I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is the fear of failure. My mom said the most brilliant thing to me the other day: "No one holds their tiny newborn in their arms and says, 'I can't wait to screw up your life.'" :) Most parents want to raise their children to be loving, caring, confident and happy adults. It's the raising part that's tough! :)
As a homeschooling mom, I believe children "should" be socialized by their parents. Most specifically, ME because I'm with them the majority of the time. The rest of their socialization comes from their dad, close family, close friends, daily outings to the store with me, swimming lessons and their German school (which they adore). I have more people say to me, "Well that's great they're in German school so they can get socialization skills." And I think that's absolutely backwards. I just politely agree and change the subject. :) I enrolled them for the language experience. I didn't do it to socialize them. I mean seriously, look at much of our youth today and ask yourself if that's really how you want your child socialized. Children can very easily be socialized to get along with people of ALL AGES. Does this mean I think all schooled kids are unsocialized? Nope... *wink* I just think parents can do it better.
For lack of a better way to put it, I'm hoping to raise two little mini-me's. :) They'll develop their own personalities and their own goals, but I want them to have my gigantic teethy smile. I want them to have my mannerisms and my humble (although opinionated) nature. I want them to be green republicans! :) I want them to have their dad's love for swimming, his 6th sense for things and his money management skills. I want them to grow up very frugal in a world that constantly wants MORE, no matter how much money they have. I want them to grow up knowing all about nutrition and living natural, healthy, Christian lives. Even non-homeschooled children can be like this if they spend ENOUGH time with their parents... to override the socialization they receive in school. Sadly for many, it's hard to find time like that after athletics, lessons, tv, friend's houses, etc. I want the girls with ME as much as possible.
But parenting is hard and it's even harder when others doubt your parenting skills. A few months back, the German school told me my oldest (she's four - turning five soon) was hitting, pushing and shoving and taking things from others (bullying) at school. I was mortified to learn it had been happening for months and this was the first time they'd mentioned it. We've been working on it like crazy since (printed rules was huge) and I really thought things were getting a lot better. She still bullies her younger sister (three years old) some, but it's gotten so much better... So I'd thought. I just found out that she's been bullying another child for a while... and get this... It's the first I'm hearing of it. JUST PERFECT I can't do anything about it if I don't know it's happening. Because it certainly doesn't happen in front of me! If it did, it would be dealt with. German school starts back up in a few weeks and I thought this problem was getting better!? *sigh* To top that off, I'm also getting my first big dose of disrespectful back-talk from BOTH GIRLS. Wow, has that thrown me for a loop. EEEK!
Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do.
Most people who REALLY know me, know I'm pretty strict. I come down quite hard on the girls (in a loving and respectful way) and I try to be rigidly consistent. But I try to stay positive as much as possible. Love the book The Power of a Positive Mom.
Sadly, I guess I "appear" wimpy since I remain calm. I absolutely refuse to discipline, chastise or yell at the girls in public. I just won't humiliate them like that. I wouldn't do that to any other person (adult or child) on the planet so I can't imagine why children don't deserve the same dignified respect. I semi-calmly remove them from the area and deal with it PRIVATELY. Even at family's houses, we go into another room. In stores or restaurants, we go to the car if it's necessary. ANYWHERE - I remove them from the situation first. I don't spank so most of the time they get time-outs and/or lose privileges for major offenses. If it's not a major offense, I just discuss it with them. This doesn't mean I don't get mad or upset - I do... But all of this is handled privately. I'm not going to stand there beating my chest like an ape, humiliating my child for everyone else's visual gratification. But I guess this comes across as weak parenting. *sigh* In the words of a good friend (she's in Heaven now)...
W H A T E V E R ! :)
I know I'm doing a good job so that's all that matters. :)
Today we've starting a new reward system to help combat the bullying. We bought a bunch of really cute magnets and are using them on our dry-erase calendar for good days. I will always give her the benefit of the doubt so she gets a magnet on the current day, first thing in the morning - start the day off positive. But throughout the day, she can lose and re-earn it with her actions. If she earns her magnets for the whole week (Sunday through Saturday), she gets $1. She's about to begin 1st grade math (homeschool) so she does understand money a bit and is THRILLED about it. I'm still working out how to divvy out the money because having ONE bad day would throw the whole thing off... Maybe the week will be worth $1 but each day without a magnet deducts from that... ??? I'll figure it out. :) I'm just glad she is THRILLED over the idea.
Now don't anyone read too much into my mention of spanking. I was spanked as a child and I'm FINE. :) I'm not scarred for life and actually think I turned out quite well, as did my siblings. I don't have any philosophical problems with spanking either. If you choose to do so, then I'm glad it works for you! I just personally can't do it. I've definitely thought about it, but can't bring myself to actually hit either of the girls. So consistent time-outs, privilege-loss and "talking" works for me. :) Everyone parents in their own way and I fully respect the way OTHERS choose to do that. For those of us who don't say, " I can't wait to screw up your life."... our kids will turn out wonderful! No matter how we choose to discipline and parent our babies! :)