What Gina Ford taught me…

May 21, 2013


Dear Max

Up until about two weeks ago, I was feeling more than a little out of control with the parenting thing. I mean, I know there are rough and challenging patches, but I felt out of control, and unable to say no, nor even set rules and boundaries for you – let alone follow them through. You were also a bit sick, and I reckon it was all connected, but I’m not sure which came first.

So last week your dad and I met to chat about rules and routine – and how we can initiate more structure, and make you feel “safer” with consistency. Fortunately we’re both on the exact same page with the same goals and similar parenting style.


What I think happened was that I got “soft”, and unable to see you frustrated, angry or sad, so I would do anything to prevent that – even if it meant giving you your way a lot. And then a psychologist explained that I’m probably doing a lot of overcompensating, that it’s okay for you to feel, and that with so much “freedom”, you actually feel scared and lost with so much power.

So a bit desperate, I tried to follow this approach with more discipline and boundaries, letting you “feel”, lots more communication, and rewards, like our new star chart. And so far, things have just turned around. We have more routine, you’re watching much less TV, you’re eating at the table, you’re sleeping in your own bed (the first night took much persuasion and reassurance) and nighttimes are easier. It’s not smooth all the time, but wow – what a difference some routine makes. Your health is better, you’re more chatty, and mostly less anxious when we drop you off at school.

And I don’t know why I even forgot this. We were in routine from the day you were born with Gina Ford’s Contented Parent Baby Book, and I think it gave us confidence and “security” knowing what was potting, and what was coming next, more or less. And I think the same applies these days, even though you’re older. So for now, this is our way. Even if our way includes occasional chocolate cake for breakfast (eaten at the table, of course!)



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