When I look at young people today and all the bravado they have when they say things, I just shake my head.
What have they experienced? NOTHING. And yet with a naive confidence they boldly proclaim what they will and will not do in the future.
Most of there limited opinion comes from looking around at others they know struggling and making a secret vow to themselves that they would never allow the same feat to happen to them.
When they talk all you can do is look at them and shake your head. Not much can be said because they’ll probably not acknowledge that you have any sort of wisdom on the situation.
I know my words sound like a hate fest but I’ve seen it way too often. But then again they remind me of my young self.
Ah yes, the hypercritical tone of this blog post just took a plot twist. Everything I said above can be used to describe my 19 year old self.
That free wheeling young lad who thought he could do no wrong. Especially when it came to parenting.
Gotta love single folk who swear they’ve written a book on potty training right?
But its true, I was that guy. Said a lot of things which today would be considered parenting heresy. I mean, yes I had good intentions, but that can only go so far.
I had no idea what I was talking about when I made my bold proclamations about parenting.
I found out fairly quick how much I didn’t know once I started dealing with diaper rash.
I became weak and found myself in many situations where candy was my salvation for hearing loss (you get it).
There were things I said I would never do as a parent. Here are 10 statements that came back to bite me in the you know what:
1. No eating in the car. Let’s start here. Because this was the quickest of the promises that I broke to myself (But in reality I had help from my wife). If you’re reading this (I assume you have kids) do you remember the days of an immaculate automobile? Me neither. Its a distant memory now, one that will probably never come back. Kids snacks and food are the biggest culprit to having a messy car. Now I know many of you have found a way around this. Please feel free to share in the comments section below because I haven’t as yet. We home school but that doesn’t mean our kids are at home most of the day. Quite frankly the opposite. My wife has them in programs that requires her to drive across town all day. Which means dining will be constantly taking place in our family van.
2. No candy until age 5, or 6 or whatever! Again, I know there are many parents who are strict on this to a “T”! I am not one of them, but told myself I would be. I became weak and found myself in many situations where candy was my salvation for hearing loss (you get it). Toddlers need to be quiet in certain situations and I had the anecdote to cure it. Yes I am a bad father. Something tells me I’m not alone on this one (So please respond on the comments section so I won’t feel bad).
3. No video games. This one lasted probably the longest as we wanted our first 2 kids to be into other things like sports, arts, dance, music, etc. Then the Nintendo 3DS came out and my son and daughter went full boardroom mode on us, giving presentations as to why owning a 3DS would not just benefit them, but future sibling additions. Needless to say we fell for it.
4. Pop a video in to quiet them up. Much like candy, having a video of your toddlers favourite addictive show is a great asset in times of trouble. I always hoped I wouldn’t have to stoop to such lows to resolve issues with my kids, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Problem is I pretty much know every song from every video we own.
5. Use an iPad at an early age. See #4
6. Bribe them to get them to behave. Pretty much #’s 2,3,4, and 5….
7. Compare them to their sibling. “You should be more like….!” And with that I’ve in a small way shattered the confidence of one of my kids by promoting another. Not something I’m entirely proud of, but it happened, more than once. Now don’t get me wrong. I do like to point out when a house hold task is done correctly by one child and use that as an example. But comparing things like personality traits out of frustration is something that will not be named to me ever again.
8. Talk about people in front of them. Let’s get one thing straight. Talking about people behind their backs is wrong period. But its even worse when done in the earshot of the most impressionable people in our home. In short, they lose all respect for the whomever was spoken about and a little respect I think is lost on me as a father. This is an easy fix – I’ll just not talk about people when they’re not around.
9. Force them into a sport/hobby they don’t care for. This is a big one. I really promised myself and even clicked my heels 3 times that I would not force my son to play tackle football, which just happens to be my favourite sport. When I kindly asked him if he wanted to sign up, he said yes. I thought to myself “Hey, this guys really wants to play!” But then reality sunk in, from of course the most reliable sources on the planet – mom. I was sadly informed that his desire to play was from only wanting to make me happy. Knowing that did not make me happy.
10. Go to bed angry at them. When I was a kid, I always hated when my parents where mad at me. Especially if it was at night and I had to go to bed early. They would always reassure that they loved me even though I had to be punished. I really wanted to be that type of parent to my kids, but true to the theme of the blog post, I have failed in the area as a parent. Truth is no matter how my kids drive me up the wall (and they do daily), as a father, a parent, its my job to make sure they know without a shadow of doubt that I love them, in spite of their recent behavior. I pray with my kids almost every night, even more so on the nights they send me to the asylum.
Parenting never ends up being the way we foresee it to be. There are many things we want for our kids in their lives, but one thing I’ve learned is they don’t come pre-packed with instructions. The unpredictable events that come with the territory of being a parent are just things we have no choice but to learn along the way.