How You Were Raised
Take a second and think about how you were raised.
What did you like?
What didn't you like?
What would you change?
How would you change it?
Is it something you want to do with your own child or in your own household?
When I take stock of my own upbringing there are clear answers to the questions above. The easiest of examples I can give revolve around food.
I have a love and a passion for being in the kitchen but it didn't start in childhood. In fact I rarely was allowed in the kitchen to do more then peel potatoes, retrieve an item from the pantry, or set the table. The cooking process itself was foreign to me. When I got married I had very few dishes I knew how to make and poor hubby suffered the consequences of it. It was then that I realized I wanted my child to learn how to cook and to start doing so at an early age. I knew I wanted this for my child before we even started thinking about expanding our family.
Now that I am a parent I still want to teach Bear how to cook. I'm not expecting him to become the next iron chef but I do want him to feel confident that he can put a decent meal on the table for himself or his future family. Bear is obviously a bit too rambunctious for this right now but I will eventually start him off by dumping ingredients into the bowl or helping mix. It is a process after all.
I mentioned above that I would be the one tasked with peeling potatoes. I also spent a decent amount of my childhood shredding zucchini. Something my father grew in his garden by the wheel barrel full! I often helped my dad with the garden as part of my chores. I pulled weeds, tied up tomatoes, and more often then not I had to retrieve whatever my mom requested for that nights dinner. Typically, I ate more green beans I cut off the vine then I carried back up to the house in my bag.
This is something I knew I wanted my kid to experience even before I got married. Working in the garden made me enjoy more foods than most of my peers. Even more than my own brother who did not have to help out in the garden. Why would I not want that for my own child?
Then there is dinner itself. What mostly stood out to me was that my mom made 2-3 meals every night! One for me, one for my brother, (sometimes the same thing) and one for them. Well as a kid sure! As an adult? No, I'm not a short order cook. My kid will eat what I put in front of them or they will go hungry, generally speaking. I have said this for as long as I can remember.
Now that Bear is eating more than just the puréed food you see above, we more often than not give him whatever we are eating if he can have it. As he gets older he will get exactly what we are having for dinner.
When we started thinking about having children it is memories like these that I pulled from when figuring out what type of parent I wanted to be.
I remember asking my mom once when I was in High schools why she cooked us all separate meals. It seemed crazy to me. She told me that she hated being forced to eat what her mother made for dinner. She added she remembered choking down brussel sprouts with milk because you had clean your plate before you left the table. Yet she had repeatedly told her mother that she hated brussel sprouts. She said that she hated the way it was handled and when she had her own children she never wanted to put them through that. She didn't. I never once was forced to eat anything I didn't like. Clearly her upbringing effected her parenting.
My thoughts and opinions on parenting have changed very little since becoming a parent. Does this happen to everyone? No. However I had been around children enough to know what would work for me and what I wanted for my future family. All of the opinions I wrote about above were formed prior ever having had my own child in my arms, yet they still hold true today.
I say all of that, to say this...
Just because a person does not have a child of their own does not mean their thoughts and opinions on parenting mean nothing. I regularly talk with friends who are childless that have amazing insight, great instincts and a different perspective than I do. We all learn from each other. Parenting is no different! It's their upbringing, experiences and knowledge they are pulling from. After all isn't that what we are all pulling from?