I Am Not A Strict Parent.

Before having my son, I didn’t give much thought to what kind of parent I wanted to be.  However, there was one thing I knew for certain.  I was going to be Strict.

Nine years of being a secondary school teacher, and observing countless children-and therefore the long-term consequences of the actions of countless parents-and I knew Strict was best.  I once asked the parent of a particularly pleasant child how she had managed to raise such a wonderful daughter, and although she didn’t actually say the answer was Being Strict, I was sure that was what was behind her success.

Fast forward almost two years into my own parenting journey, and I am not so sure.  Not only am I not particularly inclined to start setting boundaries for a baby, but when said baby does do something that probably shouldn’t be encouraged, I find it hard not to laugh.  Especially when he is laughing too.

This is yet another source of disagreement between my mother and I.  Mother believes that the reason that meals with Piglet frequently result in dropped food is because he is undisciplined and, with yours truly for a mother, has become accustomed to running riot.  Conversely, I believe it is because he is a toddler, and such is their wont.

However, recently there have been some worrying developments (clearly the fault of my louche parenting style), including throwing things at people, as opposed to merely throwing things around indiscriminately without any particular aim.  Today, it was a piece of banana.  Tomorrow, who knows?  A toy car?  The kitchen crockery?  A molotov cocktail?

I enjoy my civilised* meals out with Piglet.  I enjoy the one-to-one mother and son bonding time, and the intellectual conversation and debate (the latter is something I’m still working on, but I have managed to get him to say two more words “adder” as in the variety of snake, and “Adele,” as in chart-topping songstress Adele.  The fact that both of these sound exactly like his default sound “A-da” is neither here nor there).  I also enjoy the indulgent looks of the other diners as they gaze at Piglet adoringly, enquire about his age and give knowing looks when he does something cute that they recognise from when their own children were small.

I don’t think they will be looking indulgently for much longer if Piglet persists in throwing pieces of food around.  And this time, it’s personal.  The food in question is not merely being thrown to the floor, it is being aimed squarely at other people.  For the moment, Mummy (with an occasional side order of “Granny”) seems to be the main target, but who knows where this could lead?

He has started to literally pull his arm back and take aim.  Today the missile was a bit of half chewed banana, which I suddenly found being launched at me as if from a catapult.  The banana bounced off my face, and landed underneath another child’s high chair (always good to be able to pin the blame on somebody else).  Piglet then burst into peals of laughter.  Watching Mummy humiliated is always a good sport for a child.

Try not to trip on this one, fellow diners.

The trouble is, I wanted to laugh.  Like I wanted to laugh the time a group of Year 11 boys smuggled one of their friends from another school into the classroom and tried to pass him off as a Dutch exchange student with a dodgy accent; and like that was probably bad teaching, laughing at the flying banana was probably bad parenting.

So what to do?  Do I hotfoot it to the library in search of the Gina Ford Book of Really Strict Parenting?  Or do I keep muddling along, hoping that a combination of love, laughter and civilised mother and son intellectual conversation will see us through?

In a few years time, I want it to be me that my child’s teacher is asking for tips on How To Raise The Perfectly Behaved, Well Adjusted and Motivated for Learning Child.  I don’t want to be the one being called in for countless meetings at the school, and being told that it would probably be for the best if I quietly withdrew him from full time education.  Home schooling is all the rage these days, you know.

Perhaps I am over thinking it. As I keep reminding my mother, he’s not even two, and there will surely be many more opportunities in the future for confiscating mobile phones, shutting off the internet and grounding him indefinitely.  For now, I’ll just stick to trying not to laugh.

*They aren’t very civilised.  Unless “civilised” means eating straight off the table and throwing anything you don’t want over your shoulder.  I’ve heard that was the kind of civilisation that went down at a medieval banquet, so I’m claiming it.


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

35 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    Haha! He sounds adorable and totally the norm! Mine thought hair pulling til I yipped hilarious, but he doesn’t do that any more thankfully. He still throws food mind. #tribe

    1. Min says:

      That is a relief. Hopefully eventually both of ours will grow out of throwing food!

