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Apparently, They’re Called “Helicopter Parents”

Apparently they’re called “Helicopter Parents”.  And apparently “Helicopter Parents” are a bigger problem than I was aware of.

They’re such a problem, in fact, that due to an influx of said “Helicopter Parents”, kids in Colorado Springs, CO will not be able to participate in the annual Easter Egg Hunt.  IT’S CANCELLED!  Why?  Because of the “aggressive parents who swarmed into the tiny park last year, determined that their kids get an egg.”  I’m not kidding.

Apparently, “Helicopter Parents” refuse to let their children fail at anything–including Easter Egg hunts.  But it gets worse.  Not only are these parents taking away fun activities from their kids, but they’re also taking away all of their chances to learn anything for themselves.

I have no problem with parents that take an interest in their kids’ lives–but come on!  I don’t think kids should “win” at everything.  Losing builds character.  Making mistakes allows kids to learn.  Trying things and not being afraid to try them gives kids opportunities.  None of these things are possible with overprotective parents hovering around every turn.

I know this is pretty much what I talked about last Friday, but it deserves a second post.  Hovering.  Pfff.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Raising My Youngins

 

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From a Non-Parent to Parents

Note:  I know I said I would post wedding photos last night…but it just didn’t happen.  My apologies.  They will be up here eventually.  I swear it (do you trust me?).

But I did want to discuss this whole parenting thing again.  I know I went through a whole series on raising my youngins.  In my head, I have a clear picture of what I think is important in raising childrenwhat I will do, what I want do, how I want them to behave.

But the truth is this:  I am not a parent.  As desperately as I would love to be one right now, it’s just not in the cards until Mike gets here and I get married.  But I came across this gem of an article called “Apologies to the Parents I Judged Four Years Ago”.

In the article, Kara Gebhart Uhl talks about how she said she would use cloth diapers, and how she judged folks who let their kids watch Nick Jr. all day and fed their children McNuggets.

Here’s an excerpt:

Pre-children: I was going to cloth diaper.
Post-children: I did with my daughter, sort of, but not with my twins.

Pre-children: No TV until age of 2 and then only 30 minutes a day.
Post-children: Ha.

Pre-children: Only organic, healthy, homemade food.
Post-children: My kids love Wendy’s.

Pre-children: Public tantrums are unacceptable.
Post-children: Removal of the child is only sometimes doable; predicting when a tantrum is going to strike is often impossible.

Pre-children: Complaints about childrearing and its hardships annoyed me (this was your choice, no?) and saddened me (parenthood is supposed to be a wonderful thing!).
Post-children: Parenthood isn’t wonderful 100 percent of the time.

I was intrigued by this article for obvious reasons…but I felt so…opposite.

You see, I do judge parents (even as a non-parent) right now.  But I don’t judge them for the same things that Kara does.  I judge them for trying to feed children all-organic, all-the-time.  I judge the parents who don’t let their kids play in the dirt.  I get angry whenever they rush over to a kid who’s fallen lightly on his padded little ass and is obviously not hurt at all.

I judge parents for being unrealistic.  Maybe, just maybe, because of this, I won’t be so shocked when I have children.  I hope I don’t judge wrongly.  I probably do though.

You’re the parents…tell me.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Raising My Youngins

 

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Worst. Punishment. Ever.

Most of the time, my parents punished me in the normal ways.  I’ve had to sit in a corner, eat liquid soap, eat bar soap, I’ve gotten a smack on the ass, I’ve been backed against a wall, sent to my room.  I had to hold a penny to the wall with my nose for an hour, I’ve been told they’re disappointed in me, and I’ve been momentarily grounded.

I do not deny that I deserved every single one of those punishments.

They never made me throw away a toy or burn my rock and roll records, and they never threw me out of the house or abused me.  They simply produced repercussions for my actions.

But there was one punishment that I will always remember, because it was the worst punishment ever.

I don’t remember what I did wrong.  My guess is that I was talking back.  Let me set a pretend (although probably accurate) scene for you.  It’s a summer Saturday, and I’m young enough to be punished and old enough to care what my friends think.  My dad is getting ready to go outside to mow the lawn.

