4.14.2008

Please act like a grown up.

Not having any kids (phew) I can't say what it takes to be a parent. On the flip side, not being THAT old I kind of (sorta, maybe) remember being a kid. I remember how my parents acted with us. And how they didn't. I have a pretty good idea what I DON'T want to do should I choose to reproduce someday.

Don't get me wrong: my parents are excellent people. But let's just say they thought they had a system down-pat when I was turning out half way decent. Then sister and brother came along and they're...more normal than I am. They needed a different approach. But my parents didn't respond differently. They still don't.

I was reading a piece on Slate by Alan Kazdin that made a lot of sense. I won't go into detail but it's worth checking out. He highlighted that one of the main things you never do it meet rage with rage. My dad is known for having a temper. He says he's "gotten better" but unfortunately it doesn't count now; it would have counted when we were, say, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., years old. Now my sister is 18 1/2 and, uh, sorry, she isn't going to listen to you even if you're being rational and reasonable. She's going to pull the same thing (AS ALWAYS) and get her way (AS ALWAYS). It's too late to decide and reign in the wild horses - they're now rabid and don't give a flying eff. Teenagers are a pain in the ass as is. When the answer was always a screaming, resounding "NO" (without any logic other than "because I said so" - it's tempting but loses its effectiveness once kids start being able to rationalize your reasons) then kids will sometimes resort to not listening.

And don't drone on about the "good old days" when kids used to listen to their parents. Don't kid yourself. Kids never listened they were just smarter about not getting caught and if they were caught it didn't mean suspension, kicked off the sports team, blemished record and several grand in lawyers fees. Tell you what: you want to talk about the days of kids listening and I'll ask you when you had your first beer. Bet you weren't of age. Bet you stole them from Ricky's dad. Bet you didn't care what your parents said. The days of Leave it to Beaver are more of an illusion than you allow yourself to believe.

I think my brother and sister will be alright. I hope.

But seriously, more parents need to read this. Missoulagrace, a commenter on The Fray said:
The hard part about following these excellent recommendations is that the parent must focus on... the PARENT. Rather than attending only to the CHILD'S contribution to the interaction, the parent must be able to ask and answer hard questions (what DO I want from him?) and practice honesty AND self-control. In short, the parent must be a grownup! (No wonder so few parents do this successfully.)
Right on. So many kids are absolute horror shows. I get repulsed at the sight of them. This saddens me because while I think kids will naturally act like assholes, their lack of proper parenting doesn't help. Having kids is a natural thing - our bodies can do it all on their own without medical intervention, as was the case for thousands of years. All animals do it.

...Except the raising of the kids requires a little more than diapers and a tit. Actually, a great deal more. We're not coyotes. And letting the kids do "whatever" and yelling at them occasionally to "stop it" won't cut it. I glare at the parents of evil children. Trust me I know the difference. The kid on the train at 5:30 PM and is crying isn't evil; he's tired and hungry. The parent worked all day and now needs to go home and get dinner on the table. I feel bad for this parent and will give a sympathetic half smile. Only half though, b/c the crying/screaming child is still annoying me.

Then there's the parents at a restaurant whose child(ren) is running around screeching. Sure, great idea. Let's all get drunk while the kids run around and cause the servers to trip and lose an entire table's meal. Who cares, right? You're never gonna see these people again. Fuckers. I hope you swallow a fish bone and choke and it cuts your esophagus and you sue and LOSE.

My good friend Meghan said something to the effect of "Wow, you really dislike children being in your common space." No, I like pleasant children - even when they're having the occasional flip out. I just hate incompetent parents' offspring who will grow up into incompetent parents. Thus continuing the cycle of monsters ruining dinners for people everywhere.

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