Before we go any further, before you or I say anything on this matter, I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear.
I love my kids.
I am not complaining, or wishing for a life sans kids, or bad mouthing them, or trying to make those without kids feel bad by talking about things they’d love to experience. I’m sensitive, considerate folk. But understand the need to exercise my sense of humor on the subject. It’s part of my master plan to maintain some semblance of sanity. I am also not bad mouthing my spouse. I love him too. But I think we can all agree that we’ve had differences in opinion with our significant others on the subject of parenting.
Being a parent is one of the most wonderful, joyous, and fulfilling things one can experience, no doubt. But we’re raising a crop of kids with an ever increasing sense of entitlement that leaves me with a feeling of shock and awe.
If it were a movie, it would be titled 18 Years a Slave.
Is it the fault of the parents, as the Oompa Loompas would have us believe? Umm….partly. But I’ve found that no matter what you say or do, no matter how you try to impart a certain set of values unto your offspring, they get outside stimulus from their meddling little friends, their smart ass Disney shows and the kid on the kindergarten bus with the cell phone, who tells your innocent five year old about what his older brother did with his girlfriend on the family couch. You get a pervasive snarkiness, a sarcasm and, in a society full of politically correct parenting, coupled with a toned down “kinder, gentler” approach by our, Gen X homies, in a direct reaction to the ass whoopings we received in our own youths…you get blurred lines in with respect to the parent/child directive.
For his part, my DH was raised to not lift a finger. His parents believed that he and his sister should enjoy their childhood, rather than be subjected to chores and duties. First of all, I would like to know why I couldn’t sign up for this program. I spent my post cartoon Saturdays picking the weeds from between the three thousand patio bricks in our back yard, dusting the living room, and vacuuming. My mother was a ball buster. She never took the white gloves off.
So our kids only do the occasional chores. I know. I hear the gasps. I’m right there with you. Try as I might to expedite a chore assignment, you know how the Parental United Front thing works. When there isn’t one, everything goes to shit and I end up cleaning the cat box for the kid’s cat that he absolutely, positively had to have and promised on a stack of Halo comics he would keep clean.
Worse? When I try to enforce anything, I get that look of indignation from my beloved that says “You’re being a ball buster, like your mother, aren’t you?”
Oh hell no! That’s below the belt. You never play the “you’re just like your mother” card.
So you know what it comes down to? Text messages from the 14 yo asking for a glass of water when he’s on the second floor and we’re on the third. Repeated requests for fruit snacks from the 7 yo who could just as well go downstairs and get them himself, except he’s afraid to go alone – unless it’s to play XBox, which somehow renders him exempt from any Boogie Man retribution.
We get the 14yo taking some of his meals in his room, and either leaving the empty dishes there to attract an ant population, or they are left outside the door. We’ve taken to joking that Room 2B is finished with their tray.
You know how long that lasted? Too long. But I shall redeem myself by saying that I’ve used my Mom Voice enough times, coupled with the Hovering Over Him Maneuver, in order to affect change.
When did the tables turn here? When did our kids begin ordering our asses around, making us jump? I know I’m not alone. I read stuff. I watch Dr. Phil, for chrissakes. I’m not completely out of it. I see it in the attitudes of the kids working retail and cash registers. “Oh, I think it’s over there on the shelf somewhere…”. Translation? “Get it yourself, bitch.”
What the fuck? I had my ass handed to me on a Corelle dinner plate if I didn’t do the parental bidding, and lickety split. There was no “So?” or “What are ya gonna do?” about it. If that thought so much as entered my mind, my clairvoyant maternal unit had a tightly fisted grip on a bar of Tone, to make me atone for my sins. Once, she used a bar of Lava after it had been used by my father to wash axl grease off his hands. I attribute that to my love of brussels sprouts. Multiple taste buds were rubbed out that day.
Now it’s “I’d like you to pick up your clothes.” “In a minute. I’ll get killed if I leave the game now.”
Oh, I’ll tell you what’ll kill you more, kiddo. The Wrath Of Mom.
So, I clean the cat box, I do the dishes, I fold the clothes, I clean the house. I hang their coats, put away their shoes, take the rotting sandwiches out of their backpacks – on Monday morning after the weekend. I retrieve the half eaten bags of chips from under the bed.
I know. I’ve probably sentenced myself. But what to do to free the slave? (me)
Do you differ in parenting style from your spouse? What do you expect of your kids? And have you noticed this new trend in smart ass/entitled behavior? I need your insights and advice before the next round of snacking begins.