To the Parents Who Do it All (Part 1)
It has become a terrible trend to take pride in being the lazy parent. When did this happen? When I was a kid, you did not want to be the parent who didn’t, at least, try to do it all. I know that the previous generation of parents had their own set of problems, and I’ve discussed those problems. They either didn’t do some of the things I am about to rattle off or they tried to hide them because they recognized them as unsatisfactory. Being an apathetic parent is the last thing that I ever expected to see trending. The very last thing I would ever want to take pride in is the lack of effort I put in to the most important job of my life, raising good human beings.
You are no longer a rebel if you drop your child off at childcare to go to work, spend two seconds with them before sending them to bed, and then leave them with the girl next door so you can go out drinking. You are now the radical parent if you do not have date night with your husband often because the number of people granted the privilege of being the caretaker for your children could be easily counted on one hand. That is fine by me though; I’ve always considered myself and my ideas a bit radical.
The problem I am having is that children are suffering because of this new craze. Their parents are splitting up, which is the absolute worse thing for a child, and their friends and family are encouraging it. Parents are no longer involved in what the child is learning or not learning in public school. Children’s speech has completely deteriorated. I have recently spoke to children up to six years old that I am completely unable to understand. When I was younger mothers took their children to speech therapy but kids grunting at their parents for what they want is apparently an acceptable form of communication these days. Parents are not looking at the dysfunction within their household, nor trying to change that dysfunction, but rather they are barbarically embracing it. That part makes my skin crawl. Mothers are no longer cooking their children healthy meals. They are no longer rationing their child’s sugar intake. They are not teaching them moderation. Mothers are no longer baking their children birthday cakes but rather buying them from the grocery stores pre-made. If you aren’t making your child’s birthday cake then you’re doing it wrong. Family time is a foreign concept in most households. Mothers are bragging about their choice in alcoholic beverage while using it as a legitimate way to deal with the normal struggles of a Wednesday afternoon. I mean my God, motherhood is not this tragic. Parenthood is not a dreadful unfortunate event that requires alcohol and drugs to get through. If you disagree I encourage you to examine your premise because what I’ve described above is absolutely pathetic
I am going to annoy quite a few people with this post, which basically means I am on the right track. Here are the things I think all parents should do:
It is critical to have a good relationship with the parent of your child. Whether you’re with your child’s parent or not, it is your job to make sure your child has parents who can work things out. Parent’s these days are so quick to pull the divorce card. I truly believe if people knew the harm that divorce causes, parent’s would never utter the word divorce again. Parents are the foundation of the child’s life. If the parents are constantly at war then that shakes the foundation and makes it unstable. Just as the parents are not functioning properly the child will not be able to develop properly. Ultimately the child will grow up as dysfunctional as his parents. You and your child’s parent might need to go to counseling. You might need to read some marriage books together, or separately. I would recommend reading a marriage book if you have children, even if you are not married to your child’s parent. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman is a great book that I highly recommend. You might need to have a lot of uncomfortable discussions. My guess from my own experience is you will have to do all of these things. Work is required for a healthy marriage and a healthy marriage is required for a healthy family.
Be involved in your child’s education.
In my opinion your child should not be in public school. Period. I have an article on why here. I get that there are unfortunate circumstances where your child might end up in public school. My son was in public school for his kindergarten year. I was able to change my schedule and eventually my job in order to make sure that my children could be home schooled. If your child is in public school I urge you to look into options for home schooling. If you home school your child or if your child’s education is outsourced you should be deeply involved in what your child is learning. You should be aware of how your child learns and compare that to how your child is being taught. Even if you are the one teaching them you may find that you are failing to teach them in a way that they understand. It is your job as the parent to ensure that your child’s education is a smooth experience. It is your job as the parent to make sure your child hits their milestones. It is your job as the parent to work with your child if they are struggling in any subject in school or at home. Failing to take part in your child’s growth of knowledge will tell them that their minds are of no value to you. What a sad message for a child to receive. And lastly, I will state that even though public schools want you to believe that it is their responsibility to ensure your child gets a decent education, it’s not. That is your job and your job alone. If the school your child is attending is causing them any problems it is your job to find a school that is more suitable to their needs.
Identify dysfunction and find solutions.
Of course there is dysfunction in everyone’s family. A lot of times problems are identified but people choose to ignore them. Other times no one has even bothered to examine their family at all. Dysfunction comes in many different forms. I am not an expert of any forms, by any means. I do know that dysfunction is not something that can be hidden forever. It will be revealed. It will be exposed. There will be casualties. I do know that the lack of surveying dysfunction will ruin a family. Dysfunction within the family is no joke to be made. The acceptance of dysfunction is what is destroying the family today. Parent’s want to say, “My kids are bad. They just misbehave because they are bad kids”. Instead of looking at which one of them could be causing the children to behave badly. They hit them and then wonder why their children are aggressive. They don’t let their children make choices and then wonder why they make poor choices when they are not around. The absolute refusal to do any self work is what is burdening the family. People want to normalize it because of my initial statement on this topic, every family has dysfunction. Just because everyone has it does not make it inherently good. Everyone got the plague at one point in time but that does not mean that I want it anywhere near my family now.
Parents need to eat healthy for their children.
I cannot believe the number of children that I have seen lately that are overweight. It is terrible. I’m talking three, four, and five year olds; kids that are not old enough to make their own meals. I know that these children are not being fed well because walking slowly behind them is an overweight parent. My son was stocky up until he was about five years old. I know the difference in shape between stocky and overweight. You might push back and say, “Yes, but maybe the child is sneaking snacks”. It is still the parents fault. First, why would the child need to sneak snacks if they were in a healthy environment? I’ll tell you right now that people don’t just sneak snacks because they are hungry. That is part of an eating disorder. And if they are so hungry that they are sneaking snacks, then the parents need to re-evaluate the food they choose to serve. Second, if your child is sneaking snacks, then take the snacks out of the house. Finally, remember that you are the parent and it is your job to teach your child about health and fitness because they need both of those things to live a full and happy life. Parents need to stop picking up McDonald’s for dinner and start cooking for their families again. It is your job to keep yourself healthy. It is your choice whether you do it or not; however, if you have children I do not believe you have that choice any more. It is your job to make sure they arrive to adulthood prepared to be an adult. If they have arrived overweight with no skills on how to moderate their sugar intake, no role model for physical upkeep, and the inability to cook for themselves, then you have absolutely and utterly failed.
After writing only a few of the things that I think more parents should be doing I realized this topic had to be discussed in multiple parts. So look out for part two, which will be published soon after this one. I am in no way claiming that I am a perfect parent. If you follow me at all you know that I think the concept of a perfect parent is a complete fallacy. However, I do think that parents need to put more effort into raising their children. Honestly, this lazy parent trend is worse than guys with bleached tips.
To the few parents who try to do it all, kudos to you. Seriously, thank you for being a good parent. A lot of annoying people these days stick their noses up at the good parents. As if they are somehow morally superior because they do not put as much effort into their parenting. News flash: parenting is one of the most important jobs you will ever have in your life. If you are not putting heart, soul, sweat, and tears into it, then what the hell is the point?