It’s easy to be indecisive. Rarely do I know what’s for supper until I start making it. Except tonight. Tonight we’re having pork chops, cauliflower (maybe the cheesy fried kind), green beans, mashed potatoes, corn and carrots. Rarely do I know what I’m going to write about until I start writing. I don’t know how long I stared at a white screen with the blinking cursor mocking me.
One thing we’re rarely indecisive about is raising our kids. We know how we’re going to do it because we know what kind of adults we
want hope our children grow to be. We know what kind of parents we’ll be. Parenting comes in as many flavors as Ben and Jerry. Whether we’re goofy or serious or creative or active or hands off, there are different styles for everyone. We all incorporate varying degrees of different traits.
Of course, our children are born with their own personalities. So the indecisiveness in parenting is born in the form of the question,
Am I doing the right thing?
How do we know what the “right thing” is? Like Soren Kierkegaard is quoted as saying,
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
The only thing we know for certain is what we should have done. How can we possibly know the discipline we use, the motivator we employ, even the tone of voice and attitude we adopt will be the right one? When our kids are “bad” they need to face the consequences. However, those consequence are dictated by us, the parents. The punishment needs to fit the crime. Sometimes their actions have their own consequences. This morning, for example, Crash didn’t want to pack his lunch. I let him know that I wasn’t doing it for him and if he wanted lunch it was his responsibility. He growled and moaned and dragged his feet. I was fully prepared to let him go hungry and allow him to understand why he needed to pack his lunch. He wouldn’t have been punished for not making his lunch. I think going hungry would have been his own consequence.
Would have been the right thing to do? Would it have been too harsh? I pack the 6 year old’s lunch. Should I pack the 10 year old’s too? When should they become responsible? Not just about packing lunch, but for everything in life? Does becoming responsible mean they’re more adult than kid? But if they’re not responsible kids how can they become responsible adults? Do any of these questions have just one right answer?
The best we can do is do what is best for our children. Only we know that answer because we know our kids best. We live with them, after all. They are probably more like us than we care to admit. We should know what is best for them. However, sometimes we can be as indecisive as a teen trying to get dressed for school. We doubt ourselves wondering if we are doing the right thing. Should we medicate our ADHD child? Should we register our kids in French or English classes in school? How much screen time is okay? How long do they need to drive me crazy before I sell them on the black market?
Being indecisive is okay, though. It means you have options and options are good. All you have to do is pick one. Or pick the other.