Posted in Parenting

Even Parents Have “Too Many Rules”

As parents, we are surrounded by rules on parenting. I mean, I even have several on my own blog! Do this. Don’t do that. This is the best method. This method will cause your child endless therapy later in life. I even just read some “rules” about how to appear to other parents (wear make-up, but not all the time; dress nicely, but not all the time. Please.) and how NOT to act in front of your child’s teacher (it should be obvious, but it probably does need to be said). It’s exhausting. I was just laying down next to my toddler playing, to relax and let my spine lengthen back to where it should be, when I was thinking of all of these rules. It can be too much. Just like my middle child (dramatically) told me: Mom, there are too many rules! I’m starting to think he’s right.

Some rules are necessary, of course. Our children need to be taught right from wrong, safe from unsafe, polite from rude, etc., and there are effective ways of doing this and ways that could actually compound the problem or even teach/encourage poor behavior. That’s where parental “rules” come into play. Different rules work for different families and different situations, but the overarching goal is that the children learn effectively while still feeling loved.

I’ve read a lot of research from pediatric psychologists through books and online articles (sometimes I’m left wondering if they’ve ever actually had children themselves). I’ve taken loads of advice from parents whom I admire and from my own mother — I feel like it helps me remember how I was as a child so I can gain that perspective. I feel like I have adequate “tools” in my proverbial “toolbox” to handle most situations in the most effective and loving way, and I do. But, honestly, sometimes I’m left staring wide-eyed and gawking at especially my second child and thinking, “I don’t know how to handle this. What do I do?” (as my brain is spinning through all of the discipline “rules”). Seriously, I feel like sometimes nothing works. I have a split second to discipline, and I’m left with “oh my God, nothing is working.” We talk about the issue; he gets consequences for his actions; but I still feel all of the mothers of the world staring down judgmentally at me. I want to do the right thing, but there are SO MANY RULES about how to discipline that it actually can become stifling.

These parental rules are important for the safety and health of our children. I get that. Advice is definitely good. I get that, too. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and this seeps into my parenting, but I can’t lose the main focus: getting my children to learn to behave appropriately. Yes, I feel like parents have too many rules at times and that all mothers are watching me (it’s ridiculous, I know) — I get so overwhelmed — but I need to remember that these rules are designed to create “tools” for our discipline “toolbox”, and I need to get the judgmental chatter out of my head!

Author:

I have been active as a freelance performer since 1992 and as a teacher since 1996. I currently serve as Second Flute with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic orchestra and have performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Winds, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Danville (Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Chamber Singers Orchestra, and the United States Collegiate Wind Band’s European Tour, among other ensembles. I have also enjoyed performing for various occasions such as formal and charitable recitals as well as giving master classes at Butler University in Indianapolis and at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. I am also Adjunct Professor of Flute at Indiana Wesleyan University. I earned a Master of Music in Performance with Distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England studying with Peter Lloyd and Laura Jellicoe. While in England, I played in charitable concerts for St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. I was featured as a soloist at the Pennine Spring Music Festival in Heptonstall, England in addition to performing in the music festival’s orchestral and solo events. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Performance with Distinction at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where I studied principally with Kathryn Lukas. While at Indiana University, I also had the incredible opportunity to study for several weeks with Barbara Kallaur on baroque flute, Donald Peck, Thomas Robertello, and Kate Hill. I am lucky to be the mother of three beautiful and talented children, and I play on a wonderful David Straubinger 10K gold flute with 14K head joint.

2 thoughts on “Even Parents Have “Too Many Rules”

  1. Hmm. My goal as a parent was one thing only, to help my children learn to make good decisions. It seems to me you don’t need a lot of rules for that, just a lot of patience and love. The hard part is that the decisions they make get bigger and have more consequences……

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