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Does parenting get less controversial the older your DCs get?(41 Posts)
Just musing really ... DC is 8 mo and there seem to be so many decisions that can quickly descend into bun fights: cloth or disposable, breast or bottle, CC or NCSS, Gina or chaos non-routine, co-sleeping or own room, BLW or purees, Fruit Shoots or Greggs etc etc.
I had an epiphany a couple of days ago that, however important all these things might seem now, no one is going to give a toss in a couple of years' time how I weaned, how I got DC to sleep, whether we actually ever got into a routine and so on. I was just wondering whether a whole new set of issues were about to burst on to the scene for my mum and I to disagree about or whether this is it?
You're right. Mine are 6 and 10 now and really, a lot of it doesn't matter.
It's easy to get overwhelmed in the minutiae of childrearing when they are small.
Maybe it's plain sailing for a few years until ...(spooky music...dum der deRRRR)...teenagerdom. Then everything's the parents' fault dontcha know.
i think some people can make professional parenting out of anything - so - lets wait and see whether they can make everything else a fucking profession too.
Eek yes. Every time someone asks if it's hard still getting up at night for feeds I think not as bloody hard as deciding whether your 16 yo DD can have her boyfriend to stay the night or what to tell them about drugs. Ack.
it moves on to ear peirce or not,to let them out on bike alone or not,mobile phone at what age etc.
still lots of comparing etc but you care less.
IT gets to the point that you are so tired of getting the things right that you realise the only way forward is to ignore the others' strong opinion and do what works best for yourself.
With time, replies to unwelcome comments come quicker so at point people stop messing with you too
You're right - it doesn't matter. The decisions you make now are diluted with time, circumstances and influences beyond what you decide for your child.
I think you get to share the responsibility a bit more with the wider society as they get older too - school plays a bit part, for example and the children themselves have a say in their own lives and are influenced by a wider circle of people than you or even their family. Growing up is about letting them make their own decisions more and more often.
No doubt there will be other issues to fall out over but they aren't as predictable. Not every parent has to face every decision as you seem to when they are very small.
I was just talking about "parenting" approaches with my sister today. We were brought up in quite a regimented household....and we run quite a tight ship with our own kids. They are now 10 and she has just come back from holiday with another family with a 2 yearold...who she was criticising for lack of routine, boundaries, sleep, food etc...But I said to her that with the families that we used to share holidays with who were unstructured etc...I was convinced that it was all going to fall apart for them further up the line..ie eating what they liked...they would become obese, under nourished etc...go to be when they want...would be tired and fractous and faila ta school etc....but this has nt happened...my mates have lovely kids who somehow "self regulate" and have a nice laid back family time. It is good to ask others further up the line for their thoughts.
It does get much better as they get older! Parents work and have less time-they also lose control as the DCs choose their own friends and you don't go to the school gate and so you don't know the parents. The DCs have their own (often strong ideas)and you can't police their food etc. People can judge but they tend to keep quiet because they know full well that their teen might be doing it next week!
The most you have to put up with is the boasting as in my DD got 10 A*. It really doesn't matter whether they could sit up before other babies, they were breast fed, they could read at 3yrs, or whether you were a WOHM or SAHM. No one wants to know-least of all the DC!
I have two sons aged 6 and 12. All the 'major' issues that surrounded us when they were very small are gone and forgotten - this doesn't mean they were any less important at the time because they were 'major' [lol] The issues change and in my opinion, become more geared towards morals, ethics and the world around them. The older they get, the more they observe and begin to ask questions. I have seriously questioned my own beliefs and intelligence recently as my 12 yo is getting very 'wise' about certain things and I'm a bit frightened to give the wrong answer.
In short, I think if you care enough about the issues surrounding your family, then you will do a great job as their parent, no matter how old they are. It does become easier in the sense that they begin to think and try to fathom things for themselves, but as I said, this brings a new dimension to being a parent. Good luck
I think there are a whole new set of issues as they get older but as a pp said you just learn to care less because you become more confident as a parent.
I have 4 kids - for the 10 year old the issues are around the wearing/not wearing of make up, appropriate clothes, playing out alone/how much responsibility, mobile phone and internet access.....
For the 5 and 6 year olds it is mainly focused on whether they should/shouldn't see certain films and what is/isn't acceptable to have in their lunchboxes.....
For the 1 year old it's still the weaning/routine scenario.
