Breaking the Cardinal Rules of Parenting

I wrote this post last spring and stumbled across it this morning.  I thought I would re-post it since it seemed to fit right in with everything we've been talking about this week.  I'd love to hear about the rules you like to break!

Alice in Wonderland 08 059 The big girls had their dance recital this weekend.  This has meant hours and hours of practice for them.  On Saturday, instead of driving there and back a hundred times, Isabelle and I just decided to stick it out at the Century Center and do all the wild and crazy stuff there is to do in downtown South Bend.   When I was all out of ideas, we went back to check on the girls.  

 There were some seriously grumpy parents waiting and waiting while their girls took their turn rehearsing.  Belle was in her glory, marching around the theater making friends with all of them.  One couple in particular was exceedingly grumpy, and said something mean to her.  I was shocked.  They didn't think I was watching, but I was, and the dad locked eyes with me.  I think he about fell through the floor because he was "caught".  I can't imagine why or how two grown adults could be mean to a 4 year old bubbly, happy, cheerful, friendly girl.  Perhaps they thought she should sit down and knit a sweater while we waited.

This got me to thinking about my parenting.  Sure, I could have kept Belle right by my side, but I had my eye on her every second she was doing her "marching".  She wasn't yelling, screaming, hurting anyone else or herself.  I do things differently than a lot of parents, and maybe someday some of it will get me in trouble…I'm not sure.  Here are some of the cardinal rules of parenting that I break on a semi-regular basis, and why I do.

  • I let my girls go barefooted outside in the summer.  Toes need to feel grass and squish mud.
  • I let them ride their bikes with no helmet.  This one has gotten me in trouble more than any other rule….talk about death glares from parents…sheesh
  • Occasionally I allow them to leave the restroom without washing their hands.  Builds up a great immune system
  • I let them eat something that has fallen on the ground after the 5 second rule…same reason as above, PLUS, I hate wasting money on dropped food.
  • I let the girls go to school in the most fantastic mismatched clothes you have ever seen.  They consider themselves colorful and exciting.  So do I.

I enjoy breaking these rules of parenting because to me it is more important to teach my children to think for themselves then give them a list of rules they need to mindlessly follow.  How about you?  Do you think I'm crazy?  Wrong?  Just curious.

7 thoughts on “Breaking the Cardinal Rules of Parenting

  • March 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm
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    you sound pretty normal to me. i love the bike helmets…we never wore them growing up. barefoot? i thought that was the golden rule of parenting…and LIFE. the mismatched clothes…love it! you are letting your girls be individuals and allow them to make decisions. i have all boys so i can’t relate to the clothes issue. they wear whatever they have. i was inline at a cafe downtown south bend years ago and my son paul came out of the bathroom. i asked him if he washed his hands and he said no…the sink was dirty. there was a friend of mine in line as well who is a doctor. he laughed and said Paul’s penis was cleaner than the sink. he’s safe! so…i think if more people relaxed and let their hair down so to speak… ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • March 5, 2009 at 4:02 pm
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    Bravo! Well said! I agree 100% with all the “rules you break.” And I will tell you, as a mother of 3 small boys, you are NOT alone…. at all! Thanks, this makes me feel less guilty! I needed this!

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  • March 6, 2009 at 6:48 am
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    No bike helmets here either. Barefoot is the best. Victoria makes her own breakfast, and if she doesn’t like school lunch she packs her own – every morning. When I talk to parents who are harried and stressed in the morning trying to get everything done for their kids, while getting themselves ready to go to work, I am glad that I require Victoria to be more independent. Oh and the biggest rule I break, which totally freaks other moms out, is that I allow Victoria to cook on the stove. She makes an awesome scrambled egg, and Ramen noodles. We have an electric stove, so there isn’t any open flame. She burned herself once and has been much more careful since then.

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  • March 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm
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    My kids probably would have loved you. Well except for my son who hated to get dirty. Now that I think about it maybe not, because none of us like dirt (except hubby Marc. It doesn’t bother him as much). I guess they are more like me then I thought (lol). I hate going barefoot ( I don’t even like feet), I don’t ride a bike (tried a couple of times and ran into one to many trashcans. It wasn’t a pretty site). They were picky eaters as children so they would not have eaten off the ground anyway. And Nicki who use to fuss at me because I wanted all of her clothing to match is even worse then me now. Yep, your the normal one. I’m the strange one! Now, I got to disagree on the washing hands thing (sorry). I freak when people leave without washing their hands in a restroom. That’s just gross.

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  • March 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm
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    Wait—there’s “rules” against these?? Guess you can see where I stand! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    My kids don’t make their beds, always put their clean clothes in drawers (and…gasp…leave their drawers open), play ball (and knee hockey) in the house, and always helped me cook! When they were little, we even had “backwards” day–when we ate dessert before dinner!!
    Take me away now–I’ve “failed” as a rules mom! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • March 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm
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    ๐Ÿ™‚ all sounds normal to me! I like your way of thinking and I’m sure your kids arent near as “stressed” as most their peers. I’ve caught my kids barefoot at church before and guess what? I didnt make them put their shoes back on! GASP!

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