Thursday, 14 November 2013

Parenting & Society: Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World (TheMetzFamilyAdventures)

Nwabu King  |  at   5:59 pm  |  24 comments

Parenting, Over-parenting, Over-pampering, Kids should toughen up
Parenting & Society: Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World (TheMetzFamilyAdventures)
Don't let the title confuse you. This article is really a thought provoking piece. It takes a hard critical look at parenting and the society. The issue affects the west most but its fast creeping into the African setting. Please if you love your children take your time and read this to the end, it'll definitely teach or unteach you for the greater good of parenting in particular and the society at large. I don't have kids now but I 'definitely plan to over-parent or over-pamper them. A little pain is good for learning.

Wait, what did she say?  Yeah, you read that right. 
This blog post is a bit of a rant and it's a bit all over the place. My kids are NOT the center of my world, and that's quite simply because they aren't the center of any world, anywhere.
If you're feeling adventurous today, feel free to read on. I'll forewarn you though, this post contains subject matter about which I feel very strongly.  As are most emotionally heated issues - I suppose it's controversial.  But hey, I feel how I feel and that's not going to be changed.
The emotions that sparked this blog post were given a little bit of a supercharge last evening.  Hendrix was picking out what he wanted to take to school for Show & Tell.  He chose a little Imaginext action figure - one that he's had for about two years now.  With the action figure comes a little yellow object.  For the two years that he's had this toy, that yellow object has always been a drill to him.  He gathered the action figure, the mask that goes with him, and the yellow drill and proudly told me he'd chosen that for Show & Tell.  Then, you could see him thinking.  And he promptly changed his mind and said to me, "You know what, I better not take this.  My teacher will probably think it's a gun, and then I'll get in trouble," put the action figure back, and chose something else.
I often think about the world my boys will grow up in.  I often get angry when I think about it.  This particular situation just furthered those emotions for me.
In completely selfish terms, bringing my boys into this world was such a great decision - for me.  They bring me so much joy, they fill my heart, they make me happy.  But I often question whether or not it was the right decision for them.  My boys are typical little boys.  They love to play guns.  They love to play good guy versus bad guy.  They love to wrestle and be rowdy.  That's the nature of little boys, as it has been since the beginning of time.
How long will it be before their typical boy-ish behavior gets them suspended from school?  How long before they get suspended from daycare???  How long will it be before one of them gets upset with a friend, tells that friend to go away and leave them alone, and subsequently gets labeled as a bully?
The mentality of our society in 2013 is nauseating to me, friends. 
Many years ago, there was a time where young boys could run around with their toy guns, killing the bad guys.  You could take the toy guns away from the little boys, and they'd find something else around them - a stick, their fingers, etc -  and pretend it was a gun.  Today, those little boys - if caught doing that - are labeled as threats, and immediate action is taken to remove that threat from the group.
There was a time - not too long ago - when bullying was defined as slamming someone up against a locker and stealing their lunch money.  There was a time when kids got called names and got picked on, and they brushed it off and worked through it (ask me how I know this).  Now, if Sally calls Susie a bitch (please excuse my language if that offends you), Susie's whole world crumbles around her, she contemplates suicide, and this society encourages her to feel like her world truly has ended, and she should feel entitled to a world-wide pity party.  And Sally - phew!  She should be jailed!  She should be thrown in juvenile detention for acting like - gasp - a teenage girl acts.
Modern parenting and thinking makes me crazy.  The young generations of today (yes, I sound old.  I realize I'm only 29 years old.) are being taught that they shouldn't have to ever put up with anything doesn't make their hearts feel like rainbow colored unicorns are running around pooping skittles onto piles of marshmallows.
Modern parenting is creating a generation that's not going to be able to function in society.
  Your child, who you cater to every need, who you shelter from all things "evil."  How will this child react when he or she grows into adulthood?  "Debbie" graduates from high school and goes to college.  She writes her first paper and meets with her professor about that paper and the professor tells her that it's junk and it will get a failing grade.  How will Debbie cope with that if she's always been made to feel that no one should ever make her feel sad, or criticize anything she does?
"Donna" graduates from college and gets a job - you know, in the real world.  She has to work on a committee to come up with a marketing plan.  She shoots out an idea, and it gets immediately turned down.  What is she to do?  Go home and cry because no one liked her idea?  Quit her job because she can't handle rejection?
Modern parents, who drop everything all the time to sit and play with the child, who "needs attention," or drop what they're doing to help the child the second he or she gets frustrated?  How is Joey going to deal with the fact that there won't be anyone in his adult life who's willing to stop what they're doing, stop living their busy lives, to cater to his every whim?
How do you think Billy is going to cope in the real world, when his boss gives him a vague task to complete, and offers no helpful information as to how to complete this task?  Mr. Boss is certainly not going to hold Billy's hand and help him through the task.  Mr. Boss expects it to be completed by Monday.  How has Billy been prepared to use his critical thinking and problem solving skills to be able to complete that task?  He hasn't.
I certainly hope that the title of this blog post is starting to make sense.  Parents who make their children the center of their universe are not doing anyone any favors.  Obviously, as parents, we love our children more than anything.  But dropping everything to cater to their every need is only going to lead to a very rude awakening once they enter the real world.
I'm not telling anyone how to parent, and I'm far from perfect myself.  But when my kids can't find something, I refuse to help them until they've at least made a concerted effort to find it themselves.  This isn't being mean, it's teaching them to at least attempt to solve a problem themselves before just giving up and asking for help. 
When the TV gets turned off after the allotted time on the weekends, my kids are instructed to go play together in their room.  I love and miss them during the work week, but I am not just a mom, I'm also Matt's wife, I'm also Stephanie, and I also run our household.  There are things I have to get done, and my boys understand that.  My children - while Matt and I  both spend time playing with them - understand that the world doesn't begin and end with them.  This allows them to find ways to entertain themselves, it builds imagination, and it teaches them to get along with each other without constant intervention.
We follow the rules and don't take toy guns or weapons to daycare.  But I'll be darned if my boys aren't allowed to be little boys when they're at home.  They have several toy guns and it's constantly a good guy vs. bad guy battle in my house.  I feel like this teaches them to do the things they want to do, while respecting other's rules and regulations.  It also teaches them that there are differing opinions about things in this world and that's ok.  We can like and believe in the things we want, while respecting that others may not agree with us.
My children are all but ignored when they ask for something without using manners.  They understand that when someone addresses or speaks to them, they are to speak back.  When we go out to eat, we don't take 5 electronic devices to keep them "entertained" for the 15 minutes we have to wait for our food.  If Hendrix is "bored" (and I use that term loosely), then he can put on his jacket and go play outside.
Everyone parents differently, and I respect that. The current generation may be one that expects nothing less than everything from this world.  But I know of two gentlemen that are going to be able to accept failure and move on having learned something from it. 

