Sunday, February 10, 2013

What's wrong with parents today?

     Inspired by an article I read today on raising girls. Is it because I have girls I see these articles more often than I do on how to raise boys? It's actually aggravating me...

     First I want to say, I think we've all failed as parents at one time or another. I KNOW I have. Parenting, for me, has been the most difficult job I've ever had, causing me to continuously morph into something bigger, smarter, faster, stronger and more consistent. I've swung, I've struck out, and I've swung again. Sometimes, hitting it out of the park and sometimes not even connecting...I'm not here to say I'm perfect. I've prayed, failed, cried myself to sleep, but kept on trudging through this blissful thing called "Parenthood."
    When my daughter's were little I threw my scale away. They never saw me weigh myself or talk negatively about my body. I stopped all subscriptions to any magazine not in line with what I wanted my daughter's to embrace about their bodies, which was~they were perfect the way they are. WE CANNOT be subscribers to the likes of Cosmo magazine which always shows headlines about sex and having the "Ultimate O," and expect to point fingers at someone else for the degradation of our children. It starts that early. Right there in our own homes, we give our children the misconceptions about who they are and who they ought to be.
     The television was not turned on unless I approved the content and video games were educational. We played outside together and explored the world. I wasn't a perfect parent, but I was at the front line fighting to make sure they weren't tainted by the world and the media. When a time-out was needed, it was given again and again. Consistency is the key. When people told my girls how "beautiful" they were, it made me cringe. I silently requested they tell them how smart they were first. Being beautiful requires so much more than looks, and we shouldn't focus on this in such a manor our girls think they cannot survive without them. I don't have boys, but I work with them. My advice would be to stop telling them not to cry. Boys will grow to be strong men with encouragement from their parents. Teaching them to surpress their emotions only sets them up for failure, lack of compassion and disconnect in their relationships as adults.
     When my oldest daughter went to sixth grade, on the first day she came home and wondered why I never taught her the "F" word. She was actually upset with me because she felt as though she was the only "kid in 6th grade who had never heard it." I must intersect here and share that saying fuck is not above me, but not in front of my girls when they were little...one week later she sat me down in our living room, with a very stern look on her face, and asked me if I knew what oral sex was (not in those terms however). I was flabbergasted. I knew the conversation would need to be approached one day, but not at such a  young age and certainly not involving such an advanced conversation.
     I'm 44 years old. The age of 16 was when these types of things came up for me and my peers, which as a rule is no longer true. Today, the ages of 11 and 12 are the new 16. Prepare yourself.  After asking her to use what she heard in the same sentence, so I could get an idea as where to start with my explanation, I was forced to sit down with my daughter and tell her everything she wanted to know, but didn't necessarily want to hear. I was as honest as her questions required. Under no circumstance did I want another 6th, 7th or 8th grade boy as her mentor on sex education.  
     Here is the other problem I see arising today...most parents have no home~school connection. A child gets in trouble at school and there are no consequences at home...none. Resisting to say, "When I was a kid..." but it's so true. We didn't mess with our parents, because we respected them! How on earth will a child ever learn to take responsibility for their actions? These are life skills which need to be taught. Our actions should cause a ripple affect from school to home. There is no accountability anymore. Often times a child gets in trouble at school and the parents yell at the teacher, point fingers at the principals instead of addressing the behaviors of their children. Trust me, I was an advocate for my children, at the front line fighting for what was right, but when times demanded a consequence, one was given.
     It's time to pull on the reins parents. Be a parent first, not a friend. Be consistent, firm and loving. Find the balance, it's what your children want and need to survive in the world alone. That's our job, to prepare them, teach them and let them fly.
This is a funny video on the teen brain! Please take the time to watch and learn!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for visiting my blog.
http://youtu.be/-KQb3Mx2WMw

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