I am a mom and I yell at my child at times. And yes, to all of you authors of all kinds of nurturing parenting articles out there – it is okay. I am not ruining her life by yelling. I am just being human. That human who for nine years has tried EVERY method for her child to do one, just one task in the amount of time it should normally take for a child her age. So, it is okay for that child at one point to know mommy is truly frustrated. That is life. That is being real. And if she does not like being yelled at, maybe, just maybe, she can do what she needs to do for the yelling to stop.
What I’m trying to say is that the environment we try to bring our kids up in this country is too unreal. I still remember from several years ago a friend of mine was visiting with her little girl and she had by accident left the tap running in the bathroom sink. Once she realized what she had done, she was mortified. For a second I was pretty impressed till her mom held her crying daughter and comforted her by saying, “honey, no need to cry, its okay. Its just water.” JUST water??? Now I was mortified at the fact that to some people it was indeed JUST water and there was no way on earth that child would ever know what it meant to not have clean water like in many parts of the world. She would definitely grow up and hear about it in the news and feel sorry for those countries and maybe participate in a run or donate some money. But she would never know what it means to turn that tap on and not have water flow through it, as and when she demands, even when her state is going through a drought.
Therein lies the first problem of first world parenting. There are no real problems. So what do we do? We start writing articles and blogs about how being real parents is harmful for our kids and each day there is a new theory about how toxic we are to our kids. I want to write about how entitled our kids are becoming with all the coddling you constantly encourage the new age parents to do and I’m just exhausted from it.
When you coddle your kids so much and forget they have a childhood to live and memories to make, which might entail among other things playing outdoors with friends a lot without you hovering over them the whole time, what do you do? You buy them shit. So much shit that all the kids can think and talk about with their friends are things they have and the things they want. They continue to want more and more, till they have no idea what they actually own and where they are located. From crappy plastic toys to electronic gadgets, they have it all. In fact they have more stuff than their parents ever did in their lifetime. Kids don’t really need that many things. Instead of turning them into entitled materialistic monsters, let them be that generation who actually values money for what its worth and learns to work hard.
You know you also don’t have to compliment your kids ALL the time, even when whatever they are doing is pretty lousy. I have seen so many kids who think they are pros at something because their parents have always told them what a good job they do. Trust me, it will be heartbreaking for them to find out that is not the truth. Lets be honest parents, our kids cannot be good at everything they do and it is okay to let them know what they are truly good at, which ones have potential and which ones are just appreciated for their efforts. That won’t break them. That will prepare them for the real world and save them and you a lot of disappointment later in life.
If I have to hear one more time “my child is a picky eater” I will cry. Yes, I am one of those nasty parents who don’t give my kid a choice on the menu. She has to eat what I serve or go hungry. Period. Even better, she can only get her sweet treats if she eats what is served without complaining. She is a kid and she still complains, but I don’t give a shit. I will not bow down to a daily mac and cheese menu because she won’t eat anything else. I know she is a kid, but it is not an excuse for her to not be aware that there are several kids in this world who go hungry each day and frowning on food is the worst possible crime one can commit. I mean it. That goes for adults too. That being said, I serve everything under the sun that includes homemade food and fast food junk.
I could go on and on about parenting that drives me totally insane. My challenge in parenting lies in the fact that I have partly seen both worlds. One part of the world brings up their kids in a way they can survive so they can attain the basic necessities of healthy living and education. Nothing else matters. In this country the focus is for our kids to flourish because as I mentioned before, who cares about water or electricity. If our child needs to waste them in order to express their inner self, so be it.
Just as it is important for our kids to flourish it is also important for them to survive and vice versa. For that, we need to create a balance. Balance of what is real, achievable and what works for each of us, as parents, as kids.
So last night when my daughter had a mini fit about her hair being cut too short and how ugly she looked and how she thought her friends would make fun of her at school, I tried the holistic inner beauty explanation first. But when the whining reached levels where I could tell I would lose my mind, I told her what really looked ugly was her current whining face and if she was so upset about losing her hair, maybe it was time to realize the first rule to being allowed to have such long hair was brushing it and not look like a crazy person, especially in public places.
I was told I was mean. The whining stopped. She explained to me what “balls” meant. I refrained from letting her know what it really means. I took wine to bed. Balance was restored.