Is it just me who finds it incredibly annoying when someone without children themselves, decides to impart their opinions on you on how to raise your children? Even when you have politely nodded and made it quite clear that you have no interest in actually taking their advice, they continue to preach their ideas of providing the perfect upbringing..why is it that they think they know my children better than I do? What qualifies them to attempt to make me feel inadequate as a parent just because they believe they know what I should be doing to control every tantrum or avoid food being flung off the high chair and I clearly don't..well.. judging by the piece of half chewed banana I have just removed from my shoulder maybe they have a point..it has been a long day!
I have strong opinions on how I want the boys to behave, and I expect them to be polite, I have no fear to take toys away or stop outings if they're rude, admittedly I don't enforce this rule on E yet, as he's only 1.. but you get the idea? That makes me sound horrible doesn't it? Like I'm some sort of ogre! But I just want them to learn to say please and thank you, and not to push or throw things around, is that wrong?
The last months, I have continually been criticised by a woman (not a mother) who thinks she knows it all. While in reality, we all (including her) know that if she knew everything about how to be the perfect parent, she'd be a millionaire, I still find her criticism challenging. It's tough making decisions for yourself sometimes, and I find it even harder to make decisions for the boys, I sometimes can't help but wonder if I'm making the right choice? What if I get it wrong?! Will they grow up hating me because I made them sit nicely while we're out having tea?! I don't tend to really care what other people think, but the months and months of criticism are starting to wear me down, and I have started to wonder if I'm wrong? Are the battles to sit down while eating and to eat nicely, and not throw things at our friends "wrong"? Should I allow Boo to "express himself" by launching parsnips from his plate wherever he feels or stamp on my daffodils as they are not his favourite flower? I encourage Boo to think for himself, and have opinions, but he still needs guidance on how and when to express these opinions, he's not even 4 yet! I let him run riot with paint and toys, but basic manners are something I can't turn a blind eye to.
Of course, in reality, I know that my sons will be raised in the manner I decide, and as long as they are polite, healthy and happy I will know I've done a good job. I wish I had all the parenting answers, especially ones surrounding how to avoid tantrums as let's face it no parent enjoys them! But if our children didn't have tantrums, then surely we'd be raising sausages and not independent thinkers?