Babies – goggle eyed and chubby cheeked – were made adorable for a reason: so that their mothers would pick them up (even at 3 in the morning) and fall in love with them. The good doctor (Spock) who was blamed for the excesses of the Sixties generation, actually had very good child-rearing advice. His basic message was that new mothers should trust their own instincts, should listen to their inner selves. Stop worrying so much, he advised.
Today’s young moms are so intent on doing the job right that there’s a whole aisle at bookstores for mothers looking for answers.
A simple guide for good mothering could fill a pamphlet at best. A mom needs self-confidence and common-sense. A trust-worthy baby-sitter helps a lot, too.
Here’s a top ten list for Good Mothering. You can probably add some of your own, too.
1. Don’t ever hit, belittle or name-call a child.
2. Read to your children. Every day.
3. Help your child figure out who she is, irrespective of the person you want her to be.
4. It doesn’t matter if you define your house-hold as “strict” or lenient,” but consistency helps a child make sense of the world. The rules you decide are important are the ones that need to be followed.
5. Patience is not always a virtue. Sometimes children whine, nag or carry on beyond reasonable boundaries. Better to quell early than late. You are not doing your child a favor by giving patient attention to obnoxious behavior.
6. You’re the boss. Some parents with gentle dispositions and democratic ideals have trouble with this one. But being the boss doesn’t mean you’re a tyrant. You can listen to your child, sometimes even be persuaded. But the bottom line is: you’re the grown-up. Kids feel secure knowing someone is in charge.
7. On the other hand . . . children should be encouraged to make as many decisions about their own lives as possible. An over-bearing parent can do too much.
8. Remember the expression: “This too shall pass.” Infant colic gives way to toddler tantrums and school anxiety and . . . well by the time you have teen-agers, everything else might seem like a piece of cake.
9. Show moral and spiritual guidance by living in a way that is generous, honest and compassionate. Don’t behave in any way that would make you ashamed in front of your children.