  2. laughing mum says:

    oh its so hard not to laugh…. it’s tricky, because as you say you don’t want them doing it to other people, but sometimes it IS genuinely funny! I wish I could give you some amazing words of wisdom, however all I can do is wish you luck lol #kcacols

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! Yes it is difficult. I have been trying out my “stern face,” but I’m not sure that Piglet has been taking it entirely seriously.

  3. Sassy says:

    Haha! I would certainly struggle not to laugh! When he gets the age that he understands boundaries a lot more, that’s maybe when you should introduce a strict parenting style… Until then have a good old laugh! 😉 xxx #TribalLove

    1. Min says:

      That’s exactly what I’m thinking. At the moment he’s a bit too young for boundaries.

  4. Honey I couldn’t agree more! It is so hard not to laugh when they are a bit cheeky. Josh is too young for that yet but times I’ve had my niece and she’s been a little tinker and I have to try not to laugh as I tell her off a bit, it’s more than a bit difficult! It sounds like you are doing a fabulous job so don’t over think things and just enjoy it. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for commenting. Yes it is difficult not to laugh! I am dreading the day that piece of food-or toy-hits someone else in the restaurant though. That will definitely not be a laughing matter!

  5. Emma says:

    Piglet sounds amazing! I have always thought that I would rather have a child with spirit rather than a boring robot drone type of child. Tell your mum that Piglet is just expressing himself through another medium. He is being creative 😉 Do not turn to GINA FORD though! Never pick up the FORD. The lady is insane #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Yes I totally agree. I keep telling myself (and my mum) that he is a cricketer in the making (or rounders or baseball, or discus, or anything that involves throwing really) and he needs to hone his skills from an early age. I have no intention of picking up the Ford. She sounds completely at odds with my parenting style, to put it mildly.

  6. I laugh too much as well especially when my youngest is up to no good or when he answers the way he does which is cheeky but oh so funny. I do set firm boundaries for my children but when it is funny, I then run into my room and have a huge laugh, behind their backs. You know your child best and I would say trust your instincts and be ready to pull the reins when it’s time and you’ll know. But reading about the banana, I have to admit I would be like you, I would want to laugh but I would duck under the table first. #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Yes I totally agree. I think I’ll know when it really is time to put my foot down. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Haha, great post. I admit to being a strict parent, even when my boys were young. If they threw food on the floor they were told not to, told it was wrong. Of course I let them play occasionally but they were taught the “proper” ways to act when out at a restaurant or visiting. I’m sure that it’s just a phase and your little one will cease throwing food eventually. Good luck with the not laughing.

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. I hope so too. I’m going by the fact that I don’t know any teenagers who still do it, so hopefully they all grow out of it eventually!

  8. Strict parenting is overrated. I decided early on I wasn’t going to have the energy or consistency to stick to much so I rarely bother being strict on anything unless it’s like super dangerous. You sound like a fab mum #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! That’s pretty much my philosophy too.

  9. Oh I completely sympathise – my son always made me laugh – I’d mid rant and he would just give me that look and I’d start giggling. My girls who are older would get so cross as I never giggled with them – just something about my son – it infuriated them! But, do you know what, it doesn’t appear to have done any harm – he’s 12 now and his sense of humour is brilliant and I’m glad he’s got that – people need to have more sense of humour. I am certain people will ask you how you parent lovely! #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Haha, thanks! I’m glad to hear that he has turned out well. I’m sure Piglet will too-and hopefully he will have a good sense of humour. At the moment it’s mainly hitting Mummy that seems to make him laugh!

  10. Aw Piglet sounds so cute and very much like my little girl. She has just started the dropping things on the floor deliberately phase…she rather enjoys clearing her tray table by dropping them one by one much like they are dirty undies. I know I should be stern and tell her not to but it’s hilarious! As you say there’ll be lots of opportunities to tell them off in the future 😉 lovely post, your writing always makes me smile and feel like I’m not the only one x #triballove

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! Yep, Piglet definitely went through that phase. Still going through it, in fact.

