I feel like I’m living in a different universe lately. I’m not sure what it is, but the world just isn’t what it used to be, especially in child rearing. I recently encountered the most entitled, insolent child, and it made me have a flashback to when I was a kid. The “seen and not heard” era of bringing up baby. My parents weren’t even that bad in comparison to some of the stories I hear from my husband and some of my friends. We were never beaten, or even spanked for that matter, but we knew our place and every adult was our teacher and our keeper. We knew that whoever our parents entrusted us with, we were expected to obey the rules, if not, there would be consequences. It was just that simple. It takes a village, right?
Today I find too many parents trying to be friends with their children and not taking on the role of the disciplinarians they are supposed to be. Parents are actually afraid of their kids and in this fast paced world of technology and demoralization, or as I like to call it “fame at any price”. That’s a dangerous place to live. One of my daughter’s sassy, undisciplined, friends came to our house for a visit last weekend and totally disobeyed our rules. My daughter was enticed and chose to follow right along. That was the disheartening part. I knew the other girl did whatever she wanted to do, as had been displayed several times before. The hard part for me to swallow was that my daughter was the follower and was being led into doing something she knew she shouldn’t. She had to know that there would be ramifications later, but she did it anyway. The other girl knew she would never be held accountable because her parents let her lead them. She would tell them what she was going to do, so it was not a big deal for her. There had been clues that this was not the right influence for my daughter to be around, but they are young and so I felt it was harmless. One time in the car she told my daughter that they didn’t need to go to college because they would have their own TV show, live in an apartment and be rich! “What do we need college for?” Again, a sign of sad times and way to much Kardashian influence, thinking that fame solves every problem. The next red flag was when her mother asked me to put her wine in a coffee mug because her brazen daughter didn’t allow her to drink. “What”, I said with horror in my voice. “Your 13 year old, who doesn’t pay any bills, who you support in every way, doesn’t allow you to drink? Are you crazy?” I said, very seriously through my frozen smile. So, you see I had been warned who was running things, but I hadn’t believed. Now, I am a believer.
So when I disciplined both children for riding their bikes into the busy city when I specifically told them not to, she was stunned. I don’t think she had ever been told she had done something wrong. When she went home, she lied and told her mother that I yelled at her, which my daughter assured her was not a yell. She had heard me yell and that wasn’t even close to a holler, The worst part of the story is her mother didn’t even call to see why I might have possibly “yelled” at her master manipulator of a child. She just sent a text message saying,”she wasn’t taking sides.” Then, she proceeded to text me about her daughter’s feelings being valid and how she has “a right to her emotions.” After getting over the complete shock of these uninformed statements my husband and I must have laughed for a solid 20 minutes. Another parent who was there when this was all going down said “She has a right to have her ass beat.” What if they had been hit by a car or accosted by a stranger? I’m sure her mom would have completely held me responsible then and all those “feelings” would have gone out the window. The point is, I said not to do it and they did it anyway. I don’t owe them any explanation. I am the parent and that’s that. My job is to keep you safe, raise you to make good decisions, and become a responsible adult. Oh, and yes I’d like to keep you off the pole and for you to go to college too. Is that too much to ask?
Just because the times are changing does that mean that we have to parent any differently? In fact, I think the kids need our wisdom and guidance now more than ever. There is something to be said for respecting authority and being kind, gracious and not rolling your eyes in the presence of an adult. A little fear and a lot of love can go along way. As for that sassy teen, well, the verdict is out. I’m just glad that all that liability has been wiped out of my life.
So, take time out to reflect today and ask yourself… How do you parent? I always say, pay now or you will pay later.