6 Parenting Rules I'm Doing My Best Not to Break

Mom Moment 59

twins in a boxWhen I was pregnant, I had a birth plan, which ended up not being followed perfectly due to unforeseen circumstances, but some of it was. Just having a plan made me feel empowered even though I wasn't able to easily push out my twins while singing Tom Petty's Wildflowers. Same thing with being a parent. I had a plan -- still do since my twins are only 3. And that plan includes all the things I want to avoid or not have them subjected to because I want them to turn out to be healthy, happy, and caring individuals.

If that plan was a test, I have failed miserably. I've broken most of the parenting rules I created and while I'm not proud of that, I've learned that being a parent isn't about being rigid or unforgiving or without mistakes. Now let's review those rules.

1. No TV! My husband and I created a no television ever rule. Yep, never! Commence laughter. We did stick with the no TV rule until our twins were about 2. Then we started with the occasional show when I needed to shower or cook food when alone with them. Now, at 3, they request their favorite shows. We don't overdo it. Still, it's a fail.

2. Never feed them jarred baby food! I had this grand plan to only serve my kids the most organically pure amazingly perfectly nutritious in the mostest bestest way foods only. No mass produced jarred stuff. Only farm to table stuff. That didn't work out as planned.

3. No juice! I win at this one! No juice and still going strong at 3 years old. Yay me! Feed me a kudo because I followed through with one and failed at all the others. My kids only drink milk and water. They have had juice at parties or when it's served at their preschool.

4. No plastic toys! Holy craptastic wood toys are expensive! And they just don't make a wooden Spider-Man.

5. Never eating fast food! Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-ooooo! Oh, that's not the right song for the golden arches? Don't tell my son. We indulge. Not a lot, but we do once in a while. It's those dang indoor playgrounds that are just so tempting on a day it's too cold/rainy to play outside. What's funny though is my daughter really only eats the apples and drinks the milk.

6. Never fighting in front of the kids! I'm hanging my head in shame but in a momentary lapse of judgement my husband and I have raised our voices at each other in front of our kids. My daughter didn't like it one bit and raised her hands in the air and yelled, "Guys! Guys! No yelling!" And that's when my 3-year-old was the better parent than I. I'm learning from them as much as I hope they are learning (the good stuff) from me.

So mistakes, yes, I've made a few ... but I learn from them and also learned that parenting isn't a perfect art but a beautifully messy work in progress. There are many parenting rules that I have followed and they include showing them love and kindness. I'm hopeful that when the grow up, they show the world the same.

Have you made parenting rules that you've also broken? How many on my list have you broken or followed?


Image via Michele Zipp


a mom's life, toddler health


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Todd Vrancic

All of them, but we make sure they saw us apologize and make up, too.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I am proud to say I haven't broken any because I never had a plan. My plan was to roll with the punches and see what happens. I saw too many people with these rules and then turn around and say "yea thought I had this perfect image in my head til I started raising kids". I just listened to great advice, never say never. I will say my kids don't get juice til after 2yrs. Even then it's once in awhile. There is nothing wrong with anything you mentioned, moderation in everything is key, food to fighting in front of the kids. Don't mean to be rude but I do get joy watching first time parents cave some with strict hardcore rules. I want to say I told you so but don't cause it's counterproductive and they finally get it!

nonmember avatar Mariaa

Exhausting. Life in moderation is a lot happier, folks. Just do your best and make your kids happy and good people. The rest won't matter, but you will go crazy holding yourself to some crazy standard for perfection. Enjoy your damn life and kids!

Lena Fontecchio

Same philosophy as Jalaz I guess... I can't imagine bogging myself down with rules for something so unpredictable. 

early... earlybird11

I have the same train of though as some others... Roll with the punches. I parent with my husband the best way we can during given moments and times. Plans always fail. Doesn't make me a bad parent. Hell I didn't jar feed my kid one thing ever and he prefers fruits to junk and he has had juice in his life once given by another adult who he told ew no no wah tear pweze . doesn't make me any better than anyone else. It just happens :)

PonyC... PonyChaser

I have one rule. "Take life as it comes." How can you teach kids to be discriminating about anything (from food to television to anything else) if you don't expose them to stuff? TV, for example. We watch a moderate amount. We don't have cable, only free digital. And there is no TV in the 'main' part of our house, which is our kitchen/dining/living area. I have a TV in my room, and there is a TV in the basement/play/family room. My son is 9, and still enjoys Qubo and some of the shows on PBS Kids. He also watches some of the "really old" stuff, like Emergency!, Andy Griffith, and Beverly Hillbillies.

He knows when I don't want him to watch a show (Barney. GAG) and why, and he can make decisions for himself about programs he doesn't like.

Had I made and stuck to a hard-and-fast rule like No TV, he never would have seen the Olympics. Or the last-ever Shuttle Launch/Landing. Or some of the nature/educational programs that have taught him things I could not.

As for the others... my ex and I limited our arguments in front of him. Some, that weren't big deals, we'd carry out to the end, with a compromise and an apology where needed. Kids need to be exposed to things like that so they, in turn, know how to deal with it when the time comes. Knock-down, drag-outs, though? No. We kept the nasty stuff as far from him as we could.

insei... inseineangel

I pretty much have the same philosphy as PonyChaser and jalaz77. Roll with it. Take it as it comes. I hate all these rules and limitations we impose on our children. (To each their own; if it works for you, do it, and screw what anyone else says). 

And, I know I'm going to sound really ignorant when I ask this, but I'm a first time mom and haven't read every single scrap of  "do this, not that" information out there, but what is the deal with juice? I keep seeing everyone saying they don't give their kids juice, and it baffles me, because pretty much every child I have ever encountered drinks juice o.O Mine does (2 parts water, 1 part juice). Can someone enlighten me? Thanks.

nonmember avatar Theresa

I had a neighbor that had very simular rules and 15 years later her children are a mess. Too many rules and kids will snap., I'm thinking this parent is a scientologist.

Foley... Foleygirl24

The only real rule I made that I broke was the NO TV EVER rule. My DS watches a fair amount of TV, probably more than he should. But I don't just plunk him down in front of it, I watch it with him, and he actually learned all his ABCs at 18 mos from watching Super Why (more interesting than the work I was doing with him I guess!) so in my opinion is not too bad of a parenting fail! And I definitely don't let him watch junk shows either, mostly just PBS or Sprout.

Foley... Foleygirl24

Inseineangel- we don't do juice because DS's doc and dentist both said the same thing- it's basically just sugar with no nutritional value and it rots their teeth. I think that's why most of the no juice parents do it. But like another poster said, everything in moderation. Once in a while we will buy juice boxes at the store, and he usually will have it at a party or something. But we've never give it too him regularly. Didn't really see the need for it.

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