Navigating through life away from the library.
Navigating through life away from the library.

Beware Unsolicited Parenting Advice Karma

On TodayMoms, Hoda Kotbe and Willie Geist talked to the Whatever Girls about how to handle unsolicited parenting advice.  One thing I cannot abide is people, especially people who do not have kids, telling me how to handle my own.  I have five kids ~ a stepdaughter who grew up in Texas with her mother (and visited every summer) and four kids who live with my husband and me.  My kids are now teenagers and every now and then when we go to the store I like to remind them of the speech that I used to give them when they were little people:

When we go into this store, do not touch anything and do not ask for anything.  If I buy you something it’s because I want to and not because you asked me to.  If you feel the need to touch something, put your hands in your pockets.  And, most importantly, if you embarrass me, I will embarrass you.  Now, let’s go shopping

I said that every time we went to the store until my youngest was 5 and the oldest was 9.  You see, I had four kids under the age of 5, I had to have control, they outnumbered me.  Every day there was a chance of a mutiny.

My kids responded to my little “pep talks” very well.  They’d go into the store and mind their manners.  Yes, there were a couple of meltdowns but, for the most part, we never had any real issues (I went through with my promise to embarrass them if they embarrassed me).  However, my sister~in~law, who did not have children at the time, used to question my discipline methods at every turn.  Every sentence began with “You should….”  or “My child would never….”  And all I could do was pray that some day she would have children.  I did flip out on her a couple of times, but there’s nothing like seeing someone go through the onerous ones, the terrible twos, the tantrum~filled threes and the frightful fours themselves.

Four years ago, my prayers were answered ~ she gave birth to a little boy.  I could not wait for this child to get old enough for her to have to start disciplining him because I was going to let her have it.  Well, let’s just say, I never got my chance because karma is a, well you know what karma is…  As her son got older and the temper tantrums became more frequent, I realized that I wouldn’t derive any pleasure from ripping into her.   She likes to tell me that it’s harder for her because she’s in her 40s with a preschooler.  Discipline is discipline no matter how old the parent or child is, and if you don’t have it, you have chaos.  I can’t wait for him to hit his teens…

This post was written as part of the Writer’s Workshop hosted by Mama Kat at Mama’s Losin’ It!

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