Grandma Gives Three Old Fashioned Parenting Rules a Fail

Not all old fashioned parenting rules work. Some get a fail from this Grandma. Either they don't make sense in the modern world or they never made sense at all. Some rules might not fit your personal parenting style. Others are just plain cruel. Parenting is not a dictatorship. It's about raising kids who are mentally and physically sound. Just because your parents or grandparents subscribed to these three rules, doesn't mean they'll work for you.

  1.  My way or the highway. This policy is a great way to drive your kids right out of the house. That might sound good if they're teenagers. Problem is, you might drive them out before they're prepared to be on their own. Giving kids the tools they need to survive in the adult world means letting them make occasional bad choices. That's how they learn. (Just like you did.) Remember that? So give advice, but unless they're making dangerous choices, let them give their ideas a test run.
  2.  Don't speak unless you're spoken to. Where do I begin? Do you want to raise kids who are complete social misfits? These days, socialization is a ladder to success. How will your kids learn to socialize if you don't let them speak their minds? How will they ever think for themselves if you're always lording it over them? Your right to free speech is important. Theirs is no less important. We all have an opinion. Don't teach kids to be afraid of theirs.
  3.  Spare the rod and spoil the child. In a sense, I agree with this statement. I just think the meaning of the rod was misinterpreted. Shepherds used rods to guide their sheep, not to pound on them. After all, a dead sheep produces no wool. In the same respect, a bruised and battered child has no hope for their future. Stop keeping your child down by beating them into submission. Work to build them up. Use the rod and staff to guide them through life. It's a rocky road. They need someone they can trust to lead the way. They don't need someone who pummels them for every wrong move.

On a personal note:

I was raised by two of these rules. My parents had good intentions, but they parented just as their parents did. I don't blame my parents, I blame the rules they were taught. Yes, I came out alright. It did, however, take me a considerable amount of time to conquer a couple of issues.

*I went through a period where I had trouble making good decisions. Could it be that's because I never was allowed to practice? Once I gained the privilege of deciding my path in life, I had no sense of direction. There was nobody to tell me what to do. I'd never been allowed independent thought. Luckily, I've found my way. Unfortunately, it wasn't without a lot of unnecessary stumbling.

*As a young adult, I had a truly difficult time speaking my mind without considering who I was speaking to. Why is that so bad? Well, shouldn't your opinion be the same, no matter who you're addressing? To this day, I have a hard time in social situations. I never really had any conversational practice as a child. I'm taking the social falls now that I should have taken then, as practice for adult life.

There is some merit in these old fashioned parenting rules. They sound great on the surface. If you delve deeper, though, you'll find there are many flaws. Do you want your kids to fear you or respect you? There is a huge difference. To gain respect, you must first give it. That old fashioned rule is a keeper.