Discipline for children. Absolute minefield, isn’t it?
• Am I yelling at them too much or not enough?
• Are they running rings around me or have I got this under control?
• Am I too strict or too easy-going?
If you caught the Channel 4 documentary #FeralFamilies, it might have got you thinking (or panicking) about whether you have got it right or wrong.
The programme was about ‘off-grid parenting.’ Children are allowed to choose their own bed time or cut their own hair. They were pretty much left to their own devices unless their safety was at risk, and they were either unschooled or home-schooled.
The reaction online and in the media was huge.
Lots of parents (and probably loads who aren’t) tutting away at these families for “doing it all wrong.” How dare they allow their kids to create havoc in the homes without boundaries or consequences for bad behaviour?!
On the other hand, you’ve got the text book parents. We all know them, some of them even are them (not me, FYI).
Routine, routine, routine all the way. Set meal times, set homework times, set extra-curricular activities, set bed times. They know all the ‘hacks’ on getting through the school-run like a military operation – clothes piled in neatle ironed order and nutritious lunches pre-packed the night before. These parents usually plan big and seamless birthday parties and have Christmas presents tied up before the clocks turn back in October.
Me? I’m somewhere between the two. The middle ground is so under-rated, don’t you think?
Why is it so boring to just have a bit of a happy medium kind of take on things?
And why are there so many judgey people out there, ready to tell others they are doing it all wrong?
I’d class myself as strict but fun. Guess what? You can be BOTH!
My kids know not to pass the 1, 2, 3 warnings. If I start the countdown, the maniacs usually stop misbehaving after the count of 1.
We’re also allowed to be silly and free. They stay up at weekends and are allowed a midnight feast (unless they’ve been cheeky).
We do fun stuff AND time-outs. Parenting is all about balance. It feels like a blumin’ juggling act most of the time. It took me a while to realise, even the ones who look like they have it all under control – probably don’t.
If you choose to take your own children out of mainstream school and try some off-grid parenting, cool. But if, instead you have a timetable plastered on the wall and stick to it religiously, good for you!
As long as your child or children are happy, healthy and safe, let’s parent in our own style and let others get on with theirs. No two people look and act identically, so why do we all think that parenting is this big one size fits all approach?
The documentary showed that lots of families do things against what the ‘parenting bible’ advises and yet, their children seem perfectly happy and well-adjusted. So, however you choose to ‘lay down the law’ (if at all), relax we’re all just winging it really…
Lots of love