People my age have been called lazy. We allegedly have a poor work ethic.
I used to think this largely stemmed from reality TV painting all of us as Hiltons or Kardashians. I would take offense as I have always been someone who worked very hard to earn very little.
Since becoming a parent, however, I have slowly begun to think about this in a different light.
Parenting is a job.
That doesn’t simply mean it is hard work. It means that we have a responsibility to our children, a responsibility that if we shirk can have huge consequences.
If there were universal goals for all the parents on Earth, I imagine one would be to prepare our children for life out of the nest.
I worry my generation falters in this area because of this big push that is, in essence, coddling.
Have we been branded as lazy because of a “new-age” approach to parenting? In other words, are we coming up short in our job to equip our children with the skills to survive outside our homes?
I had a drink with a girlfriend who was planning a party for her daughter, and she told me other parents warned her to avoid any games in which there are winners and losers. Another girlfriend of mine told me that many youth sports organizations mandate that all children get equal playing time.
Today’s young parents are bombarded with warnings about behaviors that could damage little egos.
“Don’t yell at your kids or you will ruin them.”
“Don’t use words like ‘no’ or ‘you can’t’ around children. It results in poor self-esteem.”
“Don’t look your child directly in their eyes or they will know how scared you-know-what-less you are to be a parent.”
How is this helping prepare our children? In the real world, there is no such thing as “equal time” and “everybody wins.” What is wrong with introducing a child to the harsher side of life in a safe, controlled environment?
The first time either of my children experiences a loss or misfortune, I expect that either I will cause the disappointment or I will be there to explain it and help them manage it. If it isn’t me, it will be someone else on the school playground, in a social setting or at the workplace.
In no way am I advocating physically harming or verbally abusing a child. I’m actually a fan of many parenting techniques others criticize as coddling, such as extended breastfeeding or co-sleeping.
However, I am not a fan of sheltering my children to the point where they feel they are entitled to a slice of the pie even when they did nothing to deserve it. Despite articles that trend on social media sites, I believe that kids can handle reality.
“Mommy, why did Susie get to stay on the field longer than me?”
“Because you have two left feet, kid. You did a heck of a job picking your nose, though.”
Wake up, folks, not everyone can bend it like Beckham. And that’s not only OK, it’s a good thing. We aren’t supposed to be the same.
I think we need to expose children to situations that demand maturity and understanding in order to help them grow. If parents aren’t the ones guiding a child through these moments, someone else less capable will.
And that is scary enough to motivate me to do a better job.