Picture this scene: you’re out to breakfast with your significant other, having an otherwise unremarkable meal, when a table full of unruly children arrives. You try your best to ignore the increase in noise and finish your meal in peace, when, lo and behold, a child from said table walks over to your table and without prompting, sticks his hand into your open purse. The mother, gently chides the child for touching other people’s purses and you are left sitting, dumbstruck and awed by what just happened.
Having been a waitress as well as a hapless consumer, I am constantly surrounded by children and their parents. Hell, I have my own, whom I pick up and take to a school filled with MORE children. My point, roundabout as it may be is this: I see tons and tons and tons of kids. I genuinely like kids, truth be told, maybe I’m not the most gooshy of parents, but I dig the shorties. They crack me up.
I’ve been waiting awhile, trying to place my finger just on what I’ve been thinking, and on Monday it dawned on me. With the whole PC-bullshit generation of Baby Boomers kids having their own kids, it became highly fashionable to eschew the harsher punishments that were often handed down to us. I mouthed off as a kid? I got smacked. I didn’t listen to my parents? I got smacked. I lied? I got smacked AND grounded, and so on and so on.
Parents today want to subscribe to the whole new-agey parental role of being a guide to your child, a resource for them to use to navigate through the more tricky paths that life can offer. They are expected to reward positive behavior with praise and adoration (NEVER bribes) and overlook the negative behavior so as not to reinforce the attention. Yelling is passe, talking quietly (but don’t be TOO NEGATIVE!!!!) is in.
I think it’s bullshit. Your kids should respect you. They should respect you and they should respect authority.
I shudder to think of the generation of Special Snowflakes that will grow up and be SHOCKED to learn that really? We can’t all be fucking astronauts. Or ballerinas. Hell, we’re not all winners. I love my children and I’m not about to try and stomp on their dreams like tiny bugs, but at the same time, disappointment and failure are both real things. I’ll be there for my child when it happens, because it WILL happen.
And when my kid is wrong, I’ll say so. When he needs a spanking, he’ll get it. And he’ll respect me because I am his mother. Not his friend or his playmate, his mother. Which, at the end of the day, is a kazillion times more important.
I am his mother.