Saturday, May 28, 2011

Parents will be Parents

This post is dedicated to those parents that let their children completely run the show.

You know this parent, the one that always asks their darling offspring at every juncture what they want wondering why the kid never does what he's told and doesn't listen when he's never really had to because what he wants wins out every time...

The parent that makes empty threats about "if you do this one more time - for the 10th time - blah blah blah will happen," that are never followed through on when if they would just follow through ONCE, instead of repeating the threat numerous times, the child would know which consequences are real...

The parent that is too busy helping organize whatever organized event you are at to tell their own kids to quit chasing each other around, encouraging other kids to run around..if one gets up, they all get up, it's complete anarchy.  Don't worry though, you are helping afterall...

We all know the parent that makes you feel the need to intervene in one or more of these situations or your own choice situation. The clown that planfully ignores their child's obnoxious behavior so that someone else can intervene.

I feel like a coward when I don't do or say anything and at the same time, I have recently learned it's not like I will get any kind of consequence from the parent who hears me yelling their child's name from afar and still remains socializing instead of finding out what's going on.  My husband on the other hand, has no problem taking charge in a situation where a kid needs a good talking to, or as he would refer it "A swift kick in the ass". (pardon his French)

I have spent the last 9 and a half years spending the majority of my time at parties or fieldtrips or organized events and what have you with my own children, following them around.  Call me anti-social if you would like but I would rather spend my time getting to know my kids and looking out for their well being rather than getting to know strangers or socializing just to hear my own head rattle. 

Kids need supervision - even at age nine, I see kids at the park trying to choke one another and of course I intervene - twice with the same kid choking two different ones. 

Kids thrive on limits (even though they often break them) rather than you leaving it up to them. 

Kids don't need a friend, they are discovering enough of those along the way - they need an authority figure to guide them.

I have always given my kids limited choices - you can do this or this - instead of leaving it open to the endless possibilities in the mind of a child. 

I have also placed limits and expectations when we are getting ready to get out of the car to wherever we are going - best behavior, you will not be getting candy while we are here, no screaming - to avoid the meltdown.  Or we ifs ands or butts...

I have followed through with any consequences that have been discussed which is why you will never hear me make an empty threat I'm not willing to follow through on.  

These parents that threaten to "lock their child in the car while they finish the rest of the meal" or "throw their child in the lake if they don't behave" aren't fooling anyone especially the child.  Children are smarter than people give them credit for..

Of course they are not going to act like they WANT these things, nor are they ever giving up without a fight but if you don't fight back and stand your ground, they will continue to walk all over you.

It's not about if you do this one more time..that's reactive.

It's about here's what's gonna happen if you don't do what's expected of proactive.

I have never been embarassed to remove my child from a situation when having a temper tantrum, sure it's natural to wonder what they think of you but who cares?  More than likely you will never see any one of those people ever again in your whole life.

Here is an example of something my father did growing up which I will never forget...and happens to be a perfect example of following through on consequences..

It had to be 1978ish or whatever year Star Wars came out and the family went to the Drive In to see it..

It was a double feature movie and once Star Wars was over, my sister and I were supposed to sleep during the second movie in the hatchback. Maybe a little much to ask of two young children at their first drive in movie.. I think we might have been 6 and 4 if that.

Of course we messed around, probably ruining whatever second movie we were supposed to sleep through and my dad simply told us if we couldn't settle down, he would never take us to a drive in movie again. 

Guess what? 

The second drive in movie I saw was in high school with a boyfriend a good 10 years later.

I truly and firmly believe that ALL parents should take some kind of parenting class before having children or shortly thereafter. I also would like to patent a shirt that reads:

Parenting: It's all about getting off your ass!

Just sayin'

If I have to tell your child what to do, there is a problem..the fact that you would rather me tell your child what to do than do it yourself to me, is a bigger problem..

" Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy. " — Robert A. Heinlein


Leila (Don't Speak Whinese) said...

YES!!!! Parenting IS about getting off your ass! Beautiful post. I am the parent who will say something when others are slacking. Gets me in trouble but it has also been greatly appreciated.

CoffeeLovinMom said...

Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only nutty parent around!

Kathy said...

Saying no and setting limits is the kindest thing we can do as parents. I must say 10 times a day to my 12 year old, it is not my job for you to like me, and I really do feel this way. I love my children so much that I don't care if the hate me from time to time. Thanks for another great post!

MyIdeaLife - Nicole said...

Good on you for letting fly on this one - I'm not there yet as my two boys are two and 8mths so I can see I have more 'fun' to look forward to. What I absolutely loved though was the quote at the end - I want to skywrite it it's so true.


Dana @ WhatWereWeThinking? said...

It's sad when the primary caregivers aren't able/willing to give their children security through limits & boundaries.

Granted, there are children with special needs that, really, the parents are truly not to blame but the overwhelming majority of the time, it's the parents.

I can understand that it's hard to say no to your kid but it's only going to get worse if you don't start now. Great post.

Pam List said...

Yes mam, and if any note needs to come into my inbox it would be this reminder and not how shiny my dang sink is......

great post!

