Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pet Peeves, Pt 3

How many people have heard this?

"But Mooooooooooooooom!" (Insert whine)

"Okay, dear." (resigned sigh)

Many of today's juvenile problems go back to one main issue, PARENTING.

Do we as a society not know how to parent anymore?

Think back to your childhood. We were given set limits, curfews, and chores, and if we dared test the boundaries, we were spanked, grounded, and shamed.

I'll admit; I received my last spanking at age twelve. I don't remember what it was I did, exactly, but it probably had something to do with the fact I was being horrible to my younger sister.

When I reached my teens, I was disciplined for not doing homework, and had the plug cut off of my stereo. I didn't speak to my dad for an entire week. And surprise, surprise, my grades improved and for Christmas, I received a new cord for my beloved record player again!

I dared to back-talk my mother and got my mouth slapped. Lesson learned; you don't get mouthy with your mother. My sister, however, had a problem with this, and now it is a family joke that she received a 'daily beating' when she was younger! No, not actually beaten; just taken to the garage and spanked for being disrespectful.

Sidebar: Mom was so angry with her at one point, she came into my room looking for the toy with the ping-pong paddle, with the ball and string attached. I told her it had broken and we'd thrown it away. Not that it was at the bottom of my toy chest! Yes, I did protect my sister at times!

I know people who have actually said, "But then s/he'll hate me!"

'Scuse me? The greatest compliment I ever got was one of my kids yelling, "I HATE You!", accompanied by a door slam. Guess what? She was five and is now well-behaved. And yes, she loves me.

Kids need limits, otherwise they will grow into self-absorbed snobs who think they are entitled to everything: New clothing, money, latest electronic toys, jobs, etc. With our economy becoming uncertain, what's going to happen to these kids when there is no way to accommodate their demands? Will they kill, steal, and end up in overcrowded facilities? Oh wait...that's already happening...

There was a stunning plot to kill a teacher the other day. The kids planned how they were going to smuggle the weapons in, and how to clean up the mess later. No, not college students, or even high school kids. These kids were....8, 9, and 10 years old. Shocked? You bet. You can blame TV, video games, or even society as a whole. The experts on the news said that these kids knew about this stuff because it is most likely in their backgrounds; kids who have witnessed abuse or neglect of some kind. And that's sad.

Part of our job as parents is to show them love, provide them with the tools they need to become productive members of sociey, and to respect authority.

But if we're so afraid of offending them, and kowtow to their demands, how will this happen? Kids are crying out for help, all over the world. Are we listening, or are we too busy? Are we too wrapped up in our own selfish lives? Or will we take the time to raise our children to respect the 10 commandments and our society's laws?

And yes, it takes a village to raise a child. The next time you see a neighborhood child doing something wrong, how do you react? Turn away, because it 'isn't your child', or do you call them on it? Or even call the parents? If you see my kid doing something wrong, by all means; call me or put a stop to it! I won't get mad at you; I'll thank you. And I hope you return the favor if I do the same.

By the way, so far two of my three kids are growing up responsible. They are joys to have in the classroom, and everywhere they visit, I'm told they are welcome back at any time. My toddler is still being taught the rules. And I'm also well aware that my teens still need their mommy: I have an adult 'stepdaughter' who is still pushing the boundaries of accepted behavior. But she's finally learning, and we're satisfied with that. Some times it takes the school of 'hard knocks' to get the lessons learned. But then again, this child is only behaving in the way she was shown twenty years ago. And she's grown up a lot in the past six or seven years! Having children of her own has made her realize her 'father' was right, after all!

Why the quotes? There is no blood ties here. Her mother informally adopted my husband's family because her own was so dysfunctional. And since my husband practically raised her from age 18 months to age three, she looks upon him as a father.

Tomorrow: Complaining ALL THE TIME.

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