It seems like the moment you have a baby everyone suddenly becomes a baby expert and offers their opinion, often referred to as unsolicited advice. As time goes by and as your child grows up it is essential that you have clear rules and boundaries in place, so that those who come into contact with your children know what is expected of them. There is nothing more depleting than you declaring that your children should not indulge in any sweet treats, only to find they have been spoilt with sweet treats whilst being in this individuals care.
When we send our children to an educational establishment, we do so expecting them to be taught and for them to learn. This is no different to when we send our children to someone to be looked after, except we expect the individual to follow our instructions and understand that we are raising our children a certain way. Every parent is different and so are children; no two children are exactly the same. Some parents are laidback, and some are much stricter, but regardless of their parenting style every parent has their own expectations in regard to the care of their children.
Rules, boundaries and consistency are so important as is having an established routine. Having a routine helps your child to know what is going to happen next, for example having their dinner and then having their bath, followed by a mini massage and then their milk and story time helps them to understand that this is a part of their bedtime routine. So, they will learn that in the evening dinner will come first and so forth. You may find that after a while your child will begin to help you to prepare for what happens next as they grow up, you may see them going to get their pyjamas out and choosing their toys for bath time. Not having an established routine can at times bring chaos because everything is always unsettled and unpredictable, the child never knows what is coming next and so does not know what to expect. This can lead to feelings of anxiety.
Boundaries are also essential to have and so are rules because they help your children to understand what you expect of them and what you will and will not tolerate. This also applies to those looking after them or coming into contact with your children. Children tend to push boundaries a lot, this is a common fact, but so long as you are firm and consistent with your rules and boundaries they will start to realise that you mean business. It is never too late or never too early to implement rules, boundaries and routine; start as you mean to go on and continue to raise your children how you would like to raise them.
Everything that you are teaching your children now will stay with them for a lifetime, you are helping to raise the next generation. They will learn as they grow up, go to school, college, perhaps university if they desire and then finally into the world of work that rules and boundaries will always be there in everything. From a very young age they would have established the importance of rules, boundaries and consistency because you paved the way for them to understand.
In the same way that you are firm with your children be the same with other people if they dare to challenge you and your parenting skills. One shoe does not fit all, so what works for them may not necessarily work for you. I cannot stress this enough, but you must not give in and succumb to the desires of others. In this life we must do what is best for our families and we have to understand that we are our children’s first teachers, they look to us for everything first. So, stay strong and parent YOUR way. People will not always understand what you are doing and that is fine, but what people should not do is try to raise your children differently to what you are doing.
I often hear stories of how aunts or grandparents in particular decide that they are going to bend the rules and to be fair this is a difficult one, because they are wiser and tend to have a wealth of knowledge and experience behind them. I understand why you would not want to step on their toes, but at the same time times have changed. My advice to dealing with their advice and anyone’s advice in general is to simply say, “I really appreciate you. Thank you for your advice, but I am doing it this way because…!” Listening to their advice does not mean that you must take it, but it is always nice especially to the older generation to let them know that you appreciate their advice, but your way works for you.
It is completely okay if you are not raising your children how other people expect you to, you are their mother after all, you carried them, so you know them best. When you look at your children if they are happy, healthy and thriving that means you are doing a fantastic job and that counts! Listen to your intuition and go with what makes you and your children happy. We cannot please everyone, but so long as we please our children that is the most important thing!
Let me know your thoughts below!
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