Friday, June 10, 2011

So Tired-Rant about an Article

I was originally going to post some stuff that I've seen recently but it's on Hub's computer and I'm too tired anyway. Hub's been telling me about a grad student from China whose office is next to him. Apparently, this gentlemen is from a rural part of China and he is a third child. His parents hid his existence until he was two. He strongly hates the one-child policy (I assume from what Hubby said) and intends to make a bunch of money here in the states so he can have as many children as he wants. In other words, he's going to pay the fine. He also says that the forced abortions that are going on there are murder. I'm supposed to meet him for lunch at some point and am totally stoked. I'm mentally thinking of ways to broach a number of subjects with him including how I ended up boycotting China and his opinion. Of course he'll probably disagree, but my conscience is way clearer knowing that I'm not buying stuff made in awful working conditions or by forced laborers. And I'm sure he'll be understanding and at best think it's novel. I don't do what I do because I hate Chinese people. I do what I do because I love them strongly and deeply and want better lives for them. He can probably get that especially since he's going to have to pay a lot of money just to have children.

A while ago I cracked open the MOPS magazine Momsense and read an article called "The Nap Zone" for the column One Tough Mother by Julie Barnhill. The article talks about a 3.5 year old at nap time. Let me quote some for you. Emphasis is mine.

And he refuses to budge--toward the bedroom, couch, comfort blanket and/or any device that may contribute to his assuming a prone position and dozing off to Nappyland?

I've known a few moms who capitulated; just threw up their hands and declared, "Fine you win," and never"made" their child do anything against their will from that day forward. (You'll find their back-bones up for bid on eBay.) But countless others, including me, have dropped to their knees, looked said protester in the eyes and declared, "You can run, but you can't hid, and resistance is futile."

First things first, this woman is clearly being unreasonable. 3-4 year olds typically drop their nap. This is normal. And it is totally normal that they are still tired and need to learn about rest periods. A rest period where they can watch a video or color or read or some other quiet activities for about an hour or so. So she's totally out of line saying that some moms give up on the nap because they want to avoid a struggle. The real reason is because it's normal for children to give up their nap. I'll note that it says she's raised three children and written 12 books. Apparently she's missed the studies, the book by Dr. Ferber, and any other books about children's sleeping patterns when she wrote this stupid article.

Secondly, she has the audacity to talk about other mothers who choose to let the nap issue go in such a negative light. How dare she decide that because another mother has a different parenting style that she can speak about them in such a way!!! I'm not perfect. But I would never say another mother had no backbone because she parents differently. When I critique (not criticize as she clearly is doing), I look at the reasons why I disagree. But I also am aware that whatever works for me doesn't work for somebody else. That doesn't mean it's wrong. Her remark is callous and petty.

Thirdly, is she advocating that we force children to do something against their will? I have a real problem with that. Granted her audience is supposedly decent moms but... I want my children to learn to obey God and not me. I want them to learn to think for themselves and have independence. I want them to tell me when I'm out-of-line because we've built a house from trust and respect. I don't even kiss my child without asking him first. I don't force him to do things against his will unless the things he's about to do are going to A) harm him or others or B) destroy property. Basically I don't let him electrocute himself or mess with the laptop. I don't "make" him eat his food if he doesn't want to or wear certain clothes if he doesn't want to (he actually doesn't care about that so much). I respect him. It's a different parenting style: neither overly permissive nor authoritarian. And, Mrs. Barnhill, it's the most healthiest of lifestyles because children who are raised this way don't get into drugs or alcohol etc because they've been taught *gasp* to make choices their whole lives. In my mind, the goal is to guide and to teach moral values not make a child obey me.

What's more is this trash is being published in a Christian magazine geared toward other mothers. Granted the magazine (as many do) explicitly say they do not endorse or refute a columnist's opinion, but if they want a decent readership, most magazines try to stay with a standard. This is the first piece that I've read that went way overboard. Reign her in please.

I was so disgusted after I read those remarks that I couldn't finish reading the other articles and threw the magazine aside. I think she needs a nap.

2 comments:

  1. :-( I'll admit I'm a bit jealous of those who's older children nap... but yeah the attitude here is pretty sad.

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  2. Not as a mother yet, but as a former teacher in classrooms of 3-and-4-year olds and someone working on an advanced degree in children's studies - especially studies of children's spirituality - I'm pretty appalled by the article that you mentioned, too. The most I ever asked of my students during naptime was that they stay quiet because some of their friends needed to sleep - I never even said "You need to rest." They were in charge of their bodies. Lo and behold, everyone was fine. The exhausted children slept, the ones who'd outgrown naps got some needed time in contemplative solitude, some dozed, and many changed as the year progressed. The rest is worse: a child is not the right proving-ground for whether a woman "has a backbone" or not. I think power dynamics are so painful; whenever human beings attach their worth to how much power they have over another, even in the parent-child relationship, it takes us away from the loving design of things. Thanks for sharing this article and your views!

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!