Recently, I have discovered a new trend in parenting styles..... I call it "Scared Parenting". I say "new" but I would venture to guess that it really isn't all that new. The parents that practice this particular style say things like, "Well, I'm afraid if I do ___(fill in the blank)_____ then my child will be upset", "I don't want to do that because she might get mad", "He really hates when I do ______________ even though I know it's for his own good" or "The last time I did that (think of a particular punishment) she got so upset.....". These might also be the same parents that "Count (ie: "Do what I say....1...2...3...4....5 alright, here I come!) This parenting style is dictated by how the CHILD will react or how onlookers/other parents/other children will react. I have seen this from the perspective of a teacher and a parent. Parents that use this style are also eager to be their child's friend and not the disciplinarian. But most of all, these parents are absolutely TERRIFIED of upsetting or embarrasing their children.
I remember a story told by James Dobson. One day he came out to see his daughter digging a hole in the ground. When he asked what she was doing, she said she was planting rose petals. When he asked her "Why?" she replied that she wanted a rosebush to grow. He explained to her that in order to get a rosebush you had to grow the plant from a small sprout, it must be protected from the harsh elements and nurtured. Occasionally, you will have to prune the plant and feed it plenty of fertilizer and fresh water. After a long time and lots of hard work..... THEN you get the rose. That is your reward. So it is in parenting. After lots of Hard work (and it takes a LONG time!) you get the reward of being friends with your child.
When I was teaching school, I had a huge sign that spanned the length of my chalkboard (it was a real chalkboard so that tells you how long ago it was that I taught school!). The sign said, "That which is easy is not always right and that which is right is not always easy." How true. Being a "mean Momma" does NOT make you the most popular girl around. Telling your child "no" when it would be much easier to say "yes" is not the fun way of doing things. Requiring your child to take responsibility for their actions and allow them to partake of natural consequences is sometimes tough to witness.
Now, needless to say, my children are right smack in the middle of growing up. I am certainly not the world's greatest parent. I am well aware that tougher days are coming! However, as I pray throughout the day for my children, I don't pray for their happiness. No, I pray for their contentment. I want them to stay so close to their Savior that, no matter what their circumstances, they will rest in His care and plan.
So, I'm OK with being the "Meanest Momma in the World". And I'm OK with hearing, "Do I HAVE to?". I'm OK when my children's friends say things like, "Wow, your mom is strict!". It's OK that our kids don't have everything..... the newest this, the most updated that or the most expensive whachacallit. I am just working as hard as I can to be the best momma I can to these little lives that have been entrusted to me.......
And I'm not Scared!