I just read this blog and it reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a friend. This whole thing about being your kids best friend and setting no boundaries or letting them call the shots is pretty foreign to me. I actually know some of these parents. I’ve met them and my kids go to school with them. Granted most aren’t eating gluten free, ethically raised, peanut free anything unless there is an allergy. These kids are hyped up on sugar and running free with no rules.
Parents don’t know how to say no and when they do it sends their kids into such a tizzy of hysterics that mom or dad gives in, backs down and folds. I have a few good laughs, at my kids expense, in public spaces when they’ve tried to hissy fit their way to something they wanted, needed, had to have right then and there. My saying no actually means no. It’s not a negotiating tool. I laugh when a stranger says “I remember those days”. You know what? I do too. I remember not getting everything I ever wanted and I lived. I remembered that money didn’t grow on trees and that you should choose wisely when shopping or picking out something special.
I watch other children who have no value for their things. That whole throw away world mentality. No big deal just toss it and another will appear. My kids stories would horrify some of their school chums. “My mom says if she has to clean up my toys she’ll get out a garbage bag and throw them away”. This is the truth and they’ve seen it done. If you value your things you will take care of them.
I remember as a child having a few prized possessions. I think that is an important lesson in value. I also think it’s a good lesson in goal setting. How do you work towards anything if it’s handed to you? My kids ask me to take pictures with my phone of things they want to add to their birthday or holiday list. Most of the time they are forgotten or trumped by something better. They no longer receive gifts from their friends at their birthday parties either. They have to pick a charity to collect donations for and deliver them. But they still need to hand write thank you notes for the donation. They are slowly learning that the world is made up of all sorts of people and not all of them are as fortunate as us. Giving back is as important as being thankful and grateful for what you have.
I had a small text convo with one of the parents prior to our last birthday party. She lost the donation request list (or ignored it) and wanted to know what my son wanted for his birthday. I told her “nothing” I resent her the list and explained that we are taking donations for the library this year. Her reply was that this wasn’t going to go well with her son and that she’ll have him pick out something, maybe they could play with when they are together. Sigh…. She wasn’t getting it. I suggested to her that if she wanted her son to pick something out and participate please keep in mind the list and that it will be donated to the library. We aren’t accepting gifts.
My kids gets all sorts of stuff from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends. More “stuff” than I think the really need. There have been times that the only gift I’ve given my kids on their birthday is their birthday party and that’s a pretty big deal.
Our world today is not the same that we grew up with. Some of the changes in parenting or feeding or transporting have come because we’ve learned a better way. Or our villages aren’t there to help parent and mind us because they’ve turned into huge cities. I don’t have a local grandparent to come over and watch the kids. The local one works 60 hours a week and the next closest is a state away. You adapt to some of the changes but I think it’s still important to bring forward the lessons of values, goals and ethics.
Parenting is not for the weak. This is serious business. I personally did not have kids so I could have instant friends. They can be friends with me when they get older, like I am with my mom now. Until then we will learn, grow, have a few pains, develop and mature together. At the end of the day I’m still gonna tell you to get your pjs on, brush your teeth and get in bed at a reasonable hour so that you have a good nights sleep.
Nighty night. I love you.