Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Parenting and stupid things (Part Two)

In Part One of my little parenting tantrum series I lamented that the world would be a better place without video games. The world, of course, being my house.

In my opinion, the parenting world would be a better place if we got rid of a lot of stupid things.

*Disclaimer: You're not going to agree with all of these. You may think I'm a weak parent because I can't deal with the fact that these challenges are here and it is up to me to rise above and superparent. But I'm too tired to care what you think. So just humor me.

Overindulging your kid is stupid.
Here's where we're going to butt heads. A parent has a lot of money and is used to the "finer" things in life. That's his or her lifestyle. Thus, he or she transfers that lifestyle to their child - not in a hoity-toity way, but in a "this is my life so this will be your life" matter-of-fact way. Not blaming here. But honestly, does little Johnny need a flatscreen in his room, an iPhone and an XBox? Really? Maybe little Johnny would be better off with a football, an iPod Shuffle and a pair of running shoes?

Driving at age 16 is stupid.
16 year olds are stupid. When I was 16, I was stupid. I'm not saying I wasn't responsible - for the most part, I was. But I was also invincible. And distracted. And offensive versus defensive. And that was back before cellphones and a limit to how many people you could have in your car. I'm not saying I was the sharpest crayon in the box at 18, but an extra two years could make all the difference. And I wasn't texting, switching my Sirius radio or plugging in an address to my GPS back then.

Letting out the reins too early is stupid.
Again, I'm going to cause controversy here. Do I think kids need their freedom? Absolutely. Do I think they need to test the waters? Yep. But I don't trust my 13-year old to wander around the "old" (Northwoods) Mall. It was creepy when I was a teenager and it's creepy now. No, I'd prefer he NOT go and fish up at the local lake alone. Why? Because for every normal person that frequents that lovely spot, there's two weirdos looking for trouble. Am I overprotective? Maybe. Apologetic? Hell, no. I've felt uncomfortable taking my walks around its wooded perimeter so I don't need to be worrying about my oblivious teen hanging out there. I'd love to be Pollyanna and think that everyone is inherently good, but guess what - they're not. And parents need to adjust accordingly or bad things WILL happen.

So for every point made here, I'm sure there's a counterpoint. But MY point is: I wish we could all come to a consensus. I wish there was a rulebook or handbook that all parents had to follow. That way, we'd all be on the same page and there would be no, "But Susie gets to stay out until midnight!" "But Jimmy has a computer in his room!" "Tommy got his license the day he turned 16 - why can't I?"

See? It just makes it harder. I'm trying to be the good guy here, but I end up looking like the bad guy every time. And it's stupid.

There may or may not be a Part Three to this series... it depends on what kind of mood I'm in and how far I want to push this thing. Is there more to be said? Always...

1 comment:

  1. Now THIS topic is close to my heart. I have been appalled over the years (raising 4 stepkids, now 20, 22, 25 and 26) by not only the latitude with which other parents give in to their children's every whim, but those parents' unwillingness to support our rules with our own kids! We had a parent lie to us about the fact that the prom night sleepover was coed (and when we found out, our daughter was the ONLY one of 20 kids who had to come home), another one lie to us about what time a different kid returned to their house after a different dance, and ages ago, another one tell us we were being unreasonable to not let our then-fourth grader go to the movie Titanic! If it had taken a village to raise a child, we would have needed to move.

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