I just spent entirely more time than I thought I ever would reading a viral, ranty blog post about the way we should be raising our kids and commenters who said that how not doing it that way is the cause of the decline of civilization. Complete with a “disclaimer” that we all parent differently and that’s okay.
And then my eyes crossed and I drooled a little on my shirt.
I’m sick to death of posts going viral that tell us how we should be parenting our kids. Sick of it. SO SICK OF IT, in fact, that I’m writing one about what I think about parenting right here, right now.
My philosophy is simple:
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
YOU. ARE. DOING. IT. Every day. And then you get up and do it all over again the next day. And the day after that and so on and so forth until one day you’re looking through the rear window of a car at your young adult who is standing in the middle of a Sears parking lot after you just bought her two screwdrivers and a hammer and sent her on her merry collegiate way and thinking “wasn’t she just a baby yesterday?”
It all goes by a little too quickly for us to run around screaming at one another declaring all the ways other moms are screwing it up for everyone when the truth is that none of us have it figured out. No, not one. NONE of us. We’re all flying blind here and hoping we don’t crash and burn into the parenting mountains we can’t even see yet.
The problem is everywhere we turn, there’s a new bevy of people ready to yell about how we’re screwing it up before we’ve even really gotten started when the glaring truth is NO ONE REALLY KNOWS the “right” way to parent. Because there isn’t one right way.
I’m sick of being told that participation awards are the downfall of society followed by excusing terrible and unconscionable behavior with “kids will be kids.”
I’m done with hearing people tell us we should just let kids figure everything out for themselves and then hearing “BUT WHERE WERE THE PARENTS?!?” when kids do bad things.
And don’t even get me started on the “spanking our kids is the cure/cause of societal ills” thing. Seriously. Do not. I’m ragey and I have a headache so my head might actually for real explode snot and brains all over my pretty rug if we have to go there. So don’t do that to me.
Is everyone a winner? Nope. Nor do they all deserve to be. There are winners and losers in life but everyone needs to learn be a team player.
Do you know what “kids will be kids” means a great deal of the time? It means “kids will be assholes” so just go ahead and turn a blind eye to their bad behavior. Look how far that’s gotten us.
Do some parents helicopter too much? Yep. Do some kids need more supervision? Absolutely. (Looking at you, Emma.)
Do different discipline styles work with different kids, sometimes even within the same family? Yes. Because every kid is a different person who reacts to everything in his or her own way.
You know what’s lacking between all of the extremes? Common sense. And the understanding that we can’t parent kids today like kids were parented 50 years ago because the world is different. It’s the same, but it’s different.
Kids are dealing with a whole host of things which didn’t even exist for previous generations. If I hear “when I was your age, we played outside! We didn’t sit in front of video games!” one more time I might vomit. OF COURSE YOU DIDN’T! Because video games were pinball machines in arcades and you had to walk uphill both ways in the snow after milking the cow for a decade to earn the quarter you used to play them! They weren’t tiny portable devices that could connect to the television in your living room or be held in the palm of your hand.
Is there an issue with entitlement right now? Yes. There is. Do I blame that problem solely on the parents? Nope. And I don’t really want to go into all the myriad reasons behind why I think we have an issue with entitlement right now or I might never sleep tonight. But I can tell you that we don’t solve the entitlement problem by swinging so far in the opposite direction that we’re trying to turn the clocks back 50 years instead of just setting them.
We cannot–CANNOT–parent today’s kids the way previous generations parented. We cannot parent our children the way our neighbors parent theirs. There is no one size fits all solution for parenting.
There is me and mine and you and yours and the understanding that we all want the best for our kids while (hopefully) understanding that they cannot be the best at everything and teaching them that as well.
So let’s stop with the judging and the finger-pointing and the clucking our tongues in disgust at our fellow parents.
None of us are doing it wrong. We’re just doing it.