Am I a Normal Parent?

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Have you ever wondered how your parenting compares to that of other moms? This lighthearted piece takes a look at common family issues and who’s doing what about them.

It may be one of life’s oldest professions, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally: parenting is very complex and challenging. We often feel helpless because there’s no definitive rulebook, so we wonder if we’re making or breaking our kids.

There are many innovative ways to raise kids, and no one way is perfect. The little humor book, Are You Normal? by Bernice Kanner shares fascinating statistics about raising kids. It may be reassuring—or maybe not—to see how you fare according to this book.What’s your morning routine? When it comes to making the bed each day, parents with young children usually don’t. Only 19 percent of parents reported that they make this a practice although they tell their kids to do it. According to the book, only about nine percent of dads pitch in. Just think, if your child’s father makes the bed every day he is literally one in a million!Instead of the slogan Got Milk, how about Got Magnets? In most homes, including mine, the refrigerator holds more than food. About four in 10 American kitchens proudly display photographs and children’s artwork on the fridge. Every once in a while I have to remove magnets and clean off the front of my fridge. Let’s hope a cluttered refrigerator door is the mark of a healthy, happy family.Catch the sniffles again? The average child catches six to 10 colds a year. Boys get sick more often than girls, and moms succumb to more colds than dads. I propose the reason for this is because Mom usually stays home with the sick kid—and then she gets sick too.Did you wash your hands? That question echoes in my home every day. American parents can take pride, we have taught our children well. According to research more than half of our kids wash with soap and water all the time after using the restroom.Can you open your medicine bottle? The childproof caps on medicine bottles aggravate one in five people—me included. The comedy of errors is that many children figure a way to open the bottle anyhow. My sister-in-law’s dog even figured it out and devoured the pills inside.

May I speak to the lady of the house?One of the biggest irritations to families is the unsolicited sales calls that always seem to interrupt dinner.Brag about your kids? Almost three out of four people surveyed—72 percent—admit they call their parents to boast about a child’s report card. It seems we never outgrow our need for Mom or Dad’s approval.What’s the first thing you do when you come home? Eight percent of parents responded, “Hug my kid.” Most parents reported kicking off their shoes as their first order of business. Twenty percent said they change clothes first, and 10 percent listen to the phone messages or open the mail.

So, where do you fit in? There are some areas where I’m in the majority (I brag about my kids to anyone who’ll listen), while I’m in the minority on others (my hubby is one in a million by making our bed each morning, bless him).

Today, my children are teenagers and I occasionally wonder if I’m being reasonable in my rules. Fortunately, my husband and I joined a class for parents of teens at our church. By talking with others about their home life, swapping stories, and opinions I often drive home assured I’m pretty normal. Better yet, I realize my kids are too.

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