Something has pissed me off–probably my father complaining about what a wreck the house is, or how my brother and I never help out.  I say something mouthy, and all the sudden, he’s had enough.  He grits his teeth and tells me that if I think that I do enough around the house, that I can also mow the lawn.

“I don’t know how to use a lawn mower!” I yell.

He glares at me.  He’s probably upset that I actually do not know how to use a lawn mower and he probably thinks that I am spoiled rotten brat.  He takes me by the arm and leads me into the kitchen. He pulls a pair of Fiskers scissors out of the drawer and says, “You know how to use a pair of these, though, right?”

I nod in my most sassy way.

He hands them to me and says, “Go cut the grass.”

I may not have been as old as this man, but I was certainly as grumpy.

I think of saying no, that this is ridiculous!  That there’s no way I can cut the grass with scissors.  But the look on his face, the furrowed brow, the red tint of his skin, the bulging eyes, tell me to shut the hell up.

I walk out the back door, which he slams behind me, and think, “He’s really gonna make me do it.”  I look back up to the window where the kitchen sink is and see him staring at me.  He points to the grass, and I exhale and drop my chin to my chest.  All I can think is, “What if the cute neighbor boy sees me doing this?  What if my friends stop by?  What if someone, anyone, sees me?!”

My solution is to go to the part of the yard that is furthest away from the road.  I drop down to my knees with my scissors and begin cutting the grass.  I’m sure my father is enjoying this twisted punishment.  I cut a line with my scissors and begin making a pile of grass clippings.  I look at the window, and back down to my work.

It takes me about an hour to cut a decent sized circle patch near the shed.  Eventually, my father comes outside, takes my scissors away from me and says, “Go do the dishes before your mother gets home.”

I gladly give my scissors and go inside.  When I get to the kitchen sink, I see him stuff the scissors into his back pocket, look down at my circle, shake his head, and laugh.

Worst.  Punishment.  Ever.

As a return punishment, I never learned to use the lawn mower.  I still, at 26 years old, can say that I’ve never mowed a lawn.  Booyah, Daddy.  🙂

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

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“Less Play Time = More Troubled Kids, Experts Say” NO FARK!

When I was little, I was never inside before it was dark.  Even then, my parents would have to call and call and call, and sometimes even come out and get me.  I climbed trees, invaded a chicken coop with “an endless well,” and climbed into a hayloft with some unreliable flooring.  I got cut, stung, scraped, stuck, scabbed, and bruised.  And you know what?  I’m a better adult for it.

Kids don’t play anymore!  And there are far too many disadvantages to that.  Childhood obesity, lack of imagination, lack of experience, inability to work independently, inability to work with a team, problem-solving, lack of challenges, and so much more.  Playing is learning.

Through free play, “they are acquiring the basic competencies we ultimately need to become adults,” said Gray, author of two studies published recently in the American Journal of Play.

While I think there are many factors contributing to this lack of play time, this article is blaming “hyper-vigilant parenting.”  I’m not in disagreement to this, but I also know that parents have their reasons.  The article explains:  “So what’s keeping kids indoors? Fear of abduction is a big one, followed by worries about kids getting hit by cars and bullies, surveys have found.”

Okay, I get the abduction one.  There’s a world full of crazies and perverts out there.  But kids getting hit by cars and bullies?  Raise smart, tough kids and that one’s null.  Jenny and I both agree that anymore, kids are being raised to be wimps.  And it sucks!  If we just harbor our little snowflakes (thanks, Fark.com) until they’re adults, there’s no way they’re going to be able to function in the real world!

“Today’s young, at least in the middle class and upper class, are psychologically fragile,” Marano said in an interview published in the journal.

I can’t wait to live in a country run by psychologically fragile kids.  Please note sarcasm.  Goodness.  I won’t be buying my kids any type of video gaming system until they’re 16.  No cell phones until they’re 16.  They will play outside, and they will not rely on me to solve every little stupid problem they encounter.  I will raise my kids in a certain way specifically to avoid this bull crap.  They’ll be tough.   I can think of no better way to end this post than the way Jenifer Goodwin ended her article:

“Parents have to remember that childhood is this special time. You only get it once, and you don’t want to miss it,” LaFreniere said. “Mixing it up with other kids in an unrestrained manner isn’t just fun. It isn’t a luxury. It’s part of nature’s plan.”

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Raising My Youngins

 

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