Hair Bows & Guitar Picks said...

Great post you sure hit the nail on the head!

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

Yes! I agree with every single thing you said. I hope that when the time comes, I'll be able to do what I say I'll do. Thank you for sharing!

Real Housewife of Naperville said...

I often want to ask some of my friends, "Who is the parent here?!" Drives me a little nuts!

fnkybee said...

Can I kiss you now?!?!?!?
Amen sista! I have written on my blog about this before because it is so frustrating! We had an incident at my son's soccer practice one night with another mom/child because my husband had reached his braking point with her kid and her lack of parenting. He got on the daughter for being rough with our (since she wouldn't do it) and then the child came over and smacked him on the leg! He flipped. The mom came up to me and asked "is he made at ___" WTF are you kidding me? She hasn't spoken to me since and her kids never came around mine again. We are the parents that will say something. We refuse to let our kids act that way and our kids will not be influenced or hurt because of others lacking in the parenting department. I am surprised kids even like coming to my house because I don't put up with their behaviors.

CoffeeLovinMom said...

Thanks..I was afraid I would have a negative comment in here - I was afraid to post this because I didn't want to offend. I have worked with special needs children and limits work well with them too, granted they are less predictable and need more than your average parent, sadly they sometimes don't. I hope those of you with younger kids stay in control and become a different generation of brighter parents..
I am looking forward to the day that I'm "ruining" my kids lives so I can tell them I'm doing my job right! Love Kathy's quote "I Love my children so much that I don't care if they hate me from time to time."

Marisa said...

Exactly! The most annoying thing since becoming a parent myself, is feeling the need to do the parenting job of someone else (but I don't!).

I've seen it happen: If you don't give your children boundaries, in their younger years, it will kick you in the ass later.

Phases Of Me said...

I totally agree. I couldn't tell you how many times I've had to get onto someone else's kid, including friends. I even nearly lost a friend over it once because they let their kids run wild, no discipline unless they started bugging the parents. Running wild is fine at YOUR house, if that's your choice, but its NOT ok to bring your demons to MY house and think I'm going to let them break MY stuff, tear up the house & scream till my neighbors complain. Control your kid at my house, or I will, or go home.

I ended up making these screaming demons SIT. No TV, no talking, no playing. They reacted like I was beating them and Mommy finally stepped in and told me not to discipline her kids. I said fine, why don't YOU do it?

Parental argument ensued and I ended up telling her to take her kids and leave because they were NOT acting like that at my house.

I just think if you're going to have kids, be a parent. Understand what that means. If its not something you want to do, feel free to practice birth control.

Theresa said...

I couldn't agree more. I know it can be hard, but being tough is the best thing. You gotta stick to your guns or you are going to lose control of the ship.

rubyspikes said...

Totally agree! The comment I always hate is: "If you don't stop that, we're leaving." It's always when the parents absolutely would never really leave. There are so many viable options as threats that you could actually follow through on. I know some people aren't fans of timeouts, but I love that I can pull my 4 year old out of any social situation (birthday party, BBQ, wedding, etc.) and have him sit without playing for a period of time. If he's not listening at a zoo or a museum, he knows he will be sentenced to holding Mommy's hand for five minutes (oh the horror!), which is always quite effective. So great post! Right on!

Contessa said...

I always noticed the most poorly behaved kids in public were ones where the supervising adults paid the least attention to them. The amount they misbehaved seemed directly proportional to the amount they're being ignored.

Hubby and I constantly get comments about how wonderfully behaved our 29 month old is. It could be that he's an awesome little boy. It could also be because we actually pay attention to him. ;)

RoryBore said...

Absolutely what Contessa said. Your kid will get your attention ONE WAY OR another. and the decision How it will come out, is actually more up to You, than it is them.
I can't tell you how many times I have been at a function, and other kids are just running amuck, while the parents are having a few drinks. I swear if one more person tells me to just relax and let my 19 mos. old run around the community centre free..."the older ones will watch her"...I am going relax my palm right upside their head. Since when is it okay to let her 6 year old brother assume the role of parent? That's my job. Always. It doesn't end because cocktail hour just started.

I also got tired of trying to have adult conversation AND watch my 3 kids, so now my spouse and I take turns. If the event is his family/friend network, I do the majority of the child watching; if it's my circle, he does it. (well, actually he's a worse chatty gossip than an ole bitty on the porch sipping her lemonade, so it's usually me always. ha)

Robin@CrashingTheBoy'sClub said...

All I have to say is...Amen, Sister!!

sheswrite said...

This is soooo true. It can be exhausting to be strict, especially after a long day but it's necessary. Absolutely essential. I am in the middle of my first experience with a parent not wanting to be a parent. Their child is in my kid's soccer class.
Check it out:

Galit Breen said...

Such a good reminder to be present in our parenting! I remember someone somewhere saying GYOB is the best kind of parenting" Get Off Your Butt Ouch, but true!

Barbara said...

That last line says it all...and yes it really is about getting off your ass! Great Post!