Okay, this article kind of worried me:
"We marvel at the resilient child who survives the most toxic parents and home environment and goes on to a life of success. Yet the converse — the notion that some children might be the bad seeds of more or less decent parents — is hard to take.
It goes against the grain not just because it seems like such a grim and pessimistic judgment, but because it violates a prevailing social belief that people have a nearly limitless potential for change and self-improvement. After all, we are the culture of Baby Einstein, the video product that promised — and spectacularly failed — to make geniuses of all our infants.
Not everyone is going to turn out to be brilliant — any more than everyone will turn out nice and loving. And that is not necessarily because of parental failure or an impoverished environment. It is because everyday character traits, like all human behavior, have hard-wired and genetic components that cannot be molded entirely by the best environment, let alone the best psychotherapists. "
(full article found here: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/212202-Accepting-That-Good-Parents-May-Plant-Bad-Seeds )
If you take the conclusions drawn from this persons argument to the furtherest possible conclusion, why do we discipline at all? Why try to mould our kids when nature will ultimately determine whether they are polite or rude, selfish or giving?
I think I sit somewhere in the middle in this continuum.
In regards to discipline, I believe I am Ava's teacher. I facilitate her experiences in this world and provide them with a little context as well as my interpretation. Every action and experience with me elicits a response from me. Boogies = Not good. Please and Thankyou = Good. Dropping your dacks at the shops = Not good (but funny.) Yes, they may be social constructs, but social graces serve one very important function; they serve as a measuring stick in relationships. Burping and farting in front of your husband? Acceptable. Burping and farting on the first date? Not so.
Social graces are important for relationships, and that brings me to my other important task as a parent. Relationships are at the core of parenting. Teaching you child how to love , how to be a friend, how to hold polite conversation, how to deal with hurt and rejection, and how to pick up and keep going when all your want to do is curl up in a ball.
Now, to smacks. Every single time I have smacked Ava, it has been because I have been overwhelmed and angry. It has also NEVER improved the situation. Not once has Ava done the right thing after a smack, it usually makes everything worse. Smacking, for Ava, does nothing but make everything worse and make me feel like the worst parent in the world. Time out, yes. Time in, yes, smacking, no. Everyone will have their own opinion on this one, but in my opinion, it does nothing.
But, back to the article; I guess, despite my best intentions, that Ava will grow up into the person she is, shaped and supported by my love and friendship, and guided by what I know of this world. If she knows who she is and what she stands for, and can love someone wih her whole heart, I will be a proud Mummy.