Esther - posted on 09/01/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )
I always thought I would be a very strict parent because I am a firm believer in discipline. However, now that I really am a parent, I find myself wondering if I'm actually too lenient. This doubt is mostly brought on by comments my mom makes btw.
My son is 20 months old and I'm slowly starting to implement a mild version of time-outs but that's only very recent. Until now, my parenting was mostly about distraction, redirection & disaster avoidance. When I say no, I do mean it and I won't change my mind, but I guess I don't say "no" as much as maybe I thought I would (or as my mom thinks I should).
For example, we have a water table on our balcony that Lucas LOVES to play with. Normally we'll put him in swim trunks before we let him have at it, but the other day he was wearing his normal (brand new) clothes when he went out there and started splashing around with the water table. He splashed me too so I splashed him back and within a minute we were both soaking wet and laughing hysterically. He then ran into the house dripping. Stuff like that just doesn't bother me. It's water, we can dry him off. It's not like it's the only outfit he has (*blushes*).
We also let him sit & stand on the coffee table. We don't really ever use it to put down glasses and there is nothing else on there either. Initially we just thought it was cool that he had figured out how to climb on there and again, it just wasn't something that bothered us. It's low to the ground so there is no danger (there is also a foam play mat around it) and he can't do any damage. When we do put something on there, he usually stays away from it.
Another example that got my mom going is that we let him feed himself and have for a long time (probably since he decided he was ready at around 10-11 months). Clearly this can (and often does) create a huge mess. Once again not something we are personally bothered by. We have hardwood floors and you just wipe up the mess & wash his clothes (we now have special food clothes since he hates bibs and won't keep them on). This is him eating his chili for example: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=13...
When I shared these pictures with my mom her response was: "wow, you'll just let him do ANYTHING won't you?".
Clearly I have mommy issues (I have an awesome mom btw - her opinion just matters to me a lot), but really, where do you draw the line? Am I being too lenient? Should I be stricter? What is your parenting philosophy when it comes to discipline & boundaries?