It seems there are two factions going on in my social channels and in my life lately, the haves and the have nots. Meaning those who have children and those who don’t. My feed is filled with varying stories about people’s kids, blog posts about parenting and family photos. And then there are my ‘unencumbered’ friends who post about the crying baby on their plane, the kid who crashed into them with a scooter and the tantrum at the restaurant they were at. Now, I straddle both these worlds because I’m “single” half the time, having 50/50 custody with my ex. But of course, I’m a parent first and foremost. And while you can never know what is happening in someone’s life at any given moment, I think that most people’s parenting leaves a lot to be desired these days.
We’ve become a society of friends and pals to our kids first and parents second. And I for one, am not on board with this. I get it. Disciplining your kids is HARD. Like really hard. No one WANTS to yell at their kids. It sucks. And it’s soooo much easier to give them what they want so you can sleep or get a moment of peace. But like all things, making the hard choice is usually the right one. Taking the easy way out is only going to lead to your kid being obnoxious and worse, disrespectful and undisciplined. Children need boundaries. It’s their job to push them and ours to set them…and push back.
This is why I’ve decided from birth that I’m not raising a brat. I’ll stand firm. He doesn’t say please, he doesn’t get what he wants. He does something wrong and he’s removed from the situation then and there and dealt with. My son has had time outs in public. I don’t care if I’m calling attention to myself or him. It’s not about what other people think anyway. And if I wait until we get home, it’s too late. The lesson can’t be taught after the fact.
I’m tough. I’m also doting and loving and a complete mush with him. But I absolutely believe that your children need to be a little afraid of you. Just a little. Not physical violence afraid, just afraid enough to keep them in line. I was afraid of my mother (who used to spank us, but that was another time and that’s another conversation) and it worked to keep me on my toes. Of course I battled her and pushed her limits but she clearly defined what those were and I ended up respecting them. She is the kind of mother (sans spankings) that I have emulated.
The biggest compliment I can and have received is from my childless friends who all tell me if they could guarantee a son like mine, they’d have kids. “He’s so good.” “Such a good kid.” “So polite.” “Such a delight.” Yes, I’m tooting my own horn, but I worked hard for this. I would yell at him and then go cry because I felt so awful. But you have to! Because I won’t tolerate kicking people’s seatbacks, tantrums in restaurants or disrespect ever. I want to go to dinner with my son and have no one realize there’s a child in the restaurant. Which is how it should be. Of course he’s a kid and he’s going to act up and get rowdy and rambunctious. But there’s being a kid and there’s being an asshole kid. And I am not having any of that. I’m bitchy enough for the both of us.