The Casual Question
Which came first: the chicken or the egg? It’s a question that has been asked and discussed for decades, and it’s a question that everyone has their opinion/answer to. I have a small spin I would like to put on this one: Which came first: the casual parent or the casual kid?
When we hang out with our friends or family and I see other parenting styles, I think about how I would handle whatever it is that they are dealing with. Would I react the same way if Connor were doing what their child was doing? I usually end up coming to the conclusion that I would handle it differently, or that Connor wouldn’t do that in the first place.
Are overprotective parents overprotective because their child is overly adventurous and caution-less? Or is their child trying to push back against the barriers created for them? Would the child behave differently with different parents? Of course, the answer to that one is yes, because your parents, good or bad, shape who you are.
If a child grows up with distant parents, they will either become distant themselves when they have kids, or they’ll go the exact other direction and be as involved as humanly possible. Both of those options will impact how their child grows up and what sort of parent that child grows into. It’s an interesting system.
People talk about the cycle of abuse, especially with young children, and I think this is a similar (albeit, considerably less detrimental) situation. You are who you are as a result of your parents and their methods.
Maybe you choose not to spank because your parents spanked you and you feel like it only made you resentful and/or didn’t improve your behavior as a child. Maybe you choose to spank because your parents didn’t and you think you would’ve been a better child if they had. Maybe you choose to spank because your parents did and you think it worked well for you. There are hundreds of examples of variations within the parenting spectrum that impact who you are and what sort of parent you are/will become.
I know for a fact that I am a casual parent as a result of the kind of parents I had. I know that my sister is more like my mom in her parenting (although neither of them will agree to that). I also know that if my parents had raised us the way their parents raised them, I would be a very different person and a very different mom.
I wonder all the time if I would be this laid back if my boys were more high intensity kids. Am I feeding off their easy-going behavior or vice versa?
There’s no way to really know, I suppose, but it’s interesting to think about. I can say that I am really looking forward to seeing the people they become and the sort of parents they will eventually be (many, many years from now).