I started writing a post the other day about how my personality is totally not suited to parenting my particular kids and how I’ve had to change A LOT to accommodate them and their particular needs, based on who they are as individuals. I essentially need to be like an actor and get “into character” a lot of the time. I’m not done writing that post yet but I but I hope to finish it soon.
Anyway. I am generally a chilled and lazy kind of girl who likes to go with the flow. I’m not big on routine and organisation (even though I THRIVE under those circumstances) and I don’t like to conform or to be governed by the time. However, that approach simply DOES NOT work with my particular kids. They MUST have a routine, there MUST be a proper plan and things must be JUST SO. I’ve essentially had to become part nurturer, part tiger. The tiger part means that things get done JUST SO. The tiger part also means that I am the only one calling the shots at all times.
I’m still struggling to find a fair balance with Child2 because he’s extremely rigid, but with Child1 it means that I make the decisions, that MY opinions are the only ones that count and that I am the Parent and he’s the Child. Period. There’s little to no negotiation and I’m not interested in his opinion unless I ask for it and even then, it doesn’t mean that I have to take it into account. He knows this.
Now that he’s older I do include him a bit more in decision-making and I do listen to his opinion a lot more. In fact, I may occasionally even base a decision on his opinion because he occasionally makes a bit of sense but this happens few and far times in between. He still knows who’s the Parent and who’s the Child. I know it doesn’t sound terribly fair but unfortunately this is the best way to parent my ADHD kid. In order to parent him effectively, I essentially have to go ARMY on him (while being a nurturing presence) and there must be VERY VERY VERY clear boundaries.
So I decided (as the Tiger) that their bikes are going to be upgraded and that this will be their Christmas gift. I have plans to buy myself a 2nd hand bicycle early in next year (have already spoken to my friend who’s going to sell me hers) and I have these visions of us cycling as a family. Basically, that is MY vision. It’s going to happen, whether or not they like it. As I said I am the boss and I can be, because my DH works a lot and I’m essentially a Single Married Mom for about 95% of the time.
Well. They both have very different ideas of what they want their Christmas gifts to look like. They are each getting ONLY one gift. My DH and I decided last year that Christmas is actually the birthday of Jesus and although everyone is invited to His party it doesn’t mean that we need to over-indulge them with the material stuff. So. One gift at Christmas and when it’s THEIR birthdays during the year, they will be over-indulged to the max.
Child2 keeps saying “I want trampoline. I want trampoline”. Sigh. I keep telling him that he’s getting a new, bigger bike. He says “I want trampoline”. Child2 has never been interested in Christmas in his life! This is the first time he’s putting in a proper request. Earlier this year he wanted some other arb stuff – a grey crayon and an apple and a biscuit among other things.
Child1 wanted a Tablet. Of course I said “NO, are you bloody kidding me!”. I told him that he’s getting an upgraded, bigger, more expensive bike. Then he asked for an ipod. When I gave him “the look” he said that an mp3 player would be fine too. Now he just talks about this Mp3 player that he’s getting!
So here’s my question. Do we stick to my vision for health and fitness and the outdoors in 2014 or do I actually get them what they want? Ugh. This should be an easy decision but the Tiger in me is acting out and is growling. They are not getting more than one gift so basically it’s either a trampoline OR a bike for Child2 and an Mp3 player OR a bike for Child1.
What would you do? Would you give them what they wanted or would you stick to your vision? Are you Tiger when you need to be? Do you parent with democracy in mind? Or do you parent like a dictator? Does your personality suit your parenting or have you had to change?