Tag Archives: Wife Swap

DO YOU THINK TODAY’S PARENTS ARE TOO TOUGH OR TOO SOFT?

I’ve been asked to offer my opinion about the above.  For examples of each extreme try to catch a few episodes of Wife Swap.  Tough and soft love parents are pitted against each other.  Usually, the tough parents soften up and the soft parents toughen up.  On Wife Swap, all the kids seem to do okay.  Moreover, unless abused, once adolescence is past, most kids whether raised by tough or soft love parents seem to do okay.  I suspect, however that those raised by the tough love parents do better negotiating the ups and downs of life.

Soft parents make soft kids and when life gets tough, soft kids don’t do well.

SO WHAT IS A PARENT TO DO?

First, model and teach manners.  I’m not saying worry so much about which fork to use, although in some settings you look better if you know things like that.  Good manners essentially repect the rights and needs of others.  “Please” and “Thank you” matter, writing thank you notes matter, R.S.V.P.s matter,  holding the door for the person behind you matters, getting up to give your seat to someone older or handicapped matters; not leaving a mess for others to pick up matters.  These are the manners that matter and seem to be in decline.

Two years ago, I was riding a bus from the airport in New York.  It was crowded.  Most of the young people had seats, and a number of elderly did not.  Nor did anyone offer an obviously pregnant and weary young woman a seat.  It got worse.  The driver had to stop to pick up a woman in a wheelchair.  This meant, in order to clear the aisle for the necessary space for her wheelchair, about ten people had to exit the bus and wait for the next one.  When the driver explained the situation, the only people to exit the bus were those over 5o and two Latino men.  Two young woman occupying seats that would have to be folded up cursed the driver.  Terrible manners.

Second, don’t be afraid of the word punishment.  Humans are programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Punishment is pain applied following a behavior in order to decrease the occurance of that behavior.  It works.  Praise for doing the right thing works too and often better, but punishment should be in every parent’s tool kit.  Time out, loss of privilege, extra work, and the loss of a parent’s good regard are powerful weapons. “I’m disappointed” are very potent words when said by a loving parent to a pre-teen or teen for violations of important rules.

Third, instill a work ethic. Our two and half year old grandson knows to put trash in the garbage.  He is being taught to pick and put away his toys.  In time he will get an allowance, but three quarters of it will be earned by obeying house rules and doing chores.  He will most likely be one of the kids bagging groceries at the local super market.

If I could wave a magic wand no one would enter college until they had worked and lived on their own for two years.  For too many youth of today college is partying.  Not healthy.

Guess I do want more parents to toughen up.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Care and share.  If you have ideas about how to keep caring, share them here.  If you think another parent might find help in this post, share it.  Meanwhile, thank you and as I tell myself over and over, “Stay Strong.”

Katherine [Image Source]

TIME TO GET REAL ON PARENTING OPINIONS

My publicist suggested I jump on the bandwagon and blog about TIME’s controversial cover shot and article, ‘ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH?’. Not sure I want to join the fray on this one.  Why? Two reasons.  I think TIME wanted to boost traffic and sales and certainly picked a topic that got almost every one who has an opinion on the subject posting.  Not wanting to post has been my way of protesting the divisiveness the media creates on far to many subjects.

We need to pool knowledge and not widen the gap, particularly on subjects that are mostly a matter of opinion and not supported by hard core facts.

Here is what the Huffington Post said  on the Nursing Contraversy.  For  those who don’t read magazines, follow Facebook or Twitter, it pretty much tells you all you need to know about the fracus.  Most of you already know, so can skip right to my opinion if you are interested.

My immediate response:  Those kids are going to hate this once reach they age of reason.  Imagine what their school friends are going to say if any figure out these kids were the long term nursers of the TIME story.

My second response: Okay, a bit obsessive on Mom’s part, and I do remember the feel good feelings that went along with nursing; so not sure the Mom’s or the kids needs are being met.  Mother nature seems to say that nursing until up to about two years, which is when solid food consumption is well established, is enough.

Co-sleeping is discussed in the same article. When I was raising my kids, one always managed to crawl into bed without our knowing it.  The other kid was an ever moving object, so never succeeded in co-sleeping.  I suffered some guilt because at the time co-sleeping was thought to be a big sin.  It still can get you accused of child abuse in some states.  I think it is also an over blown issue; could be abusive, usually is not.  Moreover, it seems the most natural thing in the world if you wake up in the middle of the night, alone, and in the dark or semi dark to want to crawl into bed with the parents who love you and try to keep you safe.  Finally,  once again, I think Mother Nature solves the problem; most kids stop on their own at around five or six.

My third response: Sigh, if it hasn’t been proven to be dangerous to the child, and while some claim it has, as the article points out, others see it as a good thing, whose business is it?  I hate the invasion of private lives.

My fourth response:  Why flaunt it and make it such a public issue.  One of my brothers, upon learning I was nursing my kids, said if I tried to nurse at his house he would throw me out.  I saw that as his problem, but also respected his wishes, it seem kinder than making an issue by trying to nurse when visiting his home.

My fifth response: So tired of experts creating situations like this that seem to make one or another way of parenting the only way.  I recently suggested on  My Pinterest ‘Books to Read Board‘  that parents should occasionally watch Wife Swap.  Now I know that is not high class television and probably fairly rigged.  Still it provides insight into the diversity of parenting styles.

What impresses me most when I watch Wife Swap is how each wife and husband moves a bit in the opposite direction.  I am also generally impressed that all the kids seem to be okay.  Not all  but most.

If you read my blog regularly you know my rant about some of today’s kids being too entitled and wishing more were taught good manners.  And do remember, I don’t blame the parents but the happiness gurus and communication parent advisors.   Most every parent I know does a “good enough” job. And most kids I know grow up to be “good enough” adults.

What’s a parent to do?  Some people just are born critics. Moreover, parents are considered fair game by the media, by the lady standing behind you at the super market, by teachers, preachers, and kids. So when you are confronted with actual criticism or implied criticism by anyone remains, what I suggest is a response akin to what you’d give your teenager in a Gottcha War (a concept explored in ‘When Good Kids Do Bad Things’).  That is, minimal response. If I’m feeling good I try to  smile and say “Thank you, I’ll think about that.”  But it’s not always so easy, so a sigh and nod might be my response. Much like my response to TIME’s cover and article … until my publicist got me blogging.

Practice kindness: Share if you know someone who might find this helpful. Help me by liking or commenting.  When you share  you also  help yourself for kindness always  circles back.

Stay strong, I work at it all the time.

Katherine