One thing no one really tells you about being a parent is that there is no sympathy for a dented ego when you find that you’re not as influential over your kids as you wish you were. I see parents feeling sorry for their kids to the point of condoning behaviour that will only harm their kids later in life, but they persist nonetheless. In fact, many are celebrated for it and endowed with accolades for being selfless. Selfless, I kid you not!
Really? Is it truly being selfless when you protect yourself from feeling bad because you had to set unpopular boundaries with your kids? Or is it more selfless to set the boundaries in spite of knowing that you will be unpopular with your kids? Given the huge divorce rates these days, of which I have contributed more than my fair share (shut up!), single parenting is ever more common. Take the above pitiful cycle and apply that to a single parent, and suddenly the problem is more than twice as large.
Being a single parent has its perks. There is no debate about who’s turn it is to discipline or check up on the kids. Or whose opinion is more correct in deciding how to teach the kids important lessons. There’s also the comfort of knowing that you’re not going to be let down by a partner that doesn’t pull their weight or leaves all the unpleasant tasks for you.
And then there’s the not so perky things about being a single parent. There is no one to debate with about who’s turn it is to discipline the kids. It’s always your turn. Deciding on how to teach them important lessons is between you and Google, if you dare. And there’s no one to blame when you drop the ball about something that needed to get done.
Of course, it could be worse. Worse than this is having a partner but still being a single parent, and there are many of those relationships around. The kind where the one parent refuses to do anything that would make them unpopular with their kids, while the other does the tough jobs that raises their kids into responsible adults. Then there are partners that want to protect their kids from reality so that they don’t experience the character building events that the parent experienced as a child, and later wonder why their kids grow up entitled and ungrateful.
The list of dysfunctional permutations goes on and on and on, but the pity is always the same. The pity that drives the self loathing that encourages kids to want to like their parents, instead of respecting them. The same pity that drives the kids to be well mannered but unappreciative, or polite but disrespectful. These contradictions in character traits hint at the underlying conflict that plague adults later in life when their childhood was spent being protected from principles because their parents were afraid of being unpopular.
More important than all of this though, is that when that dented ego of the unpopular parent nags at the conscience to ease up and accept that some things cannot be changed, it is in fact a sign that the parent’s work is not done. Instilling a sense of gratitude and respect, sincerity and authenticity, and a healthy self esteem is exactly what parents are responsible for imparting to their children. Not having those attributes as adults makes for very inept parents (and that’s being really polite about it).
The unpopular choice is most often the right one when it comes to parenting, but new age liberals will have us believe that children have a right to participate in the important decisions of their upbringing. That’s like saying that children have enough life experience to be able to have an informed opinion about why they need to learn a lesson that they refused to accept as a responsibility in the first place. It’s one thing explaining the rationale to a child, but entirely something else when seeking approval from the child for that rationale.
The world is screwed up because we have incomplete adults raising children to be big babies in adult bodies. We don’t have a problem with millennials, we have a problem with the parents of millennials, but everyone is so focused on the millennials and blaming them for how they turned out that we forget that millennials did not raise themselves.
Going through life feeling sorry for yourself robs you of a fulfilling life, and robs the next generation of desperately needed wholesome role models to learn from and look up to. Pity should be reserved for those that we believe are incapable of being better than who they are. When we believe that to be true about others, it confirms that we have achieved a state of smug arrogance while being a social liability. There is no age limit to being able to improve your current state. From children to great grandparents, being better than who you were the day before should be ingrained in our being. It can only become ingrained if it is the means by which we are raised from our earliest years, to the expectations that others have of us into our latter years.
No exceptions. Any exceptions are reserved for those that are physically incapable of understanding the concept to begin with. Everyone else needs to step up and leave their pity party in the bathroom, where it belongs. A pity party is never appropriate for more than a party of one. Too many adults looking for sympathy and recognition of their valiant struggles at being adults simply don’t get this. And that is why those of us that do will always have to pick up the slack for the majority that don’t.
Parenting is not for wimps or self indulgent fools. But unfortunately even rats can make babies.