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Our Personalities Affect Our Parenting

Londo and I had an interesting talk the other night. We were talking about the Pumpkin and her physical abilities. I told Londo that I thought he might be underestimating her capabilities. He responded that I might be overestimating her capabilities. I said that that might be true, but also that I expect that she will fall and hurt herself and was okay with that. Which I am except, of course, if it is fall from a significant height or by sharp corners and things like that.

I got thinking about this later, and I believe that I was wrong about what I first said to him. I don't think the difference we have in what we think she is physically capable of. Well, we do have slight differences there, but it's probably not as vast as it feels. I think what I said later is really the issue we have.

My husband tends to think about the worst case scenario and plan for that. This is a really great trait to have, which has helped him at work and at home. I do love that he can do that. He is all about preventing unnecessary problems. This translates to the Pumpkin, as well as for me and the world around him. Londo analyzes situations at a glance and is able to see what could go wrong. He then figures out and implements what to do to prevent it. By doing so, he often points out to me accidents that could happen that I didn't think of or situations where I didn't see the danger.

I do not think that way. I absolutely can analyze a situation for potential harm and do what is needed to prevent it. However, I usually have to stop and decide to analyze. It is not second nature to me the way it is to Londo. I tend to think instead of what I consider the most likely scenario and evaluate if I'm okay with that scenario or not. Usually, I don't consider the worst thing that could happen the most likely thing that will happen.

Let's use the example that started this discussion the other night. We have a pretty tall bed, and we have stairs next to the bed so that the dog (and now toddler) can get up on the bed more easily (our dog has a bad back). I told Londo about how the Pumpkin now wants to walk down the stairs from the bed by herself without any help. There is no railing for her to hold, and so Londo worries about her trying to walk down by herself with nothing to hold. I explained that she holds the bed post (it's a four poster bed) for the top two stairs, but he was concerned that the post was not helpful enough, espcially since she couldn't reach on the bottom stair. He is concerned that she is not stable enough and will fall. I view it as she is pretty stable at the top, and if she falls from the bottom two stairs, it's not so far that she will get hurt badly--just a little bump and started.

This difference in parenting also includes the fact that Londo would rather put up with her fit and fussing but make her hold his hand while she walks down every time she goes down, while I would rather not have the fit and fussing and let her go down herself every time even though one or two of those times she might fall. I also think I'm more likely to let her try new things that she wants to try, while Londo is concerned about why trying that thing would be dangerous.

I don't think one particular way of thinking or parenting is better than the other. In fact, I think it's good for her to see that there are different, valid ways to look at the world. But these differences in our personalities and parenting styles can cause disagreements. We work them out, and we both have to make concessions (yes, I do make concessions). It's part of the constant dialogue that Londo and I have in our marriage, which I'm sure will only need to increase as we have future another child and as our children get older.


Cloud said…
So true. I think I'm more like Londo and Hubby is more like you in terms of potentially risky behavior. But I am all about finding ways to get things done without Pumpkin fussing at me, whereas Hubby is more likely to try to insist on doing things his way.
I'm Not Skippy said…
Replace you with me and Londo with my wife and that's about how we are too. I would rather let him try something new, even if it isn't the safest thing to do, than hold him back.

Every night at some point during his bath, our little guy grabs onto the side of the tub and stands up. My wife is very adamant about making him sit down immediately and tries anything she can to prevent him from standing up in the first place. I always think him standing may not be 100% safe, but we're right by him, he's not going to drown, I'm playing lifeguard, what's the big deal? . . The big deal is last night he grabbed onto the side, got halfway up and fell. I was holding his arm at the time, so I slowed his fall. No, he wasn't hurt, but he was shaken up a bit.

OK so what does that mean? He fell, maybe it taught him that standing up in the tub isn't the best idea. . . no, it didn't. Once he was stable he tried to do it again. He can't make that cause & effect relationship there. In fact, if I had to guess, he blamed me more than the slippery tub.

So if you are the guard rail and they still get hurt then it's your fault.

You guys seem to have a good balance going.
paola said…
Interesting. My husband is more like you then, and I'm more like Londo. I assess almost every potential for disaster before taking my eye off my kids, whereas DH (bordering on negligence, I believe!!!)has faith that my kids will not kill themselves if you happen to take your eye off them for a split second. I'm particulary vigilant with small objects that can be easy swallowed as Zoe will put everything in her mouth, especially texta lids, whereas hubby is much more blasé. I will not take my eye off them for a second at the park ( sometimes difficult with two running round). Call me paranoid, or maybe I just know more about what my children can handle and what dangers they are attracted by (Zoe thinks medicine is a synonym for candy and so will readily put the dishwasher detergent tablet in her mouth, you know?)
ImpostorMom said…
I think I might be a mix of both. I generally let Boog try new things but most of the time I can envision the worst possible scenario. This is most likely me being a paranoid freak but it has caused me to ensure that I'm in a position to intervene if necessary on some occasions.
you are so kind to explain Londo's reaction how you do. I simply tease heSaid for being a helicopter parent.

I am home all day with babySaid... If I had to watch ever little move he made and protect him from everything, I would have gone crazy and ended it all! I figure my job is not to protect him, but to prevent him from killing himself and helping him to learn how to recover on his own. Life has many bumps throw our way, we have to have a chance to stretch our feet and possibly fall to learn. Loves ones are there to help you get back on your feet.

Welcome to metaphor mixing thursdays ;)
HeatherY said…
I agree that is is about each parent's personality that shapes how they parent. I've always been really laid back when it comes to her climbing and playing. She's allowed to get totally filthy and climb what she can (within reason). It's important to let them try. It's how they learn.
Becoming Mommy said…
Hubby is the riskier one and I'm the more cautious. I mean, I don't care if he's dirty or lets the dogs french him or whatever....I'm mor concerned about him splitting his head open or breaking his neck. Or getting way too hyped up too close to bedtime.
But other than that, our parenting styles are VERY similar. We're actually pretty strict. Even with a tot.
Don Mills Diva said…
Very interesting observations. I am pretty unflappable because at all times, in my mind I have already mapped out a coping strategy for the worst case scenario...

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