By Aileen Baylon-Headrick
Scrolling thru my Facebook feed, I realized that 50% of my posts are parenting-related posts. Since becoming a parent, I discovered that I have very strong views on parenting and motherhood. I’m an introvert by nature, but when it comes to being a mother and a parent, I tend to become the opposite. Ask me something about any baby-related topic and I’d happily oblige you with an answer equipped with an explanation. Only when I’m asked. I don’t give unsolicited advice because I also, don’t need unsolicited advice.
But since this is my post, I’ll explain 2 things I will teach my son:
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risk
As a parent, we tend to mother our children to the point of being too protective of them.
Then, when they leave our nests, they are faced with challenges that they don’t know how to face because they are not equipped with the skills required to face them. They’re so used to being catered and when mommy or daddy are not there, they don’t know what to do and are paralyzed by the situation.
I don’t want that for my son. I want him to have the courage to try and take risks.
I want him to understand that losing is not the end.
I want him to experience failure but also learn to get up and try again.
I want him to acquire coping skills.
I want him to understand that not everything in life is easy and requires perseverance and hard-work.
I want him to have the discipline to work for something he loves.
I was born in the 80s. And back then, there was no internet, no apps. I remember a time when kids were left to their own devices way more than they are today. I was one of those kids as I grew up with my grandmother.
Back in the late 1980s and early 90s, my grandma would let my older sister and me out in the streets playing with other kids or in someone else’s house playing dolls and whatever toys they have. She didn’t find a need to entertain us herself or enroll us in a summer camp all summer long. She taught us what’s right and wrong, how to pray, to treat others with respect, and how to conduct ourselves in front of other people. The rest, she let us figure things out ourselves. She figured it’s better to learn from our own mistakes. Looking back, I realize I had a great childhood.
Now that I’m a parent myself, I feel overwhelmed by too many voices coming at me from too many directions. I opted to use a midwife. I was told by some friends to go with an OB GYNE, because to them, midwives are not doctors. The doctor was telling me that I’m supposed to breastfeed. Meanwhile, my mom is pressuring me to just feed him formula.
The internet has certainly changed the way we parent. Baby is crying all the time? Google can help you with that! You post a picture of your baby with his first tooth, and you’d get a lot of advice from other parents about what’s the best food to feed him and how to prevent him from being too cranky. I’m sure these people have the best intentions, but I was not exactly seeking advice when I posted that baby picture. I just
thought it was cute.
I guess my point is, at the end of the day, we learn by experience. Back then, there was no internet for our parents and we turned out ok. Life happened, some mistakes were made along the way but we moved on and learned from them. Our parents were not made to feel guilty about them.
These days, we’re so quick at judging. It’s so easy for us to attack the tiniest parenting mishap from others perhaps to get that feeling that we’re better than them.
My point is, we owe our own children the chance to discover themselves what they can and cannot do and prepare them for the time that we are no longer around to take care of them.
2. Take Care of Their Body
This includes exercising, eating healthy and resting when needed. Growing-up, my dad was very strict not to let us drink pop. You can imagine how hard this is for me because during that time, pop is like water for my friends. Everyone drinks it. When I visit a friend’s home, it is always served instead of water. Knowing that my dad isn’t there to police me, I would always sneak in a sip or two only to realize that it’s not satisfying at all so I’ll end up asking for water instead.
My body was just not used to it since I was never accustomed to drinking it with a meal. Even now as an adult, I never craved for it and I’ll always be thankful to my dad for being so strict about not drinking pop because I adopted that habit ever since.
That’ what I want for my son. To build healthy habits early hoping that it will be with him for the rest of his adult life.
That’s it. You can agree or disagree but I’d love to hear your own take on the topic. I’m curious what I’m missing.
You can read more from Aileen at www.aileenbaylon.com