  11. I’m a Reception teacher (or I was before my maternity!) and in school I think I had a pretty good balance between being firm/strict but fair and kind. I thought I’d have motherhood sorted. No one warns you it’s so different with your own – and you question yourself so much more when it’s a toddler – they’re still part baby, but now part child – will my usual firm ways be traumatic and create a child who rebels? Will my motherly nurturing create a child who thinks they can get away with anything?! I’m not sure the answers are simple and I really believe that we all make the right decision ultimately because we are their parent and intuitively we know what is best….even if it does lead to a few ‘moments’ of food fighting during the learning process! #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Yes, I agree. I think I am a better parent for having teacherly skills (that’s not to say that teachers are better parents, but that I am definitely a better parent than I would have been if I didn’t have that experience), but that’s mainly because teaching has given me patience that I certainly didn’t have before. When it comes to toddlers, I’m pretty clueless as I’m much more used to teenagers.

  12. I’m not a strict parent at all never have been it doesn’t sound much fun you know! I did happen to mention to a fellow blogger that my about me page mentions my lack of parenting skills and my make it up as I go along method and by the look on her face I think I should be expecting a call from social services son :o. Mind you I am always told at parents event she is a lovely happy and pleasant girl to have in the class so I can’t be doing too badly! #kcacols

    1. Min says:

      I’m sure you’re doing fine. I don’t want to be forever moaning at Piglet either, and so far he seems happy enough. I think we just have to trust our instincts, and I always feel that modelling the sort of behaviour you expect is the best way, rather than telling.

  13. When you discover the secret to stopping your boy from chucking food in the floor, please share! That is how Stella lets us know that mealtime is over. I have tried being stern and insisting she pick up her food, but she just says “no!”. I have to say, it is the “no” that makes me feel like laughing. But I haven’t (yet). She still does it every night though, so that’s not the key for her!
    x Alice

    1. Min says:

      Haha, I will-if he ever stops! Thank you for commenting.

  14. I am mum to a 15 week old and I have always said I want to be a strict mum. But I dont know now I have her and see her blue eyes. xx


    1. Min says:

      Well, at 15 weeks you have a while yet before you need to think about it! I’m pretty sure that even with my 22 month old, there isn’t a lot of point in discipline just yet.

  15. I think Piglet and Evelyn would get on like a house on fire! lol! I have to say she has been very good so far but since turning 2 yrs old – she seem a bit more picky and does a lot of coping bad behaviour from her brother. The thing is – when her brother does it, it is not funny – but when she does it I try so so hard not to laugh. I am such a bad mama! haha

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost xx

  16. Just look at it as another skill he is developing. A good aim will get you far in life! Oh and back away from the Ford. That woman will send you crazy! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

    1. Min says:

      Don’t worry-I’ve never been near the Ford. Way too regimented for me!

  17. Silly Mummy says:

    I love the ‘Dutch’ exchange student! I would have laughed. I might not laugh at half eaten banana in my face! But I’m always smiling when I want to be strict – can’t help myself! Oh well.

    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time

    1. Min says:

      It was very funny! I am terrible at strictness, so have basically given up, much to my mother’s annoyance!

  18. Lisa says:

    I wouldn’t say we have ever been strict with Holly. But she gets told off when she does something wrong and has done since she was able to understand us. For example she’s 3 and stays up later than me with her iPad (I’m sure we will regret this when school starts) but if she throws a wobbler or shouts over nothing or perhaps doesn’t eat dinner, she gets told off. I think u need a good mixture but everyone is different when raising kids and there’s nothing wrong with that. 🙂

    1. Min says:

      Thanks. I find it difficult because I live with my mum at the moment and we have different views on things, so we are constantly battling between us about the “right” way to parent, particularly with discipline. I tend to feel that Piglet is still very young and I try to lead by example and be gentle with him rather than shout and tell him off, whereas my mother takes a different view!

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