How to Make Right Decisions As Parents
Decision-Making Is Never Easy When A Life Is At Stake
One of the hardest things about being a parent is making decisions that you know are going to affect the lives of your child. Make the wrong decision, and you could be faced with a lifetime of guilt. Whether they make you feel guilty forever (“I’m anti-social because you never let me go to kindy”) or just for a little while (“I hate you!” when you say no to giving them a chocolate bar and only offer them fruit instead).
The key is, that you have to make the decision that you feel is right at the time … and then deal with the consequences.
Facing The Consequences
A story on the news today talks about a mum whose 2 year old refused to get out of the car, so she just gave up. Said “fine”, shut the door and left her 2 year old and 16 month old in the car. It’s a simple decision that many parents have made. I know I’ve shut the door on my kids once or twice and just said “fine, stay there then” and walked away. But of course I always went back within a minute and got them out (and I never did it in summer). This mother, she didn’t go back out. She went inside and smoked marijuana, then promptly fell asleep. Three hours later she woke up, went outside and found both her children had died in the 30+ degree heat.
She made the decision to punish her kids for not listening by just shutting the door on them and giving up. Sometimes that moment of giving up is just easier than dealing with a tantrum. Unfortunately it was the decisions she made after that which resulted in the end of their lives and the guilt she will feel for the rest of her life will no doubt be haunting.
But that’s the thing. Sometimes, it’s just easier to give up than it is to deal with the tantrum. As long as you’re prepared to face the consequences. For example, the kids are playing and start throwing things around the room. I go in and they get in trouble. I walk away and it continues. The decision is – do I continue to yell at them, scream, get annoyed, try talking to them and explaining why they shouldn’t do it (have you ever tried to “explain” anything to a 20 month old boy?), take the toys off them and know that the next 10 minutes will result in non-stop screaming … or do you just walk away. Sometimes, I admit, I just walk away. And when they are done playing an hour later, the entire room is like a bomb hit.
Decisions Start In The Womb
These are the simple decisions. As parents we also face harder decisions, and it begins before we conceive, and then from every day onwards. If we plan to have children, we have to decide whether we’re going to start eating better, stop drinking wine, quit smoking, exercise more or less – anything that could assist us to fall pregnant easier and with a healthier bub. Then in pregnancy we’re faced with so much anxiety that every single decision we make affects our mentality. What do we eat, why we shouldn’t do this, do that, even silly things like the music we listen to affecting our unborn child. And if we happen to miscarry or give birth to a stillborn baby, we’re faced with the concerns that it was a direct result of the choices we made (which, 99% of the time, it isn’t).
We have our babies and we have to make the decision whether to breast feed or bottle feed, and face the consequences of either. Bottle feed and we face scrutiny by nursing staff, doctors, specialists, family, friends – anything who thinks breast is best. And then when our child gets sick we’re told “if you were breastfeeding that wouldn’t happen”, and so on. And we spend our lives wondering if our children are getting sick often, because we didn’t breast feed. And if we DO breastfeed, we face concern that our baby isn’t getting enough food, or too much food, and so on.
We have to decide on vaccinations and whether to get these for our children, though for some of us it’s not really an option; but perhaps we’re a week late to get a vaccination and the baby gets sick and we spend the next week blaming ourselves.
Do we send them to daycare and then if we do, and they get sick, should we have kept them home longer? Do we send them to prep when they are so little, and if they struggle we feel guilt we should have kept them home longer. And it continues right through school, into high school, and I’m sure even into adulthood. Every time I go to my mum for advice, I have no doubt she considers it afterwards and wonders if she told me the right thing – and how what she says would affect me or my children.
Every decision we make as parents COULD affect the lives of our children forever… and that is a tough fact to deal with on a daily basis.
I think what we need to remember is that we all make mistakes and it’s important that whatever we do, we consider it carefully before, during and after the decision is made. Consider the consequences, and then decide if the potential consequences are worth it. I can handle a little bit of mess in the house; but I couldn’t handle my children dying because I wanted to teach them a lesson.