I was reading a post by Mir Kamin very early this morning, where she talks about how kids today may be too soft. You can read the post here.
It got me to thinking about things I do and things I do not do with my kids. The good and the bad. I think all of us parents just try to make up for the failing of our own parents' parentage. If that's a word. Like if your mother always said, "What goes around, comes around," and it annoyed you so much that you swore up and down that you wouldn't put your kids through such a lame expression.
Or if you mother or father did nothing with you as a child: no skiing, shooting, arcades, movies, sledding, hot cocoa, making bread, visiting friends, reading bedtime stories, singing loudly in the car, helping you out with homework, teaching you about credit, or taking an interest in ANYTHING that you did, you'd probably do the exact opposite when you became a parent. Like spoil them with attention.
Everyone can dig up some dirt on their imperfect parents, even the ones who had a great childhood and really could not ask for better models of parenting, can say something like, "You know, my parents _____" Fill in the blank. They were never there or they were always there, hoving like a psychotic helicopter. They never let me do what I wanted. I had too early of a curfew. They didn't care enough to set a curfew. They were overprotective. They didn't give a shit. They never worked. They were always at work.
Truth is, that we do the best that we can. Even if it is REALLY bad.
This brings me to the subject of my post: Are Our Kids Too Soft?
After reading Mir Kamin's post, the first thing I thought of was something that happened with Simon yesterday. He came home without his Reading homework. Again. The first time he forgot his Reading folder, I immediately jumped into Help Him action. He was on the verge of sobbing (we take our homework serious around here. Not doing it means they miss recess.) and I told him everything would be fine. We'd get a book from the library at his level, read it and do the required writing afterwards. I would write a note to the teacher that we did what we could, sign it and he wouldn't have to miss recess. I felt like Wonder Mom. Here to save the day!
But then he did it again. Forgot his Reading folder. I was a bit ticked off and told him I wouldn't bail him out again. He cried, but once he got to school, he was forgiven by his teacher. She gave him a reprieve. Because he always has his work done, gets into no trouble at school, so she let him off. I think I was irritated with her and relieved for Simon at the same time. He's a good kid, works really hard and he doesn't deserve to miss recess.
But...then. You guessed it. Yesterday, he failed to bring the folder home yet again. Now, this particular chipmunk is only six. He's in the first grade. He's still learning to be responsible. So he should be excused of it...right? The thing is, if he is just continually allowed to be excused from being irresponsible, he will continue to be. So I told him that he would just have to go to school and face the consequences. We would of course read a book, but I would not write a note. He would have to do the forgotten homework during recess.
And then he got all teary-eyed on me again. Too friggin' bad, I thought. Gaw, he doesn't know how good he has it. I mean, the 'munks and I do lots of things together. They are constantly around, getting my attention. We cook and clean and play and run errands and I attend to their every need. In all reality, they are spoiled with attention. And that's great. But maybe, it's making them soft. Of course I don't want them to have a harder life, but they just don't understand how many people have had it so much harder.
Maybe even I, after all the complaining I've done about my own upbringing, don't get how people have had it much worse. Maybe each generation is getting softer and softer. I've been analyzing how I do some things with my children and I realized that I don't make them accountable for nearly anything! They do help out with cleaning the house, but they do not know how to put away a toy directly after playing with it, or clean up their area after eating. And in consequence, they make a horrific mess when they eat. Maybe if they had to clean it up everyday, they wouldn't get food all over the table, chairs, their clothes and the floor. Maybe if they had to clean their toilet and bathroom tile they would aim better.
I've made a small resolution to be more sociable with actually people instead of writing stuff in the world of the Internet, but that isn't panning out so well (I'm just oh, so comfy in my reclusiveness) so maybe I'll change it up and say that my new resolution is to make my chipmunks more accountable. Because, really, it is making them soft. It's hurting them to be so spoiled and have no accountability.
What do you guys think?
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