Spoiled Brat!

March 6, 2010

Yesterday, I watched as a mother tried desperately to placate her 3 year old as he yelled “No! I don’t like you anymore – you’re not my friend!” The mother was offering treats from the vending machine and making offers to take him to the park as he stood there in his three and a half foot tall huff – arms crossed, head turned. All I could hear in my head was my own voice screaming at the mother – “You don’t need any more friends – seriously!” Why are parents so afraid of their children? Are they honestly taking the word of a 3 year old that he won’t be your friend anymore? Grow up! Why do you need a friend who is more than 30 years younger, can’t drive (other than you, up the wall), can’t drink (wine or coffee) and can’t tie his own shoes? Besides – you’re not supposed to be his friend (that’s what the sandbox is for) you are his Parent.

Parents are the older, wiser people who guide you through this life – teaching you the rules to living as a socially acceptable human being, showing you how to function – ie: teaching you to tie your shoes, eat with a fork and not lick the plate. It’s not about negotiating every single thing you do or say. If it’s time to go – you go – why confer with a child who doesn’t even know which direction they’re going in? And can you tell me why is there a price on everything ? “If we leave now honey, I’ll buy you a bag of chips from the machine.” Can you imagine that in the real world? “If you finish your sales proposal on time – I’ll let you keep your job.” Seriously.

While your children are in your care – because they won’t be forever – it’s up to parents to step up to the plate and parent. It’s not a popularity contest, because no matter how much you give in to them – it’ll never be enough, and it shouldn’t be. They should grow up wanting things that they can’t have and learning that they might be able to earn them someday – or maybe that  it’s just not meant to be. The only time you can truly be your child’s friend……is when you stop trying to be.

If you’ve done your job right – been there, been firm, guided, advised and supported them to the best of your ability, and if the chemistry is right (remember that although they came from you,  they are their own people) then once they’ve grown-up…..you just might find that you’ve become friends…because you both want to be.

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