I am pregnant again and tbh the more kids you have, the less inclined you become to even discuss the decisions you make excpet with your partner. I have experienced other children, so feel I know what I am talking about and what works best for me and my family better than anyone else.
So I think it's more that YOU change rather than other people change.......they'll still be banging on about it all!
I have much less to do with other parents these days and with the ones I do socialise with it's not totally revolving around parenting any more. I think there is a great relief in letting go.
Development is so fast in the early years that parenting decisions (and all the research reading and musings that precede them) come thick and fast.
Development definitely slows down after a bit. But there are still masses of decisions to be made, IMO, right through a child's life.
its only controversial on mumsnet BTW.
we can make an arguement out of anythin on here
stop fretting, do what you believe is best, listen to others (who are not obviously insane), and things will actually become fairly easy.
"its only controversial on mumsnet BTW"
You should get out more. It is contraversial everywhere
Cory good point about the less contact with other parents. I always found that quite stressful and very competitive when the boys were very young. These days, I rarely see my 12yo friend's parent, may chat on the phone about sleep overs or days out and that's it really. Don't see any of them at school gates because he gets the train. Still find the school gate bitching at my 6yo's school, but it goes over my head now as I've been there and done it. I can look on with a certain smugness ....
not in my part of the world.
or maybe I just never take notice
I'm not at all sure about the "less contact with other parents" issue making it all easier.
I see plenty of parents suddenly waking up to the fact that they have lost touch with their teenage children's lives and that they are taking undesirable directions as a result - suddenly, those parents are desperate to talk to other parents again, intensively.
When our children are very small it is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there are Right Ways of Doing It -- that your perfect uncompromised little gem will be tarnished somehow if you don't 'follow the rules' properly.
As children get older it is easier to see them as we see adults -- as indiviuduals who have been shaped by lots of forces including by a constellation of the successes and failures of people around them. Our imperfections towards them are inevitable, and they don't damage the child, they just help shape him or her into the unavoidably flawed person they are destined to be.
So it is much much easier by that time not to get sucked into pointless Best Method disputes like the ones that affect the parenting of tiny children.
I didn't join Mumsnet until my children were already compromised by life, and so those frantic polemics about The Best Way To... have never been part of my experience of Mumsnet.
It's definitely more relaxing as they get older. I avoided baby manuals and NCT groups in dc's early days precisely because of all this angst - but the pressure then was far less than it is today I think.
Mine eat Haribos, watch TV, swig the occasional fruit shoot and eat non-organic and they're absolutely fine.
Well, the way it's been for me is:
when they were little, contact with other mums was very intense and a lot of it revolved around discussing parenting methods
I enjoyed it socially, but found it did add pressure
these days, a lot of it is about discussing and negotiating with dd
frankly, I find her a more reasonable person than some of those new mums
and I'm sure I am a more reasonable person than I was 12 years ago
Earthworm - thank you for saying that, I am guilty of being a real hairshirt wearer, and am slowly coming to the conclusion that nobody is perfect and to trust your own instincts.
Thanks - some really interesting replies.
Dearthworm that's exactly it - you have this absolute terror that you're somehow going to "break" them and that will be it, they're fucked up forever. I think I've just realised that actually (unless you keep them in a hole or something) that isn't true
Mulranno I was discussing with a friend of my mum's recently how all the children we knew who were horrible growing up (spoilt, whingey, fussy, etc etc) have actually turned into extremely nice adults and wondering how much difference it really makes in the end. Obviously there are still unpleasant people in the world, and it would be nice/easier if people liked your children while they were children rather than avoiding you, but something to think about.
Psychomum it defeinitely isn't just MN - I post/lurk on a couple of other parenting forums and arguments can rage there too (just with more hugs and hons ). My SIL have babies of similar ages and have polar opposite parenting styles, and it's hard not to see them as criticisms of each other (if we're each doing what we think is best then presumably the other is failing to do best ...). I am possibly imagining slightly more criticism than exists (from the world, not from SIL though) as I'm tending to make parenting choices that attract vocal criticism (along the lines of co-sleeping, not Fruit Shoots ).
I think as you get more and more used to parenting you don't worry so much about doing it the right way, you chill out more and just content yourself with being a good enough parent.
As children get older parenting changes, but there are still constant decisions to be made.
It's kind of like with jobs. When you first get your first proper job you're keen to do everything by the book, put lots of effort in, you tihnk there's only one right way of doing everything, but after years in th same job you no longer have that attitude and wing it more, and just trust your instincts.
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