Today's prompt is to discuss what has surprised me the most about parenting. Actually, that's not really what the prompt said (it actually asked what I've learned most about being a patient that has surprised me), but that's the interpretation I'm going with and what I'm going to talk about.
When the kid was little (5 and under), I parented intentionally. I have a lot of knowledge and experience with kids in that age range. I know what to expect developmentally and behaviorally. I know lots of parenting strategies that work well.
I knew just how I wanted to mother him, and, because I was so confident and had the experience, knowledge, and reasoning to back it up, hubby was fully on board with that. We generally were in agreement about things as they related to the kid.
Of course, just because I had a plan, that didn't mean everything always went according to that plan, or, honestly, that the plan was the best one. I screwed up. Regularly. But, for the most part, there was a plan on how to proceed, even following screw ups. And I'm a girl who likes a plan. A lot.
I've recently admitted to myself that I am no longer parenting intentionally. And it probably has something to do with why the kid's behavior has been kind of spiraling out of control over the last several month (hell, the last 2 years). In addition to all the changes in his life (baby E, school to start), I've kind of dropped the ball. And, because I have less direction and there is no more plan, hubby has followed suit.
This all has ended up meaning we're doing this [parenting the kid] by the seat of our pants. We're inconsistent. Not only are hubby and I on different pages from each other, we're of different pages ourselves from day to day (heck, sometimes, minute to minute). We're more easily frustrated because we don't know what the hell we're doing. And, heaven knows, the kid is more frustrated and out of control because he has no idea what to expect from us, or what is expected of him.
And it's simply not okay. It's not fair to the kid. It's got to be confusing and frustrating as can be for him to not know what to expect from us. To not know what we expect from him.
Because, the truth is, I don't know. I don't know what I expect from him. I mean, sure, I expect him to be well-behaved. But I'm not sure that developmentally I even know exactly what that should be. Which is why we're all over the place in our expectations of him. Because we - in truth - have no idea what we're doing right now.
My poor kid has some crappy, inconsistent parents right now. I don't like the parenting he's getting. At all. Seriously, I feel really bad for him.
We need to do better. He needs us to do better. We have to do better. Now.
Back to the (self-appointed) topic. What have I found surprising about parenting? Well, so many things. But, recently, I've been surprised how what I thought was so natural for me (parenting) was really just those first 5yrs, the age group I was already comfortable with/knowledgeable about. I think I assumed it would continue to come naturally to me. I neglected to realize that it was something I needed to continue to learn and work at.
Today's Lesson: There is always more to learn. Always. And, when you stop learning, well, things don't go so well.