Thursday, June 24, 2010

Me? Strict? If I Need to Be

I'm trying hard to think of something to write that isn't about my in-laws. It's hard, because this evening seemed to have more conversations about them than normal.

Ace and I were discussing what our thoughts are regarding his parents and our future children. We discussed the fact that we're willing to seem strict to our kids and our parents alike, if need be. We want to ensure that our authority is rock solid in our kids minds.

I mentioned that I'd be willing to take away inappropriate gifts, even ones given for birthdays or Christmas, if I felt it necessary. I'm willing to be seen as mean and unbending if it teaches my kids that they can't wear me down to get their way. Which is not to say that I plan on being unreasonable. I just don't want my kids eating candy/having dessert/pigging out everyday. I want to instill good eating habits in them from a young age.

Basically, I don't plan on letting my in-laws do some of the things that they've done with my niece. I recognize that life has a way of changing plans, but so far I'm trying not to be completely insane when planning how I want to raise my children. I just want my kids to understand that I love them, so when I make a decision about a food or a toy it's because I feel that it's what's best for them.

And as much as I'm not willing to let my in-laws do those things, I'm not willing to let my dad do them either. Knowing my dad, that shouldn't be a problem. My dad would be more than happy to clear things with me first if something is questionable. He wouldn't go against my wishes. I don't know that my in-laws would do the same, and I find it frustrating.

I'm trying to walk a line here. Like usual, I'm thinking carefully about what I put in a public place and what to leave unsaid. I'm trying to balance my feelings on the subject with the knowledge that someday one of my in-laws might potentially see this. I don't want to say something deeply hurtful, but I also don't want to ignore my feelings and let them fester.

I realize that since I'm not currently raising a child these thoughts might seem silly to parents. I recognize that reality might necessitate changes to some of our plans. But at the same time, the core thought should never change. My kids should know they are loved even when I'm doing something they don't like. My dad likes to remind me that parenting isn't a popularity contest, and that's part of what has driven our decision to potentially seem strict.

I'd rather my child "hate" me for a week over not getting a toy than have something much worse happen if I could have stopped it by staying an authority figure in my child's life. Kids will get over not getting toys/candy/dessert/whatever, most of the time within minutes or hours. I don't know if I'd be able to fully forgive myself if I let my child get hurt or killed because they didn't see me as having authority. And that is something worth remembering when boundaries are tested (by my kids or their grandparents).
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