Mar 5 2009

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.