Last night my hubby and I were driving home from dinner when we saw a young man walking along the side the of the road in a black trench coat wearing an orange hoodie underneath it. Without even thinking I said to my hubby, "If any of our kids came home with a trench coat I would make them throw it away right then and there!" My hubby didn't skip a beat and said "You are absolutely right, there is no way we would allow any of them to wear a trench coat."
This sparked a conversation and memory up about our oldest son, Michael.
When Michael was a Sophomore in High School we lived in the Happy Valley area. Michael had a handful of friends that he hung out with and some were a little more on the "free" side than I would have preferred.
One day Michael came to us and said he wanted to be a skater, he was going to take skate board lessons from his friend and he was going to change his clothes to "skater" clothes. My hubby and I just looked at him and both at the same time said "No, that is not going to happen." Michael of course tried to protest and tell us that he was old enough to make his own choices and he wanted to be a skater and not play footabll anymore. We just again looked at him and said, "No, you are not going to be a skater and you can stop playing football if you want, but not to be a skater." That was pretty much the end of that conversation and a week later I took him to get his hair cut.
Not long after that my hubby was in Michael's room. Michael had a plain grey mouse pad on his desk and on it he had wrote in ink "I hate my life." Those words struck me, as his mother, like a knife. The second emotion I felt I shared with my hubby, I was angry. How could HE say he hates his life? He was in a nice home, we lived in a good neighborhood, he played football for his High School and he wanted for nothing. Yet, nothing came with a price. He was expected to do chores, he was expected to do well in school, he was expected to help with his younger siblings and he was expected to be respectful and appreciative. Nothing was free in this world and we made sure he understood that although he had things better than some of his friends he was made to work for them.
I will never forget the conversation my hubby had with Michael that night over this mouse pad. Well, it wasn't really a conversation more of a one sided speech. My hubby advised our son that he was never to write that crap again. My hubby advised Michael he didn't know what "I hate my life" even meant because he has never wanted for anything. He advised our son that not only were these words disrespectful but they were also hurtful especially to his mother who had worked so hard for him and for his brother all those years they were young to provide them what they had now. My hubby suggested that if Michael would like to find out what "I hate my life" really could mean than he would be more than obliged to show him. Of course to which our son declined.
Some may think that this behavior is normal and some may think that as parents we over reacted. But what my hubby and I have agreed on over the years is that our children will understand and learn to appreciate what they have. They will understand that there are no free rides in the world and they are not entitled to anything.
So many kids these days seem to grow up thinking the world owes them something. That their parents owe them a good life and they have to do nothing in return. I just don't get it. My hubby and I can be out in public and kids of all ages are demanding their parents get them this or that, whining because they want something from the store. Throwing tantrums in the middle of restaurants because they want to sit on mommy's head and not the chair (okay that was to the extreme, but I am making a point) When did the kids of the world become such spoiled little shits?
Now before I get hate mail let me say.. not ALL kids are shits but you have to admit something has shifted in the world of parenting from when we were young. Parents seem to be less concerned about molding thier kids into respectful contributors to the community and more focused on being their "friend." Here is a news flash. Our kids have enough friends, what they need are leaders to lead them and parents to guide and love them.
When I was a child my mother would give me a look that could cut through six people before hitting me and we would all coward down. Now, my mother was not the mother of the year but what she taught me was that I was to be seen and not heard and that I had to respect anyone older than me. She also taught me a thing or two about working hard. Now this came in the form of her not doing much around the house so I had to do it all, but nonetheless it taught me to work hard.
My two older boys do not have to work. It's not something that my hubby and I want for them. Our goal is for the boys, and the three kids coming up behind them, to focus on their school work and get their educations. There is plenty of time for working later in their adult lives. But we do expect them to help around the house, help with the little kids and do things like run errands for us. We feel this not only teaches them to be apart of a team it also develops their abilities to take care of themselves.
No one gets a free ride in the Galvan house. Everyone, even little Elianna, has chores. It can be a range from cleaning their rooms to doing laundry. It is based on their age and their learning curve. It is based on the need of the family and it's done with no questions about it. It is just part of life in this house that they all have to work and they all have to contribute. We feel having this kind of environment helps prevent the norm of kids and their thinking the world owes them something. It also prevents this nonesense of walking around proclaiming "I hate my life."
I wish more new parents would take a look at their views and try and determine if they are helping their child be a proud, confident part of the society or just another little shit running around demanding things of everyone.
I once saw this little girl with her daddy, she must have been 5 years old. We were all waiting to board a plane. The little girl was screaming at the top of her lungs hitting her father on the legs. He looked at one of the people sitting near him and said "Oh, she is so full of life. She is just so smart she gets bored easily and needs to be stimulated more." I looked at my hubby and said "What she needs is a nice long plane ride sitting next to someone like ME, I will take care of that right here and now!" Sadly, she was not near me. Oh I would so have enjoyed showing her father how to control his monster child.
|This is Michael when he wanted to be a "skater"|
|This is Michael today. You're welcome son!|