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?