Sunday, February 26, 2017

Parenting Faux Pas

Image result for petulant child cartoonAs a responsible parent, I am prepared to do what it takes to make sure my children can do what it takes to raise their children.  And then I look at my grandchildren and wonder where I went wrong.  My kids are not parenting like I did, some are not even close, making me wonder what I did wrong.

My first realization came when I learned that my ability to parent is contingent on my experiences, my perceptions and my personality, all now under review by my kids who are parenting.  In other words, they will have to learn for themselves how to parent and how not to parent, just like I did.

There are some common grounds that should be considered, to be considered a good parent, keeping in mind that a good parent is one who... GOOD PARENTING – A DEFINITION. Good parenting happens when a person creates for a child a stable, nurturing home environment, is a positive role model, and plays a positive and active part in a child's life. Good parents provide moral and spiritual guidance, set limits, and provide consequences for a child's behavior.

Having had 10 children I am either a master at parenting or a complete and utter fool for attempting to raise 10 totally different personalities, I tend to lean toward the "fool" part but I have learned a few things along the way.

  1. We do too much for our kids.  They need to learn to be self-sufficient and as we can see in our society today most of us have failed miserably in this regard.  We get them up in the morning, we make their breakfast, we do their homework or make excuses for why it’s not done.  We coddle them, support them and tie them up in knots so securely that they never have any room to really grow and develop.
  2. Treating them like friends.  If you want to be friends with your kids then perhaps you need to get out more among those of your age.  We can be friendly but I fail to see the need to be friends with our kids.  Being friends implies forsaking the parenting role and replacing it with something less structured, less educational and less loving, but go ahead be friends with your kids.
  3. Not demanding that they adhere to specific behaviors while in our home.  We must remember who’s home it is.  It is not their home, it is our home, even if we are only paying rent.  Our kids are not simply visiting but they need to understand that if they want to live there they have rules to live by.  You determine the rules and the consequences, not the kids.  

There are many more specific areas that could be mentioned but the three above seem to encapsulate the generalities of where our generation has failed our kids.  The issue with failing is the lack of foundational learning that has in the past ensured, to some extent, the furthering of those basic, foundational skills needed to promote from one generation to the next.

My perspective as a teacher and a parent is that those skills have been forgotten or set aside resulting in children and adults (all our children) who do not currently possess the ability to look beyond their self-interests.  Our children (not mine, yours, mine are perfect by the way, just in case you were wondering) are selfish, disconnected, entitled, lazy and worst of all liberal in their ideals and outlook.

In several polls, the trend of our youth is decidedly conservative at least it is when those youth start to grow and develop.  The trend toward political acceptance is almost always more liberal until our children start to have to live on their own.  When I say on their own I don’t mean their rent is subsidized by mom or dad, they hold a job, pay their bills and in essence start to act like an adult or in other words “responsible”.

Look at the last election, those who voted for the democrats were between 18-39.  A dramatic shift occurs at age 40 and virtually every age group above 40 voted for Donald Trump and a more conservative model of government.  The issues, however, are not primarily about age and responsibility.  When you view the news and the disquiet of our country you soon realize that a preponderance of those who are demonstrating are also within the 18-39 age group.

It is also not just those who demonstrate but in how they demonstrate and tolerate that sheds light on the need for good parenting.  Unlike any time in this countries history, those who demonstrate are not doing so simply to advertise their dislike, they are actively demonstrating to quiet the opposition and stop their ability to govern.  They are acting like petulant children who have not been given that candy that they could not reach on their own and are now screaming and kicking in the store to get their way.

Prior “good” parenting could have resulted in a better outcome.  Establishing patterns are essential and that includes helping your kids (remember my kids are perfect) understand the consequences and the benefits of life, that means you need to impose those consequences and provide the benefits as far as you can that is.  

The bottom line is, we have to decide what kind of adults we want to have when we’re done raising our children.  We can see the results of what we’ve done, so we all know that doesn’t work.  We may have committed our society to a downward spiral of social suicide with our only hope being that age will have the effect it has always had in creating positive and responsible adults.  But with the mistakes of liberalism and the associated idea of moral relativism, our children may never grow up.

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