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A slam dunk to make you feel like shit

August 3, 2007

Recently a ‘friend’ and I were talking and she remarked that she can’t ‘make’her children do some things. I remarked how much bigger and smarter she is and she says she refuses to  ‘strong arm’ her children. I explained that is not what I meant, obviously,  and that it is not all that difficult to make children do what you need them to. She asked me if I wanted to raise intelligent, caring and thoughtful children or if I simply wanted children that obey me?

Wouldn’t that make you a bit hackely? She says she strives for ‘perfect parenting’ and to always be completely patient and understanding with her children but sadly she is not perfect. Being respectful and talking about things is so much better and more responsible.

I back peddled and tried to explain what I meant and what I should have said was, YES, I just want mindless robots who obey my every whim and who cower before me as I rule their lives with an iron fist.

Also I was imitating our Chica and used a loud and obnoxious voice to proclaim, as Chica had done about 400 times that afternoon , “I want somesing!!!!! wahwahwahwah”. She turned to her smallest child who had no reaction at all except a quizzical look and said, “Don’t be afraid, she is just using  silly voice to yell very loud. She didn’t mean to.”

Huh? Seriously if you continue to react for your child versus allowing them to have their own feelings and not only have their own feelings but DEAL with them you are robbing your child of a life of their own.

I would like to know what happens to children who grow up in a house where their every desire is met immediately, no voices are ever raised in anger and their parents anticipate every reaction and assume it is happy, bad, scary or whatever.

I am glad that my children see me be human. I make mistakes. I freak out. So do they. We still love each other and know that we can be mad at each other and it is okay. It is okay to be disappointed because sometimes you are not. The hardest thing to do in front of your children is to admit you have made a mistake. Trying for perfect parenting gives your kids an impossible example to live up to while shielding them from the rest of the world who most likely will not give a rats ass about what you need or want.

I have met a lot of parents lately who ascribe to this type of parenting. They claim they came from turbulent homes and this choice in parenting is an effort to make a better life for their kids so they don’t have to grow up the same way.

I would like to point out that they all seem pretty okay despite their terrible parenting.

I recommend a book called Your Child’s Self-Esteem by Dorthy Briggs 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2007 7:05 pm

    Oh my mama told me
    ‘Cause she say she learned the hard way
    She say she wanna spare the children
    She say don’t give or sell your soul away
    ‘Cause all that you have is your soul

    Well I was a pretty young girl once
    I had dreams I had high hopes
    I married a man he stole my heart away
    He gave his love but what a high price I paid
    All that you have is your soul

    Why was I such a young fool
    Thought I’d make history
    Making babies was the best I could do
    Thought I’d made something that could be mine forever
    Found out the hard way one can’t possess another
    And all that you have is your soul

    I thought, thought that I could find a way
    To beat the system
    To make a deal and have no debts to pay
    I’d take it all, I’d take it all, I’d run away
    Me for myself first class and first rate
    But all that you have is your soul

    Here I am, I’m waiting for a better day
    A second chance
    A little luck to come my way
    A hope to dream, a hope that I can sleep again
    And wake in the world with a clear conscience and clean hands
    ‘Cause all that you have is your soul

    Oh my mama told me
    ‘Cause she say she learned the hard way
    She say she wanna spare the children
    She say don’t give or sell your soul away
    ‘Cause all that you have is your soul

    So don’t be tempted by the shiny apple
    Don’t you eat of a bitter fruit
    Hunger only for a taste of justice
    Hunger only for a world of truth
    ‘Cause all that you have is your soul

    -Tracy Chapman song lyrics
    I have no idea why but this song lyric seemed appropriate for the story you tell. I’m with you, we are all human and kids can be annoying and letting them know that they are being annoying sometimes is necessary. I don’t believe in the school of thought of let your kids do whatever they want to b/c God forbid they might hear someone yell or get angry. What message does it send when we let our kids have whatever feelings they would like (anger, hatred, happiness, joy, etc…) but all we are ever allowed to show is patience and happiness. Nothing the world is about joy and sadness, and right and wrong and its our job as parents to teach it to our kids b/c they are gonna learn it one way or another.

  2. August 3, 2007 8:07 pm

    You make mistakes? Don’t shatter my illusions like that! I’m delicate!

  3. August 4, 2007 5:27 pm

    My response to parent’s who tell me they can’t make their kids go to bed, or sit a the dinner table or any number of things is ‘Can you make your kids not get run over by a car?’

    There are so many things I don’t quibble about and then there are others that drive me insane and ‘I make them do it’. Some are very old fashioned- please and thank you- I let them run in the house- but it has to be upstairs…

    I want them to obey me- make no mistake. I’m willing to discuss and listen if they are using a regular voice and it is appropriate. But I want them to say ‘how high’ when I say jump. I admit it.
    I also make ton’s of mistakes and let my kids run all over me sometimes, but they know when they are crossing the line. And that, in my opinion, is a good thing.

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