I am not impressed by a parent making their child add “ ma’am” to their yes. I’m going to go all biblical on you and say: 37Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ I don’t know if it is a parent trying to truly teach a child respect or if it is just a show for others. It often feels like it is a show for others, which they think reflects on the parent being a good parent because they raised their child well JUST by saying yes and no MA’AM. We all parent in different ways. We all teach our children and give our children experiences that we think will allow them to grow into honorable respectable adults. Some parents allow their children to sleep in bed with them, some don’t. Some mothers breast feed. Some don’t. Your parenting choice should be focused on you and your child and not social media worthy. I feel like somewhere along the way the child’s best interest has taken a second seat to “posts”.
I’m scrolling around social media and I am seeing parents sticking cameras in their children’s faces round the clock. When my daughter was young we photographed and videotaped as many special moments that we could. But NOT for social media purposes. And not to impress others and not for show. We videotaped because of the preciousness of the innocent moment that we wanted to capture and keep forever.
I don’t know the motivation, intention, or plan of parents now as they raise their children. I see on social media, “ The problem with kids now is they didn’t have this,” with a photo of a paddle or a belt. Videos and memes and gifs of what makes a good parent. It is all a bit nauseating to me.
I feel as if it is all, “ My child is better than yours! Look what mine can do! And this is how we get it done! And if you don’t do this or that (spank, breastfeed, make them do math at 2 years old) then you suck!”
Children are no longer raised to use their instincts. They are forced to stand strong, suck it up, and say yes ma’am and go hug uncle Bob and go kiss aunt Judy because THAT is what shows YOU are a good parent. Let me tell you right now that by doing these things you are NOT being a good parent. You are more worried and concerned by what other think than what is good for your child’s development.
What if uncle Bob makes them uncomfortable. What if they hide behind your leg and CLEARLY show you they are uncomfortable and yet you pull them out and force them to hug uncle Bob. You are taking away their instinct. They will no longer see you as a protector. Once you do this over and over and over again, that instinct is gone. Then when they are 18 years old about to step into an elevator and they see a man is in there, they don’t listen to that voice that says, “ It is unsafe to get into an elevator with that man based on how you feel.” They are thinking, “ Mom and dad always told me to be polite, be nice, don’t offend anyone, so I’m going to get on the elevator because I don’t want anyone to think I wasn’t raised right.”
I got my degree in child development for a reason. While getting that degree I learned that children need to feel heard, feel safe, and taught to follow their instinct. They need boundaries and consequences. They need positive reinforcement. They need unconditional love.
If I can give some advice in raising your children it would be this: Raise your child in safety and love, keeping in mind that your child matters more than what other people think (on social media) of how you are raising her. This is not show and tell of your child. Be immersed in moments with your child. Don’t let your mind wander to social media and if you should post it or not. Live it! Add to your child’s growth, do not diminish. Allow instinct, creativity, and imagination. Engage in being full present and put down the phone. Stop thinking about what would look good in a story to your friends, and full focus on what would FEEL good in your child’s heart. Get the camera out of their face and put their hands on a flower to plant in the garden. Teach them the names of trees and birds and flowers.
If you teach them to respect they won’t need a word to show respect.
Hey, use ma’am if you want. But back it up with some real parenting. Your child deserves that.