Close the book, put the internet away

There’s a lot out there these days about how we’re doing it wrong or right or not at all as parents. One day we’re told kids need choices and the next we’re told that we are in charge and that giving kids choices is causing bad behavior and a lack of drive in our children. When did this start happening? When did we become so insecure with our own child rearing skills and common sense that we started looking everywhere else for insight, information, and advice?

When I grew up, my parents raised me with a pack of cigarettes in one hand and a pack of cards in the other. They didn’t read 10 blog posts a day or 5 books a week on the subject. They yelled at times, they fucked up at times, they got it right at times, they gave up at times, they even smacked me at times. And guess what? I survived. And more than that, I thrived and succeeded. They didn’t spend every waking minute trying to make me happy or occupying my time or making sure I was busy every second of every day. They told me to go outside and play on a daily basis and not to come in till the street lights came on. They told me to ride my bike if I wanted to get someplace instead of putting me in the car and driving me. They wouldn’t let me cross a busy road even though my friends could and they always wanted to talk to a parent if I was going to a party or staying over someone’s house. They said no to me on the regular. They would put me in time out in the car if I acted up in a restaurant and did not tolerate bad behavior. They did this without reading anything or asking 45 people for their advice.

They worried about my eating habits; they worried about the friends I chose; they concerned themselves with my grades; they involved themselves in my love life. They stood up for me when I was wronged but they knew when I wasn’t doing my best and never blamed my teachers or bosses for my poor performance. They pushed me to want to do better without making me crazy as I did that all on my own. They showed up to the plays I was in and the marching band competitions I was in and they cheered me on when they were able. They knew I messed up a few times and they never held it against me but let me make my mistakes and learn from them. They didn’t let me get away with anything bad but let me get away with the small stuff that wasn’t of much incidence. Nothing was taboo with them and we cursed and talked about forbidden topics and watched George Carlin together. I learned that words were just words unless you used them to hurt people. I learned that any mistake, no matter how big, could be overcome with love and support.

My parents? They did the best they could with the tools they were given. And this is what we all should be doing. We should all stop reading all the articles and blog posts and books about how to parent and how to raise our kids. We should just raise our kids. Raise OUR kids. RAISE our kids. Raise them up to be strong and independent people who can recover even when they are knocked down on their puny asses. Love them up in our way, the way that feels good to us in our heart and not worry so much about what everyone else has to say. But we can’t expect them to raise themselves, that’s just stupid. And for the love of god don’t bring them when they’re little to an 8:00 pm or later movie okay? Thanks.

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