I know of two gentleman who will be hurt emotionally, but who will be able to work through the hurt and carry on with life.  I will cushion the emotional fall as much as a mom can, but I will not completely prevent it from happening. They will not expect whoever hurt them to be punished.  Heck, I might even teach my children the power of forgiveness. 

These two gentlemen will understand the value of hard work, and know that hard work is required to get where one wants to be in life. 

They will, while understanding the need for caution, appreciate that not everyone out there is out to get them.  Not everyone is out to do evil things. 

These gentlemen will understand that there are about a gazillion people in this world.  While they are incredibly special to me and my family, they are not special to the world.  That probably sounds terrible, but people!  It's the harsh truth, and it needs embraced!

I know that I can't change the mindset of modern parents.  That's never been and never will be my goal.  I just want to make sure that I raise my sons to grow into respectable men who can thrive and succeed, due to having been prepared to do so.

My kids are not the center of my world because I love them enough not to allow them to be.

Have a great weekend, friends.

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  1. Thanks for this interesting post, when I started reading I had no idea what I was getting into. I like your points, they give us something to think about. But at the same time, it's a challenge. A kid sucke rpunched my 5th grader... I was going to just brush it off... I think there are limits when it comes to bullying in particular. Especially when it comes to physically injuring another person. Cursing at them might be another story. Lots to think about..

    1. I quite agree its not something to brush off when physical injury is involved

  2. Ugh typo central... sorry about that! I *wasn't* going to brush it off when he was *sucker punched* ;)

  3. I agree that children (even our generation) was/is over praised and coddled into thinking they are perfect and entitled and the best. I don't listen to my son either, if he doesn't use manners, but he is still certainly the center of my world.

  4. This was an interesting perspective on life. Perhaps that is what makes life interesting - all the different view points.

  5. My husband and I were just talking about this the other day with one of my kids.

  6. An interesting way to look at things. I hope that one day, if your children are bullied that they do have the ability and coping mechanisms to move on from it and still make it through life. Unfortunately, for some kids it isn't that easy and it's not something that they can or should be taught to just brush off. It may be easy the first time Sally calls Susie a name to brush it off, but that becomes increasingly harder when Sally continues that name calling and emotional abuse on a daily basis and then brings Nancy, Mary, Jenny and whoever else along for the ride and they start with the name calling, and then it doesn't end there it turns to physical abuse, cyber bullying and so on and the ability to just brush it off and turn the other cheek becomes impossible. So impossible that Susie feels as though she can't go on, that she isn't worthy of going on and no matter how many times her mother and father, sister, brother and aunt tell her different she has lost the ability in her young mind to believe it because of what Sally started, so yes I believe whole heartedly that if Susie goes into her bedroom and takes her own life, then Susie should be jailed. Just because you and I grew up in a world where name calling was looked at as ok, doesn't make it right.

