My household is definitely run by the "spare the rod, spoil the child" philosophy. My children are expected to behave and understand there are consequences if they don't. However, I do know that as children, they will test these boundaries and that sometimes, they will be "kids." I get around other people and their kids, then I realize my kids are very good for the most part, despite being typical kids, i.e. hyper and loud. It is when people assume that my kids are not behaving and they take it upon themselves to correct my children (repeatedly) when I am sitting right there, that I have a problem. I am NOT one of those parents who let their kids run wild and crazy without ever getting onto them. I have been accused at times that I am too hard on them and I need to let them be kids. It is usually people who have children of walking and talking age that say this. Those without kids or who have babies, look at my children at times like they are out of the Exorcist and will soon begin to spew pea soup if they simply run in front of the TV or speak a little too loudly. My kids are not bad kids. They are actually pretty loving, most of the time respectful, they love God, and they know right from wrong. No, they do not sit there silently, hands in lap, for hours on end (and at times they say and do things they simply know they shouldn't despite knowing they will get in trouble for it... oh the horrors!). When you are a parent for a while, you learn to not stress over the small stuff. Make them mind, but don't sit there watching their every single move waiting for them to mess up just so you can get on to them. I certainly do not do this to other people's kids and I do not expect someone to do it to mine. If I ask you, "Will you please watch my child?" then by all means, make them mind. But if I am right there, I WILL correct them when I feel it neccessary. If you see them doing something dangerous and I don't see it.. then stop them from getting hurt. If they are behaving in a way you feel is wrong and I do not see it.. then tell me and I will surely take care of it. But never, ever think your kids will not act hyper, back talk, do something they are not supposed to, break something in a store, or that you won't ever give in to their wants at times in life. I promise you, you will regret thinking that. People always think their kids will never....... but they will. And, point blank and frankly, if you just cannot handle the way I feel about this, then maybe it is time we rethink hanging out together. My kids are my life. I do not dump my kids off on a sitter just so I can go hang out with people who don't understand life with children. After hanging out with a great family Friday night, who have kids close to my kid's ages... I realized how relaxing it was not to feel the need to worry constantly that my children would offend an adult with their mere presence. Not once did these parents find it neccessary to correct my children. They were dealing with their kids and they let me deal with mine. I could see how much more relaxed my kids were and they behaved so much better. I think this is why I enjoy hanging out with my best friend and her family so much. Besides the fact that they love me, for me... they love my children, for themselves. They are able to play with her kids and feel free to be the kids they are. I am able to just... breathe. It is such a great feeling. It deducts from my stress levels instead of adding to them. I should not have to get so stressed out to go hang out with people just because I know I will have to watch every move my kids make. It's not fair to me or my kids. I know that there will be times that I and my kids will have to endure this but I will be making it very clear in the future that if someone cannot handle being around my kids, then maybe they should just not be around them... or me. My children are the biggest blessing of my life and I am so tired of making them uncomfortable by hindering their curiosity and wonderful energy (that I would love to have a 1/4 of) because I am in fear another adult will not understand it. I know I keep going back to it, but it is just the truth. My kids don't fit inside the box that people think kids are supposed to fit in. Be assured, they WILL be made to mind, but I will not rob them of any ounce of their childhood any longer.
Jesus himself said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Matthew 19:14