“My Kids Will Eat Whatever We’re Eating!”: People Are Sharing 30 ‘Parenting Fantasies’ That Just Didn’t Work Out
Nearly every soon-to-be parent has a pretty clear idea of how they will raise their kids. Some fantasize about a screen-free childhood, while others imagine their kids agreeing with every word they say. But the truth is, nothing changes their approach to parenting more like actually having tiny humans coming into this world. Because as every experienced parent knows, reality quickly kicks in when you have to deal with their shenanigans all day, every day.
Well, writer and illustrator Aubrey Hirsch can relate. A few days ago, she took to Twitter to ask fellow moms and dads about the parenting fantasies they gave up on "swiftly and completely" after having kids. She kicked off the thread by revealing her own dream that quickly got shattered: "My kids will eat whatever we're eating!"
Her question resonated with hundreds of parents who wasted no time offering their own hilarious experiences. We at Bored Panda have gathered some of the best responses from the thread, and we hope you'll find comfort in knowing that ditching your ideals is not that big of a deal. Scroll down to read these funny and relatable tweets, and be sure to share your own stories with us in the comments, we’d love to hear them!
While welcoming the little ones into this world is extremely rewarding, raising these tiny bundles of joy is far from an easy task. Sure, it's easy for parents to come up with certain ideas while they are expecting and fantasize about what kind of role models they would be to their kids. But even the most level-headed people feel confused after how much children can turn their life upside down. Luckily, that doesn't stop them from doing everything in their power to do what’s best for their kids.
Parents all over the world deserve everyone’s respect for bending over backward to mold kind, smart, and simply decent human beings. But every now and then, they inevitably start to feel overwhelmed and even confused by their own actions. So if moms and dads want to keep their minds healthy and create positive relationships with their kids, they should try to set some ground rules and boundaries.
To learn more about household rules and maintaining a healthy balance when raising children, we previously reached out to Dr. Sarah Mundy, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and author of Parenting Through Stories. She explained to us in an interview that one of the main jobs parents have is to guide their kids. They must keep them safe and healthy and support them to engage in life. To do this, they also have to teach them to lead their own fulfilling lives, and setting boundaries is one way of achieving that.
“It’s important that boundaries and rules are delivered with warmth and empathy,” Dr. Mundy told Bored Panda. “We are helping our children understand what they have been developed — not as a punishment but as a way of helping our children learn. After all, discipline means to teach, not punish.”
Once children become a little older, parents can start to involve them in creating rules themselves. Dr. Mundy said that more authoritative parents often allow autonomy and encourage independence whilst also setting clear limits on their kids’ behavior. “Children with authoritative parents tend to be more confident, have better emotional regulation and find life easier than those who have parents who are overly authoritarian (‘It’s my way or the high way’) or permissive (‘Just do whatever you want’).”
However, some kids and teenagers have a rebellious side and often push the limits by misbehaving. While this can make parents' lives a bit complicated, children are much more likely to respect household rules if they understand their purpose and know they were set with good intentions, the psychologist argued. “Have a positive relationship with them,” she said. “The more playfulness you have in your relationship with your child, the more you listen to and support them, the more likely they are to follow your boundaries (with a bit of push and pull, of course!).”
But sticking to the rules is not always easy, not even for the parents themselves. “As a parent, I sometimes set unobtainable boundaries (normally when I’m stressed and my children aren’t listening to me) only to have to renege on them,” Dr. Mundy recounted. She said it’s best to avoid going “in gung-ho” when something isn’t going your way and you’re not as emotionally stable as you want to be. “Such emotional states aren’t conducive to thinking straight!”
“Set boundaries that are realistic and achievable and don’t overdo it. You all need to learn and remember what they are and have time to put them into place. Try to help children learn that what is being asked is fun — and teach them how to do them or do them together in the first instance,” Dr. Mundy suggested. But if you lack the energy to create rules in the first place, don’t beat yourself up. “Reflect upon whether you are asking too much of yourself or your child and whether you need to look after yourself a bit more.”
Navigating the parenting minefield can be overwhelming, nearly every parent can attest to that. Luckily for us, Dr. Mundy was ready to offer some advice on setting healthy rules and finding balance within the family. First, she noted to think about what is important to you as a parent. “What do you hope to teach your child and how will you do this in a way? Don’t go overboard with too many rules — start early with small expectations of tasks that you can do together.” Then, make sure to consider what is meaningful to your child. “What are they able to manage? We often expect more of children than they are actually able to do,” the psychologist explained.
If you’re ready for some new ground rules, start with a few simple ones to share with your child. “If they are older you can develop these together. Make sure you are also happy to follow the rules (when appropriate) and explain why these are important,” Dr. Mundy said, adding that you should try to stick to the boundaries so they would become habitual in your household.
“If you come up with struggles in setting these boundaries, don’t panic. Think about why this might be, whether you are being too rigid or too permissive, whether you need more time connecting with your child, etc. Always try to take responsibility for what you did wrong and repair your relationship with your child,” Dr. Mundy concluded.