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Tuesday, 22 August 2006



That's basically it, right there. I think a good thing to ask yourself is this (using the wanting to eat outside thing as an example): if Amy said she wanted to eat supper sitting on the back step, would you refuse to let her? No, because you love her. You want her to enjoy her life. It's really the same with kids. As long as what they want to do isn't hurting them or anyone else, then why not? No reason to be so hemmed in by convention that the delights of breaking rank can't be appreciated.

That's what makes for a teenager who still has imagination and energy and isn't afraid to think outside the box. And, more importantly, will happily share his enthusiasms with you.


I remember quite clearly one day at my house several years ago. My parents were visiting for dinner. Matthew (who was about three or so at the time) was tugging at my sleeve, and asking me for something. I said, "no."

My mother looked at me and asked, "why not?" It occurred to me that I did not have a reason why not. When I thought about it, I realised there was no good reason to deny him what he was asking for at that moment (the specific details are lost in the haze of time, but I remember the situation like it was yesterday). It had just been a knee jerk response to a question I really hadn't paid any attention to.

From that day forward, whenever Matthew has asked me for something, I have thought about the question before answering. The answer may still be no, but if it is, I have a darn good reason for it, and am prepared to explain it to him if requested.

Funny how our lives can be so affected by a instant in time.


Thanks for the post. I've needed a bit of a kick in the pants lately re: taking my kids for granted. My big theory last week was that since my children have allowed me "to become like a child again" in the area of wonder and excitement about the world, I figured it was expected that I'd also got a bit of their lack of control and tendency to tantrums and tears. :)

What an important thing to find the way your family functions and to start it NOW, and not wait for some ethereal time in the future. Like you said, it probably won't happen.

So, thanks, Simon. Good insights.


It's really rather reassuring to hear that you have the same philosophy as I do regarding allowing your kids to do their own thing. Who cares if he wants to eat dinner walking around? I never eat at the table unless we're having company. Why should I expect him to sit down to a conventional dinner every night? I like to think of it as picking your battles.


Wish I could tell you that your and Amy's very intelligent and insightful ideas on parenting will serve you well, grasshopper. For the most part, they will and I congratulate you in advance. But let me tell you, JuJu (and I don't think she will mind me telling you this) turned inside out and into an entirely different child around age 12 and nothing, repeat NOTHING ever worked again. Small miracle either of us lived to tell about it. What I guess I'm trying to convey here is that you always have to allow for (and expect) the unexpected. With prayers and determination though, you end up with a prize like Ju ;-)


I can't believe she told you that.



Great post, very insightful. I often forget that I should not be engaging in a battle of wills with my toddler. Perhaps if I remember your blog entry next time trying to get my son to do something I'll relax a little bit. I'm having my wife read this one.


No, Simon you are quite wrong. The beauty of living with children is that you learn, and the same mistakes (and hard-headedness) you make when your children are willful toddlers will not be duplicated when they are teens. For one, you have learned WHO your child is, and that not every thing they do is a reflection of how you parent. I, too, always thought I'd have a terrible time with teenage years given the terrible twos (from 18 mo. to 5 years, in my case) of my daughter, but the intervening years have given me a much better appreciation of who she is and how I can best deal with her, given that.


Paula, I think we're both right. The point I was trying to make was, in part, the importance of learning from the experience we garner early on in parenting. Your awareness of the tough toddler years gives you new insight into your growing kids. The young mother I knew, for the entire time I knew her, never changed her approach to raising her son, even though it was painfully obvious that she wasn't learning from her (and the boy's) mistakes.

To use your words, she didn't get a better appreciation of who her son was or how to deal with him.

So by saying that our approach will be the same now as in the teenage years, I meant the intent to learn from the experience and approach it from a point of empathy, rather than implying our actions will be the same.

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