Not My Mother’s Daughter: How I’d Parent My Hypothetical Child

One of this week’s writing prompts from Mama’s Losin’ It asks how you parent your kids differently than your own parents parented you. Now I don’t have any kids, and if I did, I wouldn’t get my way on every parenting decision. After all, my husband would’ve been there too, and, the way he views parenting, he’d be the stricter one of us.

I imagne, if I have to be very honest, that my hypothetical child’s upbringing would be similar to my own. I don’t approve of many of my parents’ actions, but then again they were done out of powerlessness. I imagine, agian being very honest, that I’d be quite permissive to my child but would lose it eventually and become aggressive. This is one reason I won’t have any kids.

Ideally, if I had a child, I’d parent them as naturally as possible. I don’t mean eating all organic food and using cloth diapers, as I don’t believe in this. I mean guiding them through their natural development rather than teaching or training them. For instance, I have some strong opinions on toilet training, which some parents take very seriously. I of course know that the skill of using the toilet is important, but I also think that too much pressure will stress the child out. Having witnessed some incontinent adults being humiliated and pressured, I know I don’t want to subject my child to the same unless it’s absolutely necessary. I originally wrote a lengthy, TMI’ish monologue on toilet training and how I would and wouldn’t approach it, but I’ll leave you to read up on natural toilet learning to find out.

My husband and I have had discussions or debates about what education we’d want for our child. I am a traditonally-educated person and went to an academically challenging high school. My husband has had a less traditional route in his education, though he finally earned a high school diploma at the same level I did. Both of us would choose an education for our child that is different from our own, even though we agree that our child would never go to the posh type of high school I went to. I think if it’d come down to it, I’d want a challenging education for my child too, but my heart screams “No!” to pushing my child’s academic limits.

Now that I think on it, my heart screams “No!” at the idea of pushing my child’s limits in general. This may be one more reason why I’d make a bad parent, though I’m not sure. After all, pushing a child over their limits is different from feeding the fire of their curiosity (be it for academics or otherwise). I don’t know whether this is optimism about a child’s natural curiosity and capacity for learning. It could quite likely be fear of overburdening my child like I was overburdened.

Mama’s Losin’ It

13 thoughts on “Not My Mother’s Daughter: How I’d Parent My Hypothetical Child

  1. ah this is interesting. i have thought about this before. i think my idea will change once i have a child. who knows ey

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  2. I know it sounds crazy but my daughter has been going on the toilet since about 3 mo. Old! Not exclusively, but if she seems squirmy I ask her if she wants to go and give her a chance. Our midwife told us about doing this and I was surprised to see it work! No pushing necessary:) I think as she gets older it will be a easy transition.

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  3. I don’t think your response would make you a bad parent, everyone approaches it differently! I feel like I’m more strict than my parents were, but they were very absent so that could be the difference. We also lead a healthier lifestyle than I was brought up in, and I’m more active in my child’s school / social life.

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  4. Interesting prompt! I’m trying to parent my daughter differently from how my parents did, but unfortunately sometimes my own mother comes out of me. I never really knew how hard parenting was until I had a child.

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  5. Interesting. I appreciate your thoughtfulness on the subject even without having kids. I have 2 kids and never really thought about how I would raise them – just assumed that I would go with what I knew, which was how my parents raised me. Over the years I’ve tweaked their parenting style to better suit our lifestyle, but the foundation is very much the same.

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  6. Every thing I thought I knew and what we planned went out the window the second our son was laid in my arms.
    FACT.
    It’s good to have a game plan but raising kids is almost a fly by the seat of your pants adventure. My best piece of advice is that you lean on one another (you and your husband). You will navigate through some challenging waters and you’ll need to work as a team. As long as you give that child love and make choices that are best for you and your family (don’t listen to what people tell you to do and don’t let them make you feel guilty for the decisions you make like choosing breast vs bottle or diaper vs cloth) you’re going to do just fine.
    I love that you took on this prompt.

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  7. I had a friend who insisted on potty training her 5 month old baby. It was so sad to me that potty training had taken such a focus in their life. Some parents really need to relax!

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  8. I like the perspective from someone who does not have children. My husband and I had one thought in mind for our parenting before had kids. Not to do it like our parents as we both came from abusive households. We do push our children in some areas to go out of their comfort zones, but in some areas just let them go at their own pace. I too had a friend who had her kids going on potty from infant stage and I just can’t imagine investing all that time in something like that.

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