This parenting stuff is hard.
Don't get me wrong. I love it. I am thrilled to be a mom, and am truly content being a stay-at-home one at that. But it's hard work. I know it's meant to be hard, and that there are many approaches to parenting. I know that there is no one "right" way to parent, although there are a few "wrong" ways (being physically, emotionally, or sexually abusive, as well as neglectful, come to mind). Heck, if there were one right way to parent, there would be one book in the bookstore called "This Is The Parenting Book You're Looking For", instead of THOUSANDS of titles offering different perspectives and approaches.
I doubt myself a lot. My son, D, who is in kindergarten and almost 6, challenges me almost daily. He is a GREAT kid; for those of my readers who know us personally, I know you'd agree. He's a sweet boy, brilliant, kind, curious and the biggest cuddle I know. He truly is a GOOD kid. But boy, does he challenge me! He is a bit immature for his age, and because of that, can get squirrelly (you know how 5 year old boys can be!) He gets the wiggles in school, and can challenge authority by not listening to directions, both at home and at school. It's only February of his kindergarten year and already he's been sent to the principal's office 3 times (for nothing terrible, but still!) I managed to get through 13 years of public school and never once met the principal!
I have taken him 3 times to a psychologist to get evaluated for ADHD; his impulse control has me worried sometimes. Every visit the psychologist told me I had nothing to worry about; he does NOT have ADHD, and he is just a typical, albeit slightly immature, boy. Every teacher, friend, etc who has met him confirm that. Yet I still worry. If he's challenging authority now, how will he be in 10 years? 20 years?
To add to my concern, I myself tend to be an inconsistent parent. I am the type of mom to give many "chances" before I follow through. I have recently changed this, however, and am MUCH more consistent than I used to be. For example, D had a terrible week in school right before Halloween, and I took away trick-or-treating. And I really did! He stayed home that night. That was a turning point for me, proving to myself (and to D) that I can be a consistent parent.
I was raised on Eastern European parenting, and tend to fall back on that in my own approach. Additionally, I tend to react fast (too fast), going from 0 to 60 in no time at all. I need to learn to slow down with my parenting, not to react as fast, to take my time with doling out consequences and rewards. I know this will help with my quest to be a more consistent mom.
I have a fear that I'm not doing it right...that I'm being too harsh...or too lenient. That whatever mistakes I make with him now will come back to bite us both in the ass in years to come. That in 20 years he'll be sitting on a shrink's couch telling her that his issues stemmed from not being able to go trick-or-treating in 2009. Or worse.
God, this parenting stuff is tough.