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Hydrogenbond's avatar

How have your views changed on parenting from before having a kid to after having the kid?

Asked by Hydrogenbond (365 points ) February 15th, 2010

You know when you’re younger and you’re pissed off at your parents for something that you don’t think you should get in trouble for, then you think to yourself “I’m never going to be a jackass parent like that, I’m going to let my kids do [this and that]” . When you actually have had a child what do you think of those thoughts you once had?

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14 Answers

ridicawu's avatar

I don’t have a child, nor do I plan on having one for (hopefully) at least ten years… however I did work in an elementary school. Working with K-5 kids definitely changed my mind with how I used to view things as a kid. It’s really strange when I would find myself doing things that I said I would never do once I became a “grown up”. My favorite thing I told myself and/or my parents is a tie between sitting super close to the television screen or me letting my future children eat McDonalds whenever they wanted to.

galileogirl's avatar

Nope. When I was young and doing somerhing stupid. I knew very well it was stupid. The trick was to prevent my Dad from finding out how stupid. When he did find out, I figured “Fair catch” He was just doing his job. It madw me and my siblings better, and more aware parents.

However once in our 40’s we were reminiscing about some of our teen tricks, he got a little white around the lips and left the room

Cruiser's avatar

It’s all going along pretty much according to my plans but I did not prepare myself for the level of debate that I would find myself up against. The words “being firm” takes on a whole new meaning with kids! Sheesh!

Jack79's avatar

Two things:

The first is that, as a former teacher, I always believed that the environment was a lot more important than genetics and that children could be taught anything, if you did it right. My daughter spoke 4 languages before she could ever count to 5, despite my best efforts to teach her maths, loved astronomy and geography and hated dolls, loved the ballet but not pink, horses but not flowers, and enjoyed the cold more than the heat. Some of these things may coincide with my own preferences, but I don’t think she actually picked them up from me. Others make no sense at all, and I’m pretty sure they were inherent (albeit passed on genetically from me in the first place). She is a very stubborn child, and has been so from day 1 (I remember how she’d drink enormous amounts of milk in one gulp, but refuse a single drop after that). And she had a very strong sense of self, a powerful personality and a maturity way beyond her years. We could have a normal conversation by the time she was 1, and serious discussions by the time she was 3. And she still couldn’t count to 5.

The second thing is that I figured some of the things we get so worked up about don’t really matter. I was against using dummies (pacifiers in Americanese) and all for potty training early on. I’ve changed both views, and think that every child has its own needs which need to be respected. My daughter never breast-fed, and so dummies soothed her, especially since she was supposed to sleep alone (another thing I have come to question, and perhaps I should have allowed her to sleep with me, after all). And there’s no point pushing kids to do something they’re not ready for. My daughter would name all the countries in the EU with their capitals (which most adults here can’t), and then ask for a diaper change. That’s just the way kids are.

And you can never give a child too many hugs, too many kisses, too much love. That’s one thing I don’t regret. I always carried her whenever she wanted me to (usually on my shoulders), let her run when she felt like it, and had my arms ready for her whenever she needed them. I consider myself a very strict father when it comes to rules, especially ones to do with safety. But you can never love a child enough.

Ron_C's avatar

My kids are grown and we are no approaching great grand parenthood. I don’t believe that my wife and I had a ‘preconceived parenting views”. We were more concerned with them reaching adulthood alive. My kids were daredevils and participated in many frightening (to me) situations. I once caught them crossing the log we used to suspend the swings and jumping to the back deck. That, their dives at the community pool, driving and biking habits lead to several trips to the emergency room.

The job for parents is to allow the kids freedom to experiment while teaching them responsible behaviour.

AstroChuck's avatar

Before I was opposed to killing.

cookieman's avatar

Every person I knew who had children described parenting as the worst thing ever. “Your life basically ends” one friend told. Horrific tales of sleepless nights, endless noise and loveless marriages.

Also, for seven years prior to us having kids, my angry and socially inept 17-year-old nephew lived with us. And we straightened him up but good.

So by the time we adopted our daughter, we were expecting the worst.

Turns out…not so bad.

Very few of my friends horror stories came true and now, as she is seven, we are all over any sass she tries to throw our way.

Much better than expected.

Supacase's avatar

I thought so many things my parents did were unfair or made no sense. Like they were just trying to make life hard. Ha! I see the purpose in all of the things they did and also see my daughter processing the same thoughts I had when I was young. Classic case of “If I only knew then what I know now.”

nebule's avatar

I thought I would be a lot stricter than I am… I have softened…with the rising of unconditional love!

Ron_C's avatar

My youngest daughter sent me a letter from boot camp. She said that I was tough and too restrictive while she was growing up. Now that she was in boot camp she now realized what great parents we were. She said that we prepared her to be disciplined and self controlled and she learned to work towards her goals. Now that she was in the “real world” she saw the value of our discipline (mixed with love).

We waited 18 years for that letter and all the work and sleepless nights were worth it. There is nothing more rewarding than a successful adult child.

wundayatta's avatar

I am more confirmed in those thoughts than ever. I do not ever want to do to my kids what my parents did to me. Now I may make mistakes, and I may mess up my kids, too, but it will not be the same way my parents did to me!

Val123's avatar

@galileogirl (As a Mother’s Day “Present” to me my now-grown kids proceeded to recount some of the misbehavior I didn’t catch them at! Thanks a lot, guys!)

No, not really. I think most people do change their expectations, but mine have been reasonable and realistic from the beginning. Either that or I just never thought that much about it before I had kids!

YoH's avatar

I had very good parenting and I always liked children when I was a kid myself, so any outlook I had was positive. I don’t know that any views I had changed, but sharing my life with little people along the way,has certainly enriched and enhanced my life more than I ever could have expected.

Val123's avatar

@YoH You are a very welcome addition to here!

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