Friday Flotsam: 10.21.2011

On our bad days, a diaper change in our house can look like a scene from the World Wrestling Federation. As I write this, I have two sprained fingers from a particularly bad diaper change. I swear, LM has the strength of 10 babies!

Just came across this interesting blog post titled "How To Love A Diaper Change". Hmph, I thought, when reading the title.
"Diaper changes are built for intimacy. And all we need to turn diapering from a difficult, dreaded chore into a mutually gratifying experience is to change our perception, to appreciate the moment as an opportunity for developing a closer partnership with our child. Remembering to slow down, to include our baby instead of distracting him, ask for his assistance, use gentle “asking hands” instead of busy, efficient ones can literally transform a mundane task into a time of mutual enrichment."
Hmph, again.

They suggest timing the change to when it's convenient for the child, paying attention to the whole child vs. just their lower half, talking them through the entire process (I'm going to wipe your bottom now)...you get the idea.

I like the thought of respecting LM as an individual who has preferences about his own body. And there definitely are a few tips in here that I'll try to incorporate into our diapering routine to see if it helps.

But after reading this article, I'm again contemplating one of my favorite (as of late) subjects--overindulgent parenting.

This is one thing the author said that gave me pause:

"A baby might wish to roll to his tummy to be wiped, or be in an all fours crawling position. The toddler may need to stand and be changed on a pad on the floor.  Continue to ask for cooperation, but compromise and allow the child to do things his way if you can make it work." 
Does this seem strange to anyone else? Ummm, no. Not going to happen. When LM starts rolling around, it's not because he wants to be wiped on his tummy. It's because he wants the diaper change to be over. If I cater and wipe him however he might be (on tummy, standing, etc.) then what am I teaching him?

Granted, this is *just* a diaper change. But I see a diaper change as an opportunity to learn some life lessons, like, sometimes you have to be a part of things that are annoying, and you have to follow someone else's rules. There are things in life, like diaper changes, that are just plain poopy (pun intended!). And you learn to deal with them.

This brings me to the point of my diatribe today...overindulgent parenting. It's turning into one of my favorite subjects to contemplate.

Now, talking about parenting styles is always a bit like talking politics. I realize this can be a hot topic for some. Everyone has a different opinion---sometimes strong ones---about what is right and wrong for children. One size does not fit all. And there is room for many opinions without slinging the judgement hammer.

For me, allowing a child to dictate the rules of a diaper change is overindulgent.

I believe in parenting with love, kindness, and respect. But I also believe in preparing children for the real world, which has rules that they will be expected to follow. I'm not talking about running the house like a Marine. I'm just saying that you learn there are rules out there and you follow them, whether you want to or not.

Like laying on the changer when you are getting your diaper changed. I know it sucks to take 5 minutes away from your toys and have your butt wiped. We have bodily functions that get in the way of doing what we want to do sometimes. I'm not saying he has to be happy about it. He can cry and shout if he wants to express his frustration. I'm just saying that diaper changes are a non-negotiable item in our house.

I don't know where exactly, the line between overindulgent parenting and a more disciplined parenting style is exactly. More specifically, I'm not sure where my line between the two is. Basically, we are still developing our parenting style, which is heavy on the positive parenting aspect. But I also know kids need and thrive on rules and discipline. It's how those tiny scientists figure out how the world operates, and their role in it.

Of course, when I really go into deep thinker mode about this, I think about the difference in parenting styles between cultures. My approach to parenting is very American. In Korea, parents are often much more indulgent (not sure if they are overindulgent or not) with children. What would a diaper change for LM be like in Korea?

Too much thinking for a Friday.

So how do you define overindulgent parenting? And what is your parenting style?

Have a great weekend!


To learn and read: Learning During Read Alouds: Print Referencing

To consider: Is 'Choice' Less Accepted for Mothers?

