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Parenting Styles

I had an excellent opportunity to get a good look at my siblings parenting styles over Thanksgiving and I'm certain that I'll get another taste during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. I'm one to resist spewing parenting advice to others for the simple reason that no matter what the kids do at home, there is really no way of knowing what they will do when they are in public.

Long story short, Thursday night I broke my own rule of not becoming involved. No, one of the cousins did not whack one of my girls on the head or try to sneak peanuts to my baby with a severe peanut allergy. The little darling disrespected my mom's home.

I didn't lose control and even managed not to criticize my sister's severely relaxed parenting style but I just could not keep my mouth shut. She was raised in the same house as I was with the same values and to see her let her child get away with a level of destructive behavior that we never would have been caught dead practicing under the darkest cover of darkness or under a cloak of anonymity, much less in the middle of a family gathering in full daylight was just too much.

To give you some background, mom has had the same living room furniture all my life. On her birthday we pooled our resources and bought her a new set of end tables and a coffee table challenging dad to buy a sofa, chair and loveseat which he did. Thursday was her day to show the completed room off and you could tell that she was so very proud.

I reminded my girls to mind their manners and keep food at the table and to play outside as did all of my brothers and sisters EXCEPT for the one who believes in a loose and indulgent style of parenting. Things started out alright and then her little boy got rowdy and thought it was a good idea to stand on the coffee table, jump on the new sofa and break a lamp. After each incident, the expected admonishment never arrived.

Finally, after the lamp crashed to the floor. I took matters into my own hands and told the little boy to get outside with the other children and pulled my sister aside to give her a piece of my mind. She proceeded to give me a rundown of her preferred style of child-rearing and how she wanted her child to have freedom to make his own choices to build his self-esteem. Parenting styles and self esteem be hanged, that was my mother's house and I shared a piece of my mind and shared a little unappreciated advice with her on how to discipline her son.

Was I wrong in the way I handled the situation? I would appreciate it if those of you who visit Family Recipes, Babies and Parenting Issues would give me a little advice before the family Christmas get-together.


Kris said...

I agree, it's hard not to tell other how to parent thier children. My sister is a really bad parent and well...lets just leave it at that!