Friday, July 10, 2015

Ten Characteristics of Flawed Parents

Parental perfection. Bull pucky.

1) They read lists to try to figure out how to be a good parent.
Okay. That was mean. Sorry. 

2) They go on "dates" with their kids. That's just creepy.
Seriously -- just spend time with your kids. Do we have to get all Oedipal about it? That's got to do some damage somewhere along the line... 

3) They read articles instead of "reading" their kids.
Articles can be good, but nobody but you can really see what you kids needs from you. But you gotta think. Nobody can hand you insight. 

4) They think that because they survived doing asinine or ignorant things that kids today should do the same. 
Just because you went out without sunscreen and sat on the roof of a moving pickup truck and survived, by chance, it doesn't mean we should throw away years of accrued scientific study so that our wimpy kids tougher. So quit it. Toughen them up without pushing stupidity, if you must. 

5) They believe it when one psychologist says every established bit of wisdom about being a parent is now -- all of a sudden -- wrong. 
Just because this guy comes along and say punishing your kids for bad behavior is the worst thing you can do, you are going to buy it lock, stock and barrel? Stir it into the stew of consideration, but don't just gobble it up.

6) They think that everything lower than a B is "unacceptable."
I get it. Motivation. But how wrong is it to teach your kid he or she can be perfect, in anything? I have taught kids who have gotten nothing but As during their entire school careers. Can that be a true assessment? Is that a fair standard to carry into life? Many of the most successful people in life have been C students...or worse. Maybe it is because they felt they had some country yet to discover... Back off, Patton. 
7) They treat their kids like they are the center of their world.
Your kids should be the center of your world. But they shouldn't constantly be aware of it. That's too much pressure for anyone to take and you are going to lay it on a ten-year-old? 
8) They exemplify what they will later complain about.
Put the cell phone down. Read books. Stop complaining. Don't yell and roll your eyes. Eat well. Spend time with your family. Don't talk about your friends behind their backs. Or, just shut up later. 
9)  They're afraid to apologize.
Just say it, once in awhile: "I overreacted" or "Sorry I yelled" or "That was unfair -- I drew the wrong conclusion." You're flawed, okay? What were you?  -- a straight-A-student?
10)  They're flawed.
We all are. Even windbags like me who might appear to think they know it all. I don't know .00004% of what I should, but that might be .00001% more than parents who spend their lives on auto-pilot. This gig's work. The one thing I do know is that you don't punch out at night for at least, like, twenty years.
Now, go forth and screw up as little as you can and forgive yourself for the rest.

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