    1. I think the problem first lies with the way the kids are raised, nature and nurture comes into play here. Bullying in whatever form is not good. Teach the kid how to stand for his/herself when daddy and mummy is not around to defend them. Take name calling for instance, I grew up in an African Nigerian setting where the typical response you get from your parents when you complain about name calling is; "Is that thing on your face not MOUTH? If they call you name cant you call them names back? Am I raising a weakling? Next time they call you names make sure you call them names ten times." It works like charm

      My uncle's son sucked his thumb as a kid and they made fun of him. He cried home a couple times so the dad assured him that next day he'll go with him to confront the kids. Guess what, the dad went with him to the school but instead of scolding the kids making fun of his son for sucking his thumb, he rather gave them money to continue making fun of him until he stops sucking his thumb. And that was how his son stopped sucking his thumb and the name calling stopped.

      A few years ago my little cousin was crying and wanted to fight the younger brother for calling him fat. I called him and said; "You are crying because your younger called you fat. Now lets face it, is he wrong? God made you fat, be proud of how you were created. Will it be ok if he called you skinny when you are fat or call you skinny if you are skinny? What will you do when you get to school and a whole bunch of kids call you fat, kill yourself?” I made it clear to him that by the time he gets to school hundreds of people will call him fat. The earlier you embrace who you are the better for you. Apparently it worked. All Im saying is teach the kids how to be confident, stand for themselves and not how to play the victim if not they will be everybody’s victim.

    2. You've completely missed my point.

  7. It is interesting; I think when it's your kid being bullied or ostracized every parent makes an on-the-spot-decision on how they are going to handle it to be the best advocate for their child.

  8. I read about this article in the news today and have mixed feelings. Thanks for sharing, as I did want to read the full article.

  9. Great thought provoking post. It's hard. I am sure I am a helicopter parent but the world is just not how it was when we were growing up. It makes me sad too. But the other day I was at a Parent/Teacher meeting at my son's school and free babysitting was provided. They were middle school Girl Scouts. A 7th grader got overwhelmed with all the elementary school kids and she kicked and then pushed my 5 year old down. Should I have told him to suck it up when he cried so hard he threw up? Should I not have brought it up to the school? Nope, I was in the principal's office that next morning informing them what had happened and I don't mind a bit.

  10. You know, you bring up interesting points. I don't agree with all of them as a mother of three, but I do think that there seem to be a lot of either/ors or lines drawn in the sand. I think labels are quickly applied instead of understanding the set of circumstances that led to behavior, whether by the child or by the parent. I think that the common "we weren't raised this way" refrain really falls flat- because "we" are the generation of parents that are so polarizing and specific in what we do.

    It's all interesting food for thought- thanks for sharing!

  11. This article is full of interesting points, even if I don't agree with them all. It's best not to over-parent or bend over at their every whim. They have to learn patience, how to win AND lose, and that sometimes, things will not go there way. However, bullying is a completely different story -- it's not like how it used to be.

    1. Kecia you said it all. That is my stand too.

  12. Wow definitely a lot to consider and think about. Awesome post

  13. I think my son is of the mindset not to have kids because he can't bear to bring them up in this world either!

    1. Im sure his mindset will change as he grows older and understands the world better.

  14. Interesting perspective. I tell my children they are amazing human beings, but I am also a realist. I tell them when they effort they have put forth is not acceptable. I think the world is a harsh place. Kids need a place to feel safe and the "center of the universe."

  15. "Modern parenting is creating a generation that's not going to be able to function in society." I quite agree with this statement. I do not have children of my own, and can't for medical reasons, but I watch my friends raising the generation that will take care of us in our old age and I have to admit, its a little frightening!

  16. While I agree that children shouldn't be coddled I think as a society we need to enforce that for EVERYONE. Just because a child plays sports they shouldn't be allowed to get away with things that a "regular" child wouldn't. I think THAT is what has become the problem, the sense of entitlement that children are raised with these days. It leads to them thinking they can get away with doing anything they want (including bullying) with no repercussions.

  17. I have to say this was definitely an interesting perspective! But I agree with many of the points you made. They definitely will face a harsh reality once they hit the real world if we give into everything they want and need.

  18. Thank you for taking the time to share some amazing points. I agree with you on a lot of them. IT is so hard to deal with everything that is happening today. Kudos to you for sharing!


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