Welcome to another installment of no holds barred, profanity-laced, semi-comedic rants straight from my rambling mind.
Today’s Topic: Parenting
Being a parent these days is such a drag. You try to stick to rules like no glue-sniffing, no shoving kids off the slide and for god’s sake, how many damned boogers have you eaten today?
As if this wasn’t draining enough, then I’m expected to teach my kids this stuff too? And for what?
In spite of all this saintly parenting, they defy you by growing up and discovering Facebook. Suddenly being popular is more important than making me dinner.
Whatever happened to solid parenting? Whatever happened to raising our kids to be respectful? Whatever happened to having your kids take out the trash so you won’t have to?
I grew up in the 1970s, a time when parents were just shadowy blobs off in the distance that occasionally grunted or barked orders your way.
I try to remember what my dad was like when I was a kid and all that comes to mind is a fuzzy image of him smoking a cigarette in his recliner. Sometimes he’d lower his eyeglasses and shoot me a look of disapproval. That was his parenting style.
My mom was merely a swish of apron rushing around the kitchen. Sometimes she’d look down at me, shake her head with disgust and yell, “Darla!” This was her parenting style.
It wasn’t their mission to entertain me. It wasn’t their mission to teach me about life. They just lived their lives and I watched them. The single best way to learn anything.
My parents didn’t read a parenting book informing them how to raise a child. Back then it was all about one thing: Keeping you alive.
Mom and Dad taught us to follow four simple rules:
- Don’t eat shit you find on the ground.
- Don’t beat up your brother.
- Don’t beat up your sister.
- Don’t run into traffic.
That was it.
Welcome to Parenting in the 1970s.
So I’ve made it my mission to not be a helicopter parent but more a recliner parent. I strive every day to adopt a parenting style that uses much less time or energy.
I just go about my day and do my thing. My kids watch how I act, then they figure out what are the right or wrong things to do in life.
Of course, this puts a lot of pressure on a parent to actually be a good person and show it to their kids through their actions. (And I admit, it’s a lot harder to sustain this illusion when they catch me wearing my bathrobe and tunneling through my third block of cookie dough while binge-watching The Big Bang Theory.)
But face it, kids are much smarter than us. We need to give them more credit.
Need help with your homework? Figure it out on your own. Fighting over a toy? Figure it out on your own. Your brother’s stuck upside down in the toilet? Don’t flush.
My main rule? Unless there’s blood, don’t bother me with it.
Is this lazy parenting? Hell yeah! But in the long run it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Less is more, people.
We all need to get our priorities straight, stop concentrating only on our kids’ academic achievement and more on simple social rules of respect and kindness. I worked at an elementary school for years and it was all about one thing: How the kids hold their scissors. Hey, I’m a big fan of improving our fine motor skills, but what about modeling good behavior?
Oh, crap! He’s not holding them right! His pinky’s all screwy! He’s not cutting straight! We must rectify this immediately! Sure, now he’s trying to stab Timmy’s leg with the scissors, but is it in a straight line? We have to make sure he can cut paper or Timmy’s leg properly! If we don’t teach him now, how will he survive out on the streets?
Naturally, the teachers think showing our kids how to behave should be the parents’ responsibility. And the parents pass the buck onto the teachers. This world is filling up with people who don’t know how to treat other people. It’s all about statistics and standardized test scores and landing a sweet job and making enough money so you can hire someone to cut paper for you.
But why even bother going to school anymore? Ever notice that nowadays everybody’s kid is ‘brilliant’? Last week, my new neighbor dropped by and introduced me to her 6-year-old son.
“This is Liam. He’s a genius. I homeschool him to give him the attention he needs because he’s WAY too smart for public school.” The words ‘public school’ dripped out of her mouth like she was saying ‘genital herpes’.
So I leaned down to his level and asked, “Hey, kid? What’s the square root of I don’t give a shit?”
Not really, my parents taught me manners. But I almost asked him because I really wanted to know the answer.
My guess is bullshit times infinity.
Instead I said, “Hey, buddy! What’s up? You like Hot Wheels? Or Super Mario?”
Liam responded by kicking his mom in the shin then sticking his pinky in her face and whining, “My finger hurts! Kiss it! Kiss my boo-boo! It hurts! I’m gonna dieeeeeee! Get me a Band-Aid! IT HURTS, MOMMY!! GET ME A BAND-AID! RIGHT NOW!”
Oh, he’s a genius all right.
I wonder if he knows how to cut in a straight line.
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