Is the age old concept of ‘being a better parent than your own parent’ a logical one? Does it make any sense? Do all of us do it?
My four year old today reminds me that I’m not my mother all the time.
I go out of my way to read to her.
I go out of my way to spend time with her, take her fun places, introduce some excitement to her four year old life as I think the evolution of parents today are doing.
I think there are ‘eras’ of parenting, if you will, where the types of parents and the reason to be raising kids are vastly different.
The baby boomers era, they were all just having babies because their men were off to war and then they were getting knocked up again as soon as they came back!! Those era of parents had children to carry a name for the family. They didnt take their kids to playgroups. The kids had hard work to do to help out in the household while their Dads were away. The lucky ones who didn’t have to go off to war, were businessmen and the American dream to them was a gaggle of Catholic Italian kids (oh wait thats where I grew up…) in the front yard, a fresh cut lawn and a Buick in the driveway.
Then there was the era of parents who were the infamous barers of the ‘love children’… My mother was a love child – who was graciously adopted by a Catholic Italian/German Lutheran couple who were the product of the baby boomer gen – family. Irony eh?
And who could forget the era of shotgun weddings that ended in two or three more kids? I think these era of parents carried over well into the 90’s…and you saw the beginning of divorce being “ok” enough in the eyes of society that the divorce rates began to skyrocket.
But – then there were us. The parents of the new millennium… who need to have the best of the best, we send our kids to the “best” pre-schools. We send our kids to private schools because apparently there is something ‘wrong’ with public schools. Yeah sure – some of them suck – but a good public school is equally as educationally valuable as a private school. Trust me. We spend copius amounts of money on strictly educational toys.
The boys aren’t allowed to have toys that resemble a weapon.
The girls aren’t allowed to have Barbie’s that will distort their perception on what it means to be a woman in the physical sense.
It’s a rather extreme evolution of parenting- don’t you think? I think a healthy dose of reality is in order for some of these parents. They are not going to look at their 18 year old going off to college and go…
“Man, I’m so glad I breastfed him…that’s why he’s SO smart….”
If you do – there is 18 years of parenting, molding, love, and teaching that you skipped over that is far more important than whether or not you let your baby suckle milk from thy breast of gold..
You’re not going to sit on the bedside of your feverish child, with the sticky pink anti-biotics in hand and the tylenol in the other and say.
“Man, I should have breastfed, if I would have only breastfed, my child wouldn’t have the common cold.”
If you do, you’ve officially missed the bus on a hundred years of development in medical science and Congratulations! You’ve lost sight of the big picture.
The list goes on and there isn’t enough time in my, or your, day to even scratch the surface.
The truth is THIS:
To the parents of the new millennium, your parents were never good enough for them. Your parents were neglectful, abusive and completely ignorant and they completely disregarded their ability to “give you the best start possible.” Right? Or were they just doing the best they could with what they had – just like you?
Our parents let us play outside until the street lights came on.*gasp* With little or no supervision out in the neighborhood. NEGLECT! (They were hoping for a pedophile to pick us up and take us into some sort of slave dungeon and they were hoping our faces on the milk carton would appear in color instead of black and white.. Right?)
Our parents washed our mouthes out with soap when we let the F Bird fly. ABUSE! (They obviously had every intention and hope that the chemicals in the soap would get into the cilia in our esophagus and travel down into our bodies and poison us to death. Right??)
Our parents whipped our asses when we got out of line. ABUSE! (They obviously didnt know the proven method of ‘redirection’ and ‘positive reinforcement’ and hoped we would suffer their wrath. Right?)
Our parents didn’t breastfeed. CHILD ENDANGERMENT! (They really disliked us – they were selfish parents with nobody elses nutritional needs in mind. Right?)
Our parents laid us on our stomach to sleep. CHILD ENDANGERMENT! (They OBVIOUSLY wanted us to die from SIDS- right?)
Our parents worked one or two jobs, a piece, so there was nobody to stay home and raise the kids so we all got sent to relatives or daycare. NEGLECT! (…and they’ll mention you probably should have never spread your legs and gotten pregnant in the first place if you don’t have somebody to stay home and give the children a “proper” upbringing.)
The point I’m trying to make is just how vastly different the parenting styles are and how the parents of today are accepted… but the parents of yester-year were all abusive, unloving, neglectful, ignorant idiots who had no business having children RIGHT?? Isn’t that what they want us to believe? Therapists and Psychiatrists of America WANT us to believe that garbage….I can openly admit I’m a modern parent and that I’ve chosen not to carry on some of the traditions of my own parents – because I’ve learned a lot and I’m slightly more nurturing.. and for us it works – and thats ok! I wouldn’t let my kids play outside without adult supervision – and that adult = me or a family member I trust. I wouldn’t ever spank my kids with a belt or an object like my generation got as a kid – because its truly not necessary. I don’t think I’d put soap in my kids mouth but thats probably because I cuss too much myself and need my own mouth washed out with soap.
The truth is that we aren’t striving to be better parents than our own parents for our children (like we should be) and learning from their mistakes (like we should be), but instead we’re hypocritical of ourselves. We’re not doing it to ‘give our child the best start possible’ – we’re striving to keep up with the Joneses’ and the Joneses’ are the judgmental, pedestal parents of the millennium who openly judge you for being anything less than they are. You’ll know if you’re not one of them, because you most certainly won’t be invited to their uber exclusive playgroup.
What? You didn’t get the info on the next play date? Check your e-mail again. Maybe you should call somebody? I’m sure it got lost in the mail….. Computer glitch?? Are you sure you gave them the right e-mail address for the e-vite they send out every month?
Till next time.