As a parent, there are many days when I question my choices in parenting.  Being a single parent when my daughter was born, I made decisions about how I would parent her based on my status.  I wanted my daughter to be as independent as she possibly could be, just in case something should happen to me & someone else was raising her, she would know better than to go along with some stupid rule just because it was a rule.  She would know no one has the right to lay a hand on you without your permission, especially not in anger.  She would always have the skills she needed & know she was very much loved by her mother.  Of course, these decisions made in those wee hours of the morning while I was watching her doze off after taking her bottle had far reaching consequences for many years to come.  While I was making sure my daughter would be prepared for the world & all it could throw at her, I forgot to take into account all the years between infancy & adulthood where she would want to make her own decisions too early & be so independent she acted like she didn’t need a mother at all.

Having been brought up in a home where corporal punishment was the rule, I wanted to do things differently, but I didn’t know how.  So I joined a group called “STEP” (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting).  Over a number of weeks I learned how to discipline my child without resorting to corporal punishment or sticking them in a “Naughty Corner”, how to respect my child & their feelings & how to teach them to respect me as well, how to make the punishment a logical & natural consequence of the infraction & how to follow through with discipline even when every bone in my body wanted to resist because sometimes the punishment for the child is more like punishment for the parent.  And there were quite a few times where I had to sit my daughter down & tell her she wasn’t quite old enough to make decisions she was making, like leaving the daycare early when she was only two.  And then there were the days when she would make a decision & I would have to bite my tongue & the inside of my cheek to keep from telling her I would have done things so differently (think goth – jet black hair, thick black eyeliner & pale, pale skin).

There were some very hard years between infancy & adulthood, but now my beautiful daughter is all grown up.  She’s turned into the kind of daughter I would pick if I had every daughter in the world to pick from.  She’s independent, sensitive, intuitive, strong, hard working, kind, compassionate, comical & she’s wise beyond her 30 years.  Now she gives me advice (darn good advice too) & I’m glad she’s comfortable enough to give it.

Even though we struggled, I’m glad I made the decisions I made when she wasn’t even a month old.  She’s the greatest gift a mother could ever get.

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