I have been a nanny for almost twenty years now with brief breaks in between working for schools teaching preschoolers and kindergarteners. I am a mother of three children myself, two in college and one in high-school. For as long as I can remember I have been among children and their parents and the lessons I have learned are invaluable. The things I have seen are just as interesting although some are disturbing as well.
I have to say, child rearing has changed drastically since I was a child, to be honest I think it has become a mockery of what it once was. These days it is quite difficult for me to tell who’s in control in most of the families I relate with. I look at these lost parents with the backbones of jellyfish and wonder in my dismay, what has happened to the parent dynamic? Most of these parents are ruled by every whim of their children. I have seen three-year olds with more power than the parents that bore them. Teens screaming disrespectfully at their parents and adults in general. Undisciplined, inconsiderate kids cruising through malls with the most uncaring attitudes and when another unrelated adult has the sense to not want to accept their nasty attitude they are often confronted by a bigger idiot in the form of the parent.
My theory is this. The I owe you factor. It isn’t the children who are raising themselves this way it is the parents who feel that they owe their children something. I have seen it since I began in the field, the guilt. These parents are consumed with guilt over the fact that they work all day and their children are in daycare. They are consumed with wanting to show their children love with “things” and “freedom to choose’. They allow their kids the most outrageous things all to abate the guilt they feel for not being there. I had parents who told me their child of three didn’t want to allow her to brush his teeth. WTF!! Who is the parent? And what is this guilt about?
You feel guilty because you provide for your child?
You feel guilty because you give them everything you never had?
You feel guilty because you’re being responsible for your family instead of sitting on your ass all day?
You feel guilty because you’re busting your ass in a job you probably hate to make sure your kids eat? Huh!!
WTF are you feeling guilty about? Guilt is not doing for your loved ones. Guilt is not caring. If you are working a 12 hour day to provide for your family, there should be pride! Do you think raising a self important, selfish, disrespectful brat who never hears no from your mouth will benefit anything or anyone? The world is not you. This world will chew and spit them out because everyone out here is not your child’s mother, family or friend. Everything you “owe” your child you are doing by providing a home, clothing and education. The rest is cake. So for every parent out there who feels they owe something to their child, I will tell you what you owe them.
You owe them discipline. You owe them the lesson that the world is one entity therefore it’s not all about them. You owe them the lesson of respect as they’d like to be respected. And above all the lesson of honoring their mother and father. Give your child lessons that will make them an individual worthy of love and honor.
Give them their place and dammit make sure they give you yours!