Tuesday, 11 December 2007

How responsible are we?

How responsible are we for the way our children behave? Particularly young children like Michael?

Family members sometimes comment that Michael's behaviour is a credit to our parenting. I'm not sure if I agree with that statement. For example: In the very early weeks, Michael started sleeping for at least 5 hours a night. I don't think that we had anything to do with that. I had bought a couple of baby books that discussed the various approaches to sleep training but I implemented none of the methods described. If Michael cried in the night I would either give him a feed, change his nappy, cuddle him or medicate him if he was in pain. That was it - no controlled crying, no co-sleeping, no shushing and patting. He's just naturally a good sleeper.

As for his behaviour elsewhere, I think he is just a good-natured child. Perhaps on a genetic level we are somewhat responsible but I don't believe that our parenting has had much to do with it at this stage. We're just first-time parents, bumbling through the days and trying to do our best to make our son happy. He never makes a fuss if he has a dirty nappy or sticky fingers. He rarely cries if he takes a tumble. He doesn't pinch, smack or kick if he doesn't get his way (at this point I have the irresistible urge to write 'yet!') It is always nice to hear that family think we are doing a good job, but I feel a bit of a fraud when we are given credit for the way that Michael is.

Taking credit for the way that your children behave is a bit of a double-edged sword. Where do you draw the line? If, God forbid, your child turned out to be a murderer, would you be to blame? How could you live with yourself if you did feel responsible?

1 comment:

Stephan said...

I think his behaviour has a lot to do with your parenting, maybe not consciously but at least by the kind of people you are.

And yeah, the sword does cut both ways but probably not all the way to murder.