To understand your brain: If My Brain Were An Imaginary Friend

To recognize emotions: Ghost Expression Game

To make an awesome lunch: Halloween Joke Lunchbox Notes

To decorate for Halloween: Spider Webs From Coffee Filters


  1. Hi Pix, we brought our son home from Korea not long after you did and I always find your posts thoughtful, reflective and often very applicable to my thoughts and days around here. Thanks so much for spending the time to share.

  2. Oh boy, I was right there with the hmph! sentiment. I hate those type of articles from supposed 'experts' in the field. It is like they are out to guilt the parents or put more pressure on us than we already do!! I am with you and feel like our modern culture often swings too far into the overindulgent zone of thinking. It is always about kid-power or inflating their fragile egos etc. I too think that we are doing them the utmost honor by teaching them that yeah, sometimes life is inconvenient or you have to do stuff you don't like just because it is what has to happen to make a situation work in the long run. I have seen a lot of negative long-term behavior from kids that were given free reign to do as they pleased at every given moment. Constant entertainment and constant choices is a disservice to our kids. You can still love them and respect them while setting limits & expectations. More studies show that kids are more comfortable with defined parameters. Really, I swear I am not making this up.

    But, back specifically to your diaper change dilemma. MAYBE, just MAYBE this will translate into LM being quick to potty train? You can sell the idea that you won't have to take extra time away from his playing and other important daily activities of choice if he just takes the 2 seconds to go use the toilet. Sounds good in theory anyway, right? Hee Hee. Good luck!

  3. oh diaper changing. One of my least favorite activities with D because he just wanted to move! But I agree, it's gotta be done. I was all about distraction, though singing worked really well for us (when I remembered) - he stayed still, it was a moment for him and me, and his diaper got changed. And it reminded me to be less task-oriented and more relationship-focused, which turns out for me, is a good thing. I agree about overindulging our kids can be a problem, but it is also good parenting to figure out how to minimize the tension doing those things that we just have to do. So yes, you are getting your diaper changed, while laying on the changer, on your back, and without your beloved blanket in your hand. But we get to sing a song while we do it. :)

    And the best part of this post is seeing that you are developing a parenting style. And THAT is awesome.

  4. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I'm with you on diaper changes. She may not want it done, but there's really no negotiation when it comes to a dirty diaper. There are definitely moments in parenting when I will take into consideration her particular wants and ways on how to go about doing things, but diaper changes are not one of them.
    In regards to cultural differences, I have noticed that parents in Korea tend to be more indulgent of their children than the Korean parents in America.

  5. I might be in the middle! My SW said I'm an 'involved parent' I think. We set rules and routine, but we also try to make things fun.

    For changing, I use a lot of distraction, singing and toys. I try to start with a game, to get a giggle, for example: I zip up close and say "near" (and then we rub noses) then I zip away and yell "far"! I also let him get up (AFTER he's wiped) and stand or play while his bottom dries.

    I think I'm fairly laid back, I don't know if that's indulgent? We do stick to routine, but I also like to give him choices (like which book to read at night, or toy to play with while getting changed) and try to make sure he's happy about what we're doing. Face washing was a big one, he fought and fought but now I find if I tell him which part of his face I'm washing next, he's usually pretty happy about it. I guess I try to teach him the rules, but also try to apply them in a way that makes him happy whenever possible...

  6. Came back because I thought of something else. Our guy likes to lift his bum in the air sometimes. I started using this as a way to get the diaper under him, reinforcing this by telling him how helpful he is. If he doesn't go back down, I give a tickle and he drops his bottom. I also let him get up before I put the diaper on and help me push his old diaper into the diaper genie, letting him help seems to help him with the whole ordeal. He still yells when I tell him it's time to do his diaper, but at least he doesn't yell and fight the whole time! Plus, he's taking part in his care so rather than being totally 'indulgent' he's learning to take part.

    For me, I think an overly-indulgent parent might be one with no rules or routine and lots of treats, a 'whatever-he-wants' parent. I think a good parent is indulgent with quality time, while working with rules and routine but leaving room for flexibility when required.


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