Thursday, July 22, 2010

Parents Need To Discipline More

And, no, I'm not talking about hitting the child. You can discipline without resorting to corporeal means to do so.

Anyway, I must preface what I'm about to say with an admission: I don't watch daytime tv, so I'm not familiar with the names of the people who populate such shows like Live! With Regis and Kelly (although I'm sure of at least two of them there), or Good Morning, America and such. Usually the tv plays in the background while I work from home and I barely pay attention to what it's saying.

But yesterday was different. I believe it was the Today Show that was on. I could be wrong. And I don't know who the Asian-looking lady is on one of the segments, but it was during this one that I noticed what's fundamentally wrong about these parents today who want to be their child's friend.

The segment, if I remember correctly (which I'm sure I don't) was about finding activities to do with your children. The guest was a mother who had her young 4 year old with her on the set. While this woman and the host spoke, the little girl could be seen causing all sorts of destructive mayhem in the background. And without barely a pause in her conversation with the other woman, the mother said to her daughter: "Good job, honey!" in that distracted, off-handed manner parents use when they could care two shits what the child is really doing. In this case, the little girl had just finished throwing a toy plane straight into the wall with much relish, breaking it in two.

Excuse me? Good job? Are you fucking KIDDING me? That little girl was clearly acting out to get some attention, and you're just going to congratulate her like some puppy that just did a trick for you?

Since when have parents become such pussies? Because, truth be told, I see this kind of behavior ALL the time these days. Young parents that are so afraid to emotionally scar their child that they give up all rights as a parent to knock some sense into the brat and teach them right from wrong. Instead, they want to reward and comfort them for ANYTHING the kid does short of burning the house down. Drawing a nice family portrait in crayon or snipping the tip of the dog's tail with scissors -- doesn't really matter. Either way: Good job, honey!

Look, people. Stop it. You are not there to be your kids' best friend. They have friends. They don't need that from you. What they *do* need is a firm hand to call them out on their bullshit. Because, let's be honest, kids know full well that they're full of shit. They just want to test the waters and see how much they can get away with from their lackwit parental figures. A pat on the head and a quick "atta boy" is no substitute for actual parenting -- and kids respond to this by acting out even more. Geez, no wonder.

I'm not a parent yet, but when I am I'm certain I'm not going to treat my kids like some accessory to show how successful in life I am. Because that's what children are to some people. Little puppies that are cute and cuddly and fun to show off, but who should be mollified with a nice treat if they intrude too much on your own important big people activities.

Good job, honey! Now just keep doing what you're doing and leave me alone -- mommy's on TV!!!

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