One of the things I like to think I am as a parent is consistent.
That’s one of the benefits of raising a child alone, is that there isn’t two parents trying to stick to the same protocols and policy, while all the time being ‘played’ by their offspring.
Would I say that I’m strict?
Depends on how you define it, I am very laid-back but there is certain behaviour I simply won’t tolerate.
However, I am not very shouty and aggressive, it just isn’t my style. In my opinion children don’t respond well to it, and at times even turn that approach to their advantage, selling themselves as hard done to.
No, I’m more a you-don’t-do-that-and-here’s-why kinda parent.
But sometimes a practical demonstration is necessary to make my point.
At a park a few weeks ago I caught my delightful son pushing over a toddler. Not pleasant viewing, and not behaviour I really want to see or expect.
I went to investigate - the toddler was okay if just a little confused - and I asked my boy to explain himself.
“We were playing dad, but he just kept hitting and hitting me.”
It was at this point I pointed out that he needed to take this child’s age into account, and while I wouldn’t expect him to just take a beating, he needs to know that there are better ways in dealing with a situation like that.
“But, but, but……” He protested.
Which I interrupted and asked: “Right son, you know when we’re sometimes playing and you get overexuberant and hit me harder than I would like you to?”
“Well, yes.” He replied.
Shortly before I pushed him over.
“See. Not nice. And certainly not appropriate.”
I think he was a tiny bit shocked by my actions, and for a moment I was worried that I was using unnecessary force to make my point, and I may have physically hurt him.
I hadn’t as the ground was soft, and indeed his own actions hadn’t brought the even younger toddler to any harm.
Junior was soon off playing again, without incident, and we left the park friends.
And I hope that he’d learnt something.
And that the ‘something’ wasn’t ‘don’t push toddlers over within the eyesight of his father’.