One of my best friends from high school is now the mom to three kids, one more on the way. She is a very good mother. I mean, stellar. Totally stellar. She made the very good point one day that even though some people may consider her to be too strict, she never ever has trouble finding a babysitter. Her kids are lovely to be around, even the stronger-willed ones. Her kids are simply very happy. She's doing something right.
I sometimes call her with parenting questions, and we end up talking for a couple of hours at a time. I love her, love her, love her. She is also a straight talker, sometimes pretty blunt. One of my favorite quotes of hers is something like this, "I don't get people who say that you have to choose your battles with your kids. Honey, I fight every single one with mine, always to win." As any good Southern woman, she speaks in hyperbole, so you know, she's exaggerating a little. Maybe.
Since becoming a parent, I've thought a lot about what battles are worth fighting with my child and which are okay to let go, if any. The pastor of the church I grew up in had an extremely strong willed daughter who fought them on everything. One of the battles they chose not to fight with her was the battle over what she would wear every day. So every day, she got to pick out her own clothes, even as a 3-year-old. It was entertaining to see what she'd show up to church wearing on Sundays, but her parents' allowing her this area of freedom stuck with me. I thought it was wonderful. Because really, as long as your kids aren't naked or cold, what does it matter what they're wearing?
We definitely have chosen a few battles to fight with Abe. But I want to hear from you: what battles do you fight with your kids? More accurately, which battles are you most determined to win? Why?
Ted made the very good point that talking about parenting styles is akin to discussing religion or politics. Potential touchy subject. It's partially why I didn't disclose which battles we fight with our child; too much chance of sounding pious or like I'm trying to make someone with differing styles feel guilty. So feel free to leave anonymous comments if you want your identity hidden.