When I became pregnant, I was young, scared, and paranoid that everything that could go wrong would go wrong. I ran out and bought a baby heart monitor that I would lay In bed with every night. I bought the pregnancy books and I had a new list of questions for my doctor every visit. One of my biggest ways of coping with my constant fears and questions was pregnancy chat forums like babycenter and circleofmoms. On these sites, I could find women with all of the same crazy questions and concerns as me. Not sure if that’s gas or a baby kick? There’s a forum for that. Is being this tired normal? Forum for that. Can I eat that food? Forum for that. These forums helped calm my nerves and guided me through my pregnancy complications and bed rest. After enjoying these forums so much while pregnant, I naturally turned to them as well once my son arrived, but I’ve quickly become more and more disappointed by what I’ve found on these sites.
I recently began having issues with my son while at restaurants. The second he turned one, it was as though a switch was flipped and he suddenly began acting out at restaurants in a way that was obviously disturbing to those around us. It upset me that not only was I being glared at by those around me, but even more, it upset me that nothing I did to soothe my son seemed to work. Being a first time mom, I had no idea what to do in these situations, so I went to the internet in an attempt to seek advice. Upon finding an open forum started by a mom with the exact same issue as me, I was completely disappointed with the responses I found. Fellow mothers were taking over the forum and absolutely destroying the mother who simply wanted advice as to how to teach her child to behave in a restaurant. One mothers response in particular stood out to me. She said something along the lines of “you are a terrible person for trying to train your child. Children should not be trained, they are not pets”. Excuse me? Since when is teaching your child good behavior and proper manners treating them like a pet? Has the current generation of child raisers become that morphed in their thinking that they view discipline as an abusive practice? I would like to apologize to anybody offended by my thoughts on this matter, but I can’t, because I truly am not sorry for thinking that children should be raised to grow into respectable adults.
I am honestly nervous about the future my son will face. Raising a well behaved and respectful child is proving to be a more and more difficult task when surrounded by a world of new age parents who view teaching respect and good manners as an abusive practice. Teaching your child right from wrong.. Teaching your child how to behave in public.. Teaching your child to respect.. These are things that I feel are common sense, and by no means does teaching my child these things mean that I love him any less. While I realize that he is still young and is unable to communicate his feelings, it is my job to use my judgement to determine how to respond to the situation, and it is my job to respond in a way that my young son will understand. It is not mean to encourage my son to have good behavior… it is mean to allow him to grow up thinking that he is free to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I feel as though there is a very negative connotation tied to the idea of “disciplining” your child. Discipline does not have to be harsh and it does not have to be mean. Discipline and good behavior can one hundred percent be taught through love, respect, and understanding.
I have found that raising my child is not simply me raising my child. It feels as though there are always watchers. If I tell my child no in public, there are parents who look at me as though I am cruel. If I let me child do what he wants in public, there are parents that look at me with disgust. There is no way to please everyone, so with each day and each public outing, I am left to make a decision not for the public, not for me, but for my son. I want my son to grow in to a strong, respectable, polite man. I could choose to overly baby him now. I could choose to let him do whatever he wants. I could choose to let him call the shots. But when would that end? At what point would he suddenly become the respectable man that I wish for him to be? It does not just suddenly happen. Good behavior is something that starts young. It is something that must be taught, and it is something that takes time. So what better time to start than now? I am not “training my child like I would a dog”, as the forum mother said. I am simply teaching my child to be a good person, and I am doing my best to teach my child that in a way that he understands.
I would like to know what other moms think about this topic. I am not here to argue, and I am completely open to hearing all opinions. As I’ve said before, I am a first time mom. I am stumbling my way through parenthood and hoping I making the right turns along the way. If you have any thoughts on this matter, I would love to hear them.