I don’t understand other parents. I try. Usually I fail. I’m not saying there is something wrong with other parents, I’m saying I just don’t understand them.
I’m by all standards a young parent. At thirty six, I have a twelve year old, a ten, and a four. I spent most of my twenties and all of my thirties being a ‘rent. Most of my friends are just now getting married and having kids. Nothing wrong with that. I guess my point is that I’ve been at this parenting game a little longer than most for my age.
My kids are what I believe to be fairly well rounded, polite, respectful, and in the case of Little One: full of mirth. All three seem to be very happy, content kids, at least to me. Of course like any other parent I’m biased. Of course. All but the most shitty parents think their kid is special.
And that brings me to why I don’t understand other parents. There’s been a fundamental shift in parenting since I started out. These new parents seem to lack the ability to control the situation. I don’t know how this happened or for that matter why it happened. I’ve seen this at restaurants; little kid misbehaving, talking back to the parent in question, while the parents look at each other exasperated or even better ignore the kid! In line at the cash register, kid in front of me is screaming bloody murder, parent ignores it like nothings happening. Kid misbehaves at school, gets rambunctious and pays no attention to the teacher, ‘rents take it to the Doctor, Doctor prescribes meds, kid and parents go back to ignoring each other. No punishment for acting out, no control.
What the hell? Where the hell did all these wimpy parents come from?
I think I see a pattern emerging where these new parents are taking up too much information from the self help and human potential movement to the point where they’ve become gun shy in raising the kids. What do I mean by that? They seem reluctant to do what my parents did and their parents did in the past which is actually punish children when they do something bad. I’m not saying or endorsing full on “lets whooop Little Mikey with Daddy’s belt” here type stuff. I’m saying, what the hell happened to taking responsibility for actions?
In my family, my wife and I, decided early on without a conscious decision that we were going to run our family as a traditional as possible. As far as the kids are concerned Mommy is nominally in charge, she provides all the discipline, encouragement, and nurturing that a good XO of the ship would do. Me, I’m kept as Captain Queeg, never sure if the ball bearings I’ve got in my hand are enough to keep me from doing harm, potentially. When something has occurred that requires Daddy’s involvement, its not good. But the system works. My kids respond to it.
That’s not saying we run the household with an iron fist, not by any means. What I am saying is that I don’t have outbursts in public! I have never to receive a report card where behavior was an issue!
One of our earliest decisions regarding our kids was to never ever EVER baby talk the kids. You know what baby talk is right?
“hows da wittle baby doooing, hows mommas widdle bundle, oh my hows da baby!!”
Are you retarded? Did you fall and hit your head during a midnight feeding? Why would you purposely speak to another human like that? Can you imagine going into the office:
“Hows da wittle manager dooooing, how’s worker’s widdle bundle, oh my hows da manager!!
Doesn’t seem to be a good idea, but you’re ok doing that to your kid? In my experience, I’ve seen it go both ways: we’ve always spoke in normal human voice to our kids and I’ve seen the opposite where the baby talk routine is used through college. Guess which one I favor…
I’ve got a few teacher friends here in the area. For the most part when they aren’t pulling their hair out of their heads trying to comply with silly state testing requirements they have wimpy parents to deal with. Now, I’m not saying there’s an issue and the parent rolls over in the subsequent meeting, I’m saying that the wimpy parent comes in and blames in this order: Assitant teacher, Substitute Teacher, Regular Teacher, School Psychologist, Guidance Counselor, Vice Principal, and the Principal for whatever their Precious Little Snowflake has done or not done. Notice something missing? People I’ve left out? Someone(s) more closely involved in the upbringing of the child in question?
My kids get a meeting at school like that, the first thing I have to do is put my wife on suicide watch because she’s sure, whatever it is, that she’s failed as a parent! Why? Because she takes direct responsibility for the kids. She knows that the kids will know that particular teacher for a 9 to 10 month period in their life and never again. She knows that ultimately the buck stops here. Are there crappy teachers? You bet. So you deal with them, you overcome you adapt. If your kid and your kid alone is failing History, its probably not the teacher’s fault. Being a wimpy parent and not taking ownership of that will ultimately just hurt your kid, so why do it?
I take raising the kids seriously, I want to make sure that they are ready, prepped, and emotionally stable enough to handle the outside “real” world. I want to see them succeed. I guess why I have trouble understanding the other parents is that to my mind, they’re doing nothing but catering to the kids. Its not fair to the kid they’re raising, is it? If they aren’t prepared, if they don’t have the proper emotional growth, then, how can you expect them to hold a job? How do you expect them to grow and thrive outside of the cocoon you’ve made for them?
I tend to believe that sometimes the thought hasn’t quite sunken in that 1. yes the kids will grow up 2. its not that your own life is over, but, most of what you will be doing for the next 18 years will be directly related to the kids and 3. its your job as a parent to get them ready. I’m not saying that it has to be work and discipline all the time like a martinette, this is after all supposed to be fun for all involved! More like how to get the best return on the kids you can….make for damn sure they can fend for themselves and make lots of money, because, after all…who is it exactly you think is going to pick out your Rest Home?!