Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peer Pressure Perpetuates Parenting Problems (Part One)

Which is code for: Parenting isn't up to me anymore, it seems. It's up to everyone else.

Even my mother, who stayed home and raised four of us - All-American Catholic style - admits that she wouldn't want to parent in this day and age. Wow. Thanks for the confidence-booster, Mom.

Here's my conundrum. I want to raise my kids with many of the same values that my parents used in raising us. I want them to learn that you don't get anything without working for it, and sometimes you work and don't get anything. Just because Timmy has that toy doesn't mean you get it, too. And no, you can't, because I said so. And if you do it anyway, there will be hell to pay. End of story.

But for some reason I don't have that magic power that my parents had over me - that power that could be captured in just one look. You know - "THE LOOK".

What has happened to us? According to a reputable psychological source, moms and dads today parent with "less control and more fear". He's exactly right, but I just don't know why. And as I think more about this blog, I'm considering making it a three or four part series. I have a feeling I have lots to say about this...

For example, my kids have a Wii. And no, they weren't the first on their block to get one. In fact, by the time we broke down and shelled out our hard-earned money for this idiot box it was on sale and probably almost obsolete. Why, even under unending pressure and incessant whining from my children, did it take me so long to purchase a home game system?

Because I think they're stupid. There. I said it. I think video games are stupid. I think they're a waste of time. I think there are a BAZILLION other things that kids could be doing - like making shadow animals on the walls or picking their noses - rather than zoning out in front of some seizure-inducing game holding a carpal-tunnel controller of doom in their hands.

But we have one. Why? Well, I tried to make the excuse that "the Wii is actually good exercise..." or, "I like that they have sports games..." Yeah, whatever. I got it because all their friends had it and all the commercials said to get it and I got tired of hearing how we were the ONLY family who didn't have it and we don't want our friends to come over here because there's nothing to DOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

So we have it. And they play it. And I make rules as to how often they can play it. And they try to get around them. And I tell them what games they can and can't play. And they push those boundaries. Like, I don't let them kill people in games. "But MOM! These are ROBOTS! Look! They don't even BLEED!"

Do you see what's happening here? By allowing this host virus in my house, it's made my parenting challenges THAT MUCH HARDER.

I'm amazed I haven't thrown the stupid thing out the window already.

Seriously - I'm tempted. There'd be some whining and crying, of course, but after a few weeks they'd forget about it, and it would just become some embarrassing story they'd tell over Thanksgiving dinner: "Remember when Mom went ballistic and threw the Wii out the upstairs window?"

So I guess that's Part One. In Part Two, I'll further my discussion on successfully blaming others for my parenting weaknesses.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. I totally get what you are saying - and I would even take it one step further... I have had other parents make comments about how I choose to parent (rude comments) and not usually to my face, but to another adult in front of my kids. Kids are usually bad enough with their comparisons and complaining, but some parents are just as bad with their 'one-upping'.

    Looking forward to your next installment. =)

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