From the blog

Do kids need a reason when we tell them no, and should a woman who has miscarried keep the pregnancy good news to herself are this week’s Dear Elle queries.

As is the tradition on Friday’s here are this week’s Dear Elle columns!  Read on, share with friends, and fellow followers, and as always the gals behind @milknheels and I always want to know what you’re thinking!  So reach out and let us know!

I have many feelings about people who think they need to explain everything that comes out of their mouths to their children.  I believe that, as in all situations in life, especially parenting, we need to strike a balance.  I also feel like nobody should suffer alone, but understand the second Dear Elle letter, where a woman is seeking advice about whether or not to share her good pregnancy news with her boyfriend after suffering through the heart ache of two miscarriages together.

Read the columns below!

Dear Elle,

My kids feel that they always need an explanation from me and my husband for EVERYTHING! Can’t no just mean no? I need to know, do I owe my kids explanations for all of my decisions?  Doesn’t being the parent afford me the right to answer the “why’s” with “because I said so”???

From Apologies and Explanations

Hi Apologies and Explanations,

Well, I’m probably not going to win any friends or influence people with this answer but I definitely pulled the “because I said so” reason with my three girls a good amount.  I’m old fashioned, I don’t subscribe to this new trend in parenting that some parents seem to be into, which is behaving like your children are actually partners in their child raising, and your adult life.  For me they’re not. They don’t need a drawn-out theory behind every single decision you make as their parent. It’s time consuming and sets them up to believe that they have a say in all things all around them.  Such as challenging their teachers, or other adults who are in a position of authority with them. So, I suppose the short answer is no, kids neither need nor deserve a lengthy response to why you’re telling them they cannot do something or have something.  I’m sure you’re fair, and kind and loving, and like all parents want what’s best for them. You need to remind them of this right before you tell them no.

But, I will also say this, because we did respect our kids, as I’m sure you do yours, we had this house rule.  Because as parents we can often be tired, and NO is an easy answer, we decided that in order to say NO to our girls, we had to have three solid reasons as to why we were saying it.  We didn’t necessarily have to give the full explanation to them, but we had to know it within ourselves why we were saying it. Try this and see if some of your easy NOS turn into YESES.

Xo Elle

Dear Elle,

In the last two years my boyfriend and I have been through some devastating hardships.  We have been trying to have a baby, we were so happy when we managed to get pregnant, but then had two miscarriages.  I am now five weeks pregnant and haven’t told my boyfriend about the pregnancy.  I feel like this two year roller-coaster ride has taken a toll on him emotionally and I want to protect him. I also want so badly to celebrate but am so scared too.  I want to share with my boyfriend, but should I wait until the three month mark before I get his hopes ups?

From,

Drop the mis I wanna CARRY the baby.

Dearest Drop the MIS I wanna CARRY the baby,

Let me begin by saying how very sorry I am for the losses of your two babies.  I can’t imagine how devastating that must have been for you.

Congratulations on this latest pregnancy.  What a gift and a blessing.

This is a tough one.  For me, I can’t keep my mouth shut, especially if it is something I’m anxious about, or feeling like I need support with.  Being pregnant “all alone” after suffering through the loss of two babies, is definitely one of those times I would want my partner in my corner.  But, I’m not you, I don’t know your boyfriend either. Perhaps he’s not strong enough to withstand the possible loss of another baby. Maybe he is.  I don’t know. What I do know is this, if you do suffer another miscarriage would you just not tell him? I mean, I don’t understand what the thought process is here?  I get that you’re trying to be thoughtful and protect his heart from any more potential pain, but what about your own? Don’t you want/need to celebrate the pregnancy with the father of your baby?  I know for sure that I would. I mean, you’re a couple, you’re a team, and I think it’s important to be unified in spirit, purpose and desire. Together you can focus on this pregnancy sticking and celebrating with gratitude the miracle of it all, rather than living quietly in the dark about what is going on with you.  Which is huge, you’re creating life. I wouldn’t go out and tell everybody, expect perhaps your mom, everybody needs their mom, especially during times like these.

I can’t tell you what you should do, but I know what I would absolutely do, and that is that I would tell my partner about the pregnancy.

Good luck with holding this baby, I’m rooting for you!

Xo

Elle

1 Comment

  1. Kids don’t need to know why we’ve said NO. I absolutely agree with you on the reasons, too, especially this current trend of them being partners in raising them. Nope.

    I once worked for God. Well, not really, but the pediatrician I worked for could have easily stepped in as a sub any time. Dr O was thoughtful, compassionate, astute, kind, basically everything you’d ever want in a pediatrician. He taught me some amazing things about parenting (he’s also the reason I ended up as an RN). 1) kids have short attention spans & being overly wordy with them during disciplinary moments dilutes your message. They really aren’t listening to you after you say NO. His rule for kids was 1 word per each year of age. For a 2 yr old a simple “no biting” goes a lot further than a whole dialogue on why biting is wrong. It worked. My daughter went through a biting phase & it was so bad the preschool suspended her for 2 days. I sat her down and firmly said, “no biting”. We repeated that phrase often for almost two weeks. And then it stopped. The biting was no more! One day, at the zoo, we were at the gorilla enclosure & mama gorilla had her new baby with her. Baby went to feed, as babies do & my daughter started yelling “no biting! No biting” at the glass divider. Then she ran to me, sad and confused. I assured her that the baby was just eating, not biting. Never had a single biting incident after that. 2) families are, in reality, a benevolent dictatorship. We parents guide our babies by setting boundaries & by being consistent with our behaviors and reinforcing the boundaries we establish (as the adults, giving your kids a roadmap of strong, consistent, and loving rules as well as limitations, is one of the best gifts to give your child.)
    3) Never negotiate with the kids. You’ll be stuck in a loop without a clear exit. If curfew is 10pm, curfew is non-negotiable. You set the tone & the rules.
    4) if you MUST need to do a little cajoling to get a kid to fall in line, then that’s how you roll. For instance: kid needs medicine, kid doesn’t WANT to take meds. What do you do? Give them a choice, but only a controlled choice. “Do you want to take your medicine sitting up or take it lying down?” YOU control the outcome by establishing boundaries at the beginning. The meds are going in, the child feels like they had a say. It was a quick and easy, stealth parenting Jedi mind trick.
    5) love is consistency and consistency is love. Yep, came back to that one again because it’s so important. The more consistent you are with your kids, the fewer challenges to your authority you’ll have. On my 2 kids’ lifetimes, I’ve rarely had to do more than a time out as punishment. O rarely raised my voice. I was lucky, yes, but I was also consistent. We didn’t have those long, drawn out battles about… well, anything. I followed Dr O’s rules and, by jove, he was right about everything! 35 years as a pediatrician and a gentle human being served him and all his patients’ families quite well.

    As for the dear woman struggling with whether or not to tell her boyfriend about the pregnancy, please tell him. You sound very thoughtful and kind, so lying or omitting details of your shrared world would be a betrayal of all you’ve built as a couple. You created that life together and you should celebrate (and/or mourn) that miracle together. If he’s unable to bear the loss, it’s best to know now. You need a partner with whom to share all of life’s ups and downs. Plus, not telling him and then him finding out later? That hurts even more.

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