Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Parenting

Let me first start with an admission/confession: I know that I am not going to be the greatest parent in the world. I also recognize that parenting is going to be FAR more difficult than I can even begin to imagine right now.

With that in mind, let the rant begin...

While I know there are a great many challenges to parenting, I believe there are some things that are relatively simple (at least from the outside). This morning on The Today Show they had a segment where parents were expressing concern about how much time their kids were spending interacting with their electronics and not interacting with real people. There was even a brief moment of lament, like conversations I've had with people around here, that kids just don't go outside and play any more. So far, so good, I feel your pain.

Now, here's where the disconnect begins for me. They showed a statistic that said that 20% of kids under the age of 2 have a television in their room. Parents talked about their kids having computers, i-pods, weii's, xboxes, playstations, and cell phones. This is where I begin to get confused. If you don't want your children playing with a lot of electronics, why have you purchased multiple electronics for them and allow them to be used (to exclusion if they so chose) in their rooms? Have a computer, but keep it in a public space so others can join in the games you might play.

If you want your kids to play outside then what ever happened acting like your parents (or at least mine) and say (and expect) things like, "Go play outside for a while." When they respond like I often did with, "But what am I going to do?" You can always answer like my parents, "I don't care, just go outside and play. You'll figure something out." Here's the funny thing, I usually did figure something out, and often found myself not wanting to come back inside.

Again, I am not a parent and I realize it's not always that simple. Still, I can't help but think there are some aspects to parenting that really don't need to be that complicated. You are the parent, they are the child, and as parent you are in charge and you set the rules. I wonder where some of that has gone. Perhaps I'll be learning in the years to come.

1 comment:

P.S. an after-thought said...

Ha, laugh of recognition; ha, laugh of lament. It IS that simple, and it ISN'T that simple.

But you are right, the parents are the parents. But sometimes they forget and want to be the friends, so they don't stand up to the child over small or large issues.

Or when both parents work, they are tired when they get home and, instead of having the patience to enforce something or ask the child to come and help cook, they rely on these "babysitters."

I have three kids. One is completely capable of entertaining herself (she will be ordained soon in the ELCA if the bishop ever suggests a church,) the middle child always had problems playing by himself, but he is extraordinarily good with people, and the last one will spend hours watching mind-numbing TV unless she can do something, anything, with a group of people. All are out of the nest now.

Summary: what works with one, doesn't work with the others.