Problem children

“There is no such thing as a problem child, its problem parenting.” This came up in a comment on my FaceBook feed today. I disagree, quite strongly.

Kids are all different, as are parents. Sometimes parents suck, but they have kids that naturally want to be good so the kid turns out ok. I grew up in an abusive home, which I would class as bad parenting, but I’ve come out wanting to do the right thing by people, wanting to help wherever I can, even over-stretching myself to do things for people. I figure that even though I’m not perfect, that’s probably able to be defined as turning out ok. 

I consider myself a decent parent. I have polite, respectful children that people compliment me on quite regularly. But, for three months, every time something didn’t go my younger daughter’s way, she would stamp and scream about it. It disrupted her class, and she had to spend so much time in the principal’s office calming down. It was incredibly humiliating. My child was ‘that kid’. And then, as unexpectedly as it started, it stopped again. She was back to being my sweet child. She still gets angry, but she doesn”t act out so badly any more.

Does her sudden behaviour make me a bad parent? 

My younger daughter absolutely begs to be allowed to help do chores. She loves helping and feeling responsible. On the other hand, my elder daughter hates chores and whines copiously whenever she’s made to do them (so we have a lot of whining in the house). They’re the product of the exact same parenting. Should I believe that I’m parenting one badly and the other well?

Kids are all different, and some are simply harder to handle than others. They all have their own quirks, and some are more humiliating for the parents than others. Going straight to blaming behaviour on bad parenting isn’t fair – until you see how the parents treat the kids, you can’t know whether that assumption is valid or whether you’re condemning someone unfairly.

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