Friday, 11 January 2013

Big Words on Tiny Ears

My parenting style changes every day. Some days I think to myself there is no style, no technique, no fad, just love. Be myself, be comfortable, create a peaceful environment and love her in it. Strip it back and just go with my instincts.

Other days I'm dynamic Mum. Book Mum. Gina Mum. Rapley Mum. Jo Frost Mum.

I like being easily influenced. I like letting too many influences in. It's flexibility. It's being absorbent and experiencing life around you. There's something young and naive about having that much faith in everything and I love it. I don't want to be a cynic.

Today I'm "an-article-my-friend-Jane-found-in-the-Telegraph-Mum". Crudely summarised the article talked about the differences between girls and boys. Boys are power focused. Raising boys is about managing their relationship to power. Girls are about vulnerability and seeking acceptance. Apparently raising girls is about managing their want for approval and ensuring that they do not define themselves by approval from others.

Interesting. Often we (Steve and I) have commented to each other that Euna seems to mostly learn by accident. She does something by random chance and consolidates that knowledge when we praise her. For example she learnt to clap in the bath. I was pouring a trickle of water from a jug on to her belly, she tried to catch the water and executed an accidental clap. I praised her, clapped along, clapped along and now if I say "clap hands!" she claps.

So of my survey of one, The Telegraph has hit the nail on the head.

The article then talked about banning the word "good". Instead use other adjectives such as clever, strong, creative, loving etc. "YOU'RE SUCH A GENEROUS GIRL!" "THAT'S SO SMART! WELL DONE!" and so on.

I have clear memories of my parents debating about how, as parents, they should respond to me crying. Was I being silly and oversensitive? Or was I being empathetic and caring? My Dad (I see now with my baby as the eternal push-over) perceived me as empathetic. I was praised for it. I am now a very sensitive soul. I've bought homeless people dinner. I SOB at soap operas, game shows, charity appeals, pixar animations. I like that about myself. I see it as a strength. Now, am I like that because I was praised for it? Would I have always been like that but the variable is whether or not I'd grow to like it about myself? Should someone have toughened me up? All debatable.

Like with so many discussions I have with myself regarding parenting I loop back around to the time old nature versus nurture conundrum.

However, what I do not want is too much of an emphasis on obedience. I want her to be gentle because she is loving, not because I told her. Thoughtful because she enjoys exercising her clever mind, not because her teacher will be cross if she doesn't. Funny because she likes expressing wit, not because her friends laugh. I want her to be wonderful things independently.

So whilst I'm talking to her I will definitely be throwing in a wider vocabulary of praising words. She is strong and clever and brave and affectionate and she will be praised more specifically for it. The pinch of salt taking comes in the form of not damning myself when a "good girl" slips out.


Her ears are tiny, so words are big.

I want to be a thoughtful parent so I'll think, but I want to be a relaxed parent so I'll forgive myself at the same time.

If you Pintrest it there are million inspirational "10 Things to Tell Your Child Everyday" esc links to feel fuzzy reading and get your broader positive reinforcement vocal started... I started a board for you guys.


  1. great photos. "her ears are tiny so words are big" I like it. Lots to think about.

  2. Great post! Very thoughtful. Occasionally I have to catch myself when I'm envisioning my daughters future. I don't want to be one of those mothers that pressure their children into something because it somehow fulfills what they want in a child. Don't get me wrong, I won't be disappointed if she gets a full ride to Harvard, but I want it to be something that she want's for herself, not because she's afraid of letting us down.

    Parenting is a tricky balance. You have to know when to step in, and when to sit back and allow them to decide for themselves.

    Once again , great post. I agree with Emmy, lots to think about.


  3. I really like this post Charlie ~ is is such a struggle daily for most parents to really understand what type of parent they want to be to their child because you are so right, it constantly changes.

    I am a little too hard on Reagan because I have an innate need to be perfect all the time...and while I am learning to lighten up and let go...I need to make sure that I never make Reagan feel like that. I don't wan't that for her!



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