Monday, December 13, 2010


Hello, Monday. Nice of you to show up again. You’re so thoughtful. And consistent.

But, really, it’s not a bad day today. Kind of laid back, which is a nice change from all of the past Mondays that seem to filter in every week. I’m doing my best to get back into my writing routine, since I have fallen short of my original goal of five times per week. I figured Monday is as good a place to start as any.

Hmmmm…what to write about today?

I think I will write about whiny children. I have no children of my own, which leaves me free to criticize the parenting style and misbehavior of others. Don’t hate. Trust me, no offense intended. I just think some parents ought to consider leaving the state of childhood before they partake in procreation. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Just putting that out there.

Case in point: Earlier this morning, I had the pleasure of being within earshot to a whiny child (guessing he was about five years old) who was pestering his mother for a cell phone. I’m picturing in my head some little navy and red plastic contraption with an emblem of Optimus Prime on it. But, I kid you not, the mother replied, “I know honey. You want an iPhone. We’ll see. You’ll have to ask Santa.” She did not sound put out, just resolved. The boy began to whine even more at this point – and the pitch of his mumbling kept climbing to an octave that I’m pretty sure only dogs could hear. I could detect a note of defeat in her voice as she tried to reason with him.

Who the hell is a kid that age gonna call? SpongeBob?

I don’t get it. This disturbs me. Greatly.

Can’t exactly blame the kids, though. One cannot make thieves and then punish them for the act of thievery. Parents, I blame you.

What you spoil your children with is your business. But it seems to me that today’s children have a supreme sense of entitlement. Society has allowed itself to gravitate away from fulfilling the emotional and disciplinary needs of children, and instead, is catering to their materialistic and self-rewarding behaviors.

Don’t spank your child anymore, because it teaches him to be violent. Really? I got spankings (ahem…a lot of them) growing up, and you don’t see me going around smackin’ people upside the heads (though sometimes I’d like to).

Don’t correct or punish your child because it might damage his psyche. Right. Instead, let him throw a fit until he gets his way. By all means, don’t instill in him the responsibilities of sharing with others, or being considerate of them. Or learning how to respect the concept of ‘no’.

And for Pete’s sake DON’T force him to go outside to play. Seriously. Let him stay indoors in front of the X-Box, Playstation, Wii and Nintendo, so that he never has to develop any skills at interacting creatively with other children. Or - **gasp** - get any exercise.

Oh, and make sure you don’t make an effort to actually be a parent. Concentrate on being your child’s friend instead. That’s way more important than being a leading example of authority or providing instruction to raising a levelheaded, well-rounded human being.

Okay…done venting. For the moment.

Growing up, the words ‘wait until your father gets home’ used to strike fear in my heart. And if my sister or I acted up in a public place, we were abruptly removed – usually with a harsh grip on the arm, or the threat of a belt across our rear ends when we got home. I didn’t necessarily get everything I wanted, but I never wanted for anything either. Mom and Dad were wise in the choices and decisions they made for my sister and me. I see the influence of that upbringing bleeding over into how my sister raises my niece. She is a fantastic mother, and Aislynn is a very well adjusted child. And smart. And kind. And loving. I hope that I do half as great a job with my kids if I’m ever blessed with the opportunity to become a mom.

So, back to the whole cell phone debacle…I guess I just fail to see where giving your children everything their hearts desire is a good thing. What happened to teaching a child to earn something? What happened to encouraging him to put forth an effort so that he may value his own integrity? What happened to letting kids be kids? They grow up too fast anyway.

As we advance in society, so do the mindset and expectations of its people – especially its children. I think it would do us a lot of good if we digressed a little to embrace a bit of old-fashioned parental management.

And SpongeBob, you really creep me out.

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