Stuff That No One Tells You

Settling Into Your Parenting Skin

When it comes to parenting, you may think you know ... but just wait until your kids get older

Photograph by Getty Images/Aurora+ RM

When my tween daughter was a baby, I had a lot of opinions about parenting, which is pretty bold considering I had only been a parent for a few minutes.

In fact, I think my legs were still up in the stirrups at the hospital.

Parenting is one of those things about which everyone has something to say, even though many of those people are not actually parents themselves.

And others haven't been parents long enough to have earned the right to open their mouths.

Now I'm not talking about a child's safety or illegal activity. I'm speaking about the parenting decisions we parents of older kids make that we never envisioned when we had babies.

Because when kids grow up, it's a whole different ball game—dishing out judgments on discipline methods is simple when your kids aren't even old enough to misbehave.

Dishing out judgments on discipline methods is simple when your kids aren't even old enough to misbehave.

I admit that I was one of those annoying new parents, with a wee little baby tucked tightly in a sling, wondering out loud who would conceivably allow their kids to run around at a safe, neighborhood playground without parents in direct eyesight.

Then there were the kids playing video games at restaurants. Little boys playing with wooden guns or foam swords.

I can't even remember the number times I spouted out, "I'd never"—to friends, family, even to other mothers.

We'd rock our babies back and forth as they were strapped in their strollers and judge the moms of tweens and teens because we'd somehow be different with our precious babies.

RELATED: Are You Sacrificing too Much of Your Time?

The only problem is that precious babies grow up, and suddenly they get opinions and friends and lives of their very own.

They watch television, even though you carefully choose which ones they're exposed to, and turn LEGOs and wooden blocks into weapons. They won't sit still when you're eating out so you give them a video game to play—just so you can talk to your husband for a minute and eat your meal while it's hot.

I understand that this is pretty tough to imagine when you're just trying to get your little one use a spoon.

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