08 October, 2010

Being An Alterna-Parent

I have to admit, my parenting style is...well...alternative.

I also have to admit that I don't treat my 4 year old like a 4 year old. She's much more grown up to me.

I know everyone has their own parenting styles. I know that no one raises their children by the book. But there are things that I like to consider as alternative parenting. And not everyone is going to agree with me on this, but this is my version of being an alternative parent. Also, there are different ways to be an alterna-parent.

With Ri-baby, like I said, I treat her as a mini-adult. She is just as capable of making her own choices and suffering consequences as an older child. She understands a lot more than kids her age. I don't know many parents who would let their child watch Kick Ass, let alone have a copy of it on their iPod. I don't know many parents who would let -- yes, I said let -- their child cuss (on occasion and when appropriate). I don't know many parents who lets their child be who THEY want to be.

Reilly is a smart girl. She asks A LOT of questions. She learns A LOT about things that many parents are squeemish talking to their kids about at such a young age; periods, sex, drinking, killing and death. A lot of parents don't feel that their child is up to handling the "adultness" of those topics. I do. I know my child is. My daughter doesn't have a violent streak in her, but we let her own toy guns NERF guns, she understands that people do kill people, and that those are bad people. She knows about jail. She knows about sex. Not in detail, but she knows the fundamentals. I've never made it a point to hide information from my daughter, and because of that, I feel that she is one of the most well rounded children on the planet.

Things that bother me to no end about parents is when they try to lie or give their children obscure answers about important questions. Calling a vagina a flower or a penis a pee pee isn't a good way to build a well rounded child. I'm sorry, but its not. Telling your child that their baby sister just appeared one day? Give me a break. Hiding 'fuck shit ass cunt' from your child seems silly to me because they WILL learn those words eventually, and honestly, wouldn't you rather it come from you? (Maybe not cunt, but you get the picture).

Setting boundaries, is still obviously needed. Reilly may be smart, but she's still four. She still needs laws laid down for her. She still needs to be put her in place. But I feel she also needs to be able to explore the world around her and figure out her place in it. She needs to be encouraged to make something of herself and express herself in a healthy and safe environment where she can ask anything that she wants and learn about anything that she wants. Sometimes I also consider myself a push over. Yea, I kinda let her get away with some things, but all in all, I don't have to worry about her too much. Yes, she's still a kid, but she's a good kid. I go out to a store or restaurant and I wonder sometimes what the hell some of these parents are thinking when their child is screaming bloody murder in the middle of said place. I wonder why these parents can't get a handle on their children, and how I got so lucky to have a mostly well behaved child. And then I realize that her personality, her character, her charm, is all because of how Bradford and I have encouraged her to expand her horizon, become her own person, and hopefully thrive.

I applaud myself for having a long conversation with my daughter after watching the video for one of her favorite songs, Love The Way You Lie, by Eminem. If you are unsure of what the song is about, it is about domestic violence. We watched the video
and we had a long conversation about what to do if someone ever hits her. Who she can come to, what she needs to do, all of those things. How many parents talk to their kids about domestic violence?

Reilly is everything I could have ever hoped for in a young child. Literally everything. She's an easy child. Really she is. Sure, she has her bad moments, because for fucks sake, she's four. But 90% of the time, she is amazing. She has started to develop her own taste in music because we let her. Her favorite artists include Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Dora, Spongebob, The Beatles and B.O.B. Some of her favorite movies? Zombieland, Kick Ass, Coraline, Chicken Little, and anything having to do with Elmo. She love sushi and raw green peppers, along with ice cream and candy.

She's expanding her palette of the things offered in life. Because we, as parents, let her.

So yes, I am an "alterna-parent". I am open and honest with my child. I let her be her own person. I watch her learn every day. I get to watch her be older and still a youngin, all at the same time.

I'm proud to NOT follow the rules.

And most of all...I have no worries about my child going out into the world and experiencing life. She is going to be an amazing person.

picture #1 is Reilly rocking out with Daddy on Guitar Hero
picture #2 is what KISS does (yup, the band, another of Reilly's favorites)


Starla said...

I swear they are clones, Aerda and Reilly. Aerda loves Kick Ass, Zombieland and Coraline (and of course Powerpuff girls). She's allowed to swear everywhere but school and grandma lecias (although never call anyone names). We also had a long discussion about domestic violence after aerda fell in love with that song. Aerda knows about sex, death, drugs, love and hate. She asks a billion questions and gets honest answers (except about Santa, but whatevs). She is one of the most compassionate and understanding children I've ever met. Its easy to forget she's four. Oh, and of course she loves sushi too.

Totally fucking weird!!! How did our kids turn out so much alike??

Mrs. Obie said...

It absolutely boggles my mind how much they are alike! Especially since I think they've met once or something like that since they've been older?

Just brings me to one conclusion. The girls have awesome parents!!

LegosInMyPocket said...

I absolutely love this! My Hubby 7 I are not parents yet, but we are expecting in June, and the topic of "parenting" has been a constant for the last few years...We come from VERY different families & parenting. (Him from a very small, quiet french family of 12 all together - INCLUDING grandparents, uncles, aunts.. & I from a very loud, boisterous, loving, laughing, yelling, 15billion people strong Italian family) but we BOTH agree.. with the same parenting styles you described! It was a wonderful breath of fresh air to hear it from someone else! Alterna-Parent = Definitely AGREE!!