At some point in time it was decided that children had so many rights that parents were only entitled to one: The right to appease them. The child had the right to happiness, so spoil them, don’t discipline them, and shift the whole balance of power around to the point where all lines are blurred. As a result a lot of parents ended up practicing what some refer to as Passive Parenting.
Despite the fact that my brother and I aren’t what I deem that far apart in age, we’ve been raised completely different. It’s said that the first child is always the Experiment. Parents try out what they’ve learned over the years on you, sometimes they coddle you other times they neglect you. Sometimes they appease you, other times they shame you for even having any desires. Honestly, the First Child gets it all and if you don’t end up as a basket case, I’m proud of you.
The Second Child [Which in this case, is my brother, and the last] gets it much easier. See, by this time, Dr Phil and some magazine advice column have told your parents the “right” way to raise children. The right way entails more “communication” than action. More “bonding” than raising and guiding. Frankly, more talk than action.
As it tends to happen with lines from the Bible, someone decided “Spare the rod, spoil the child” meant just that: Be your child’s bitch, and as it often happens again, everyone followed blindly.
All too often I find myself in the middle of arguments between my mother and my brother. My 11 year old brother yelling at my 50 year old mother to keep quiet and let him speak as I count the number of times I would have slapped him for every single wayward comment he makes.
I put him in his place.
I remind him to respect his elders.
I discipline him.
I explain things to him.
And I’m disgusted.
They’re raising a little asshole.
I believe parenting is more raising an adult than raising a child. You don’t coddle an idiot, breed unsavory behaviour then think one day when they get a college degree it will change.
You don’t raise an entitled, disrespectful control freak then think one day he’ll be a decent human being.
You cannot raise a tiny douchebag and expect him to be a Prince.
And my mother tells me she doesn’t believe in hitting children so what else is there?
Being quick to raise your hand when your child messes up isn’t always the solution but it’s not the Evil deed it’s been made to seem either.
Hitting your child once in a while will not lead to you paying for counselling sessions in the future and nor will it turn them into a serial killer. We were hit and we turned out just fine. [Kind of, but, you know..Our problems don’t stem from being disciplined “too much”.]
My mother didn’t have to hit me for me to respect her.
She didn’t terrorize me.
Contrary to popular belief, Black parents aren’t irrational tyrants who keep us all in line with belts and cuss words.
I respected her as a provider, as a care taker, as my mother, as someone who knew more than I did. It was only when I became a teenager that I started talking back and engaging in dialogue with her and even then, it was to understand things. [Of course teenage angst played a part in me trying to come for my mother’s wig sometimes but..hey..It happens.]
I didn’t respect my parents out of fear, I respected them because I understood the contribution that they made to my Life. I also respected them because they wouldn’t expect anything less from me.
Now? Not so much.
When did our parents start raising full out unapologetic brats and why?
Was it when people started using half baked psychological knowledge to explain their wayward behaviour?
Did the stories of serial killers whose mothers physically abused them scare ours into believing every single slap would make your child a psychopath?
Who do you blame when your child knows you’re afraid of them and so takes advantage? Who do you get mad at?
Who’s at fault when you were so busy out buying books from people who don’t know your family, some of which have no kids themselves, that you built no relationship with your child?
Who do you blame when you realize by the time they’re a teen, you can’t really do much?
What are you going to do when you realize you’re not really a parent and are now merely someone to finance their lifestyle and teach them how to be a dick?