I just finished reading an excerpt from Charlotte Masons’s Home Education in which she discusses the older theories of education/parenting and the newer. Just like today, in her day there were the strict parents that disciplined forcefully, forced children to eat what was put before them, and endure unnecessary suffering. There were also the parents who made their entire worlds revolve around their children and became their slaves.
This is a struggle between two extremes that still goes on today. And, on a personal note, I have gone between both extremes. I have had days where I suddenly realize that I cannot even find time to take care of my hygiene without being interrupted by the a child’s wants or needs. I realize then that fearing my children would feel unloved and ignored, I have made myself servant and enabler of their whims. On the other hand, I have had days where I realize that I have been running the household like a ship. This comes when I begin to care more about structuring my child’s day than about the child.
Balance is found when I realize that I must set boundaries for my children and for myself. It is reasonable for me to send my children to play quietly or read a book when they wake up before their usual time. And it is reasonable for me to get up at a decent hour so that I can be ready to take care of them when it is time for them to wake up. It is crucial to have regular routines and schedules. But the world will not come to an end if I have to wait until after lunch to fold a load of laundry instead of folding it before lunch.
Chaos and rigidity. Pandering and domineering. Extremes in all things. Like all of life, parenting requires constants monitoring to maintain a proper balance.