. "I breastfeed" says one. "I bottle feed" says another. Both shaming the other for their choice. The judgements don't stop as the children age, they become more ingrained. Parents fear their kids will get in with the wrong crowd and judge other families based on a small amount of data and then the kids feel free to judge other kids.
Unless a child is getting beaten, neglected, or killed there is no right or wrong way to parent. Each child is different, each parent is different, each family dynamic is different. There are just different ways. Studies have shown if you do 'this or that' the child will be successful. Really?
I've read my fair share of parenting books and some have some real nuggets of information. What I discovered in my studies on how to be the perfect parenting was, no 'expert' knows how. For every expert that said one thing, there was another that said the opposite. In the end I took what worked for me and my family and threw the rest out.
Is there really one better way than the other? Did our grandparents do it right? Did our parents? Did we?
We all make bad choices, we all make mistakes with our kids. However, the only real mistake is when we think we're perfect and make others, especially our kids, feel bad about the choices and mistakes they make. When we use shame to keep them in line causing them to believe that they are conditionally loved.
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Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia. Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.