On the Inconvenience of Your Children’s Opinions

An estranged parents’ forum found an article on accepting feedback from your (underaged) kids. The article starts twee, then moves on to a genuine challenge:

In the fourth installment of our new CNN Digital Video series “Parent Acts,” we asked people to act out their shortcomings as parents and why it hurts so much when our kids point out those failings to us. We then had a parenting expert listen to their role play to weigh in with advice.

The result is a reflection on how to get past the stab of ego and use what your kids tell you to become a better parent. The failings listed by the parents in the article are ones many of the forum members have said they were guilty of: anger, yelling, inattention.

The estranged parents’ reaction?

This is why we can’t have nice things. Or nice kids.

Children need attention and nurturing and direction. AND respect for their parents. This whole “look what snowflake can teach you, you clueless parental imbecile” movement makes me want to wretch. Thank you media and experts!

When do they hold up the mirror to our EC to have them do a little role playing? I’d love to see their reaction (while they play a parent) to a child who behaves as they have.

The parents featured have young children. They are probably the same ages as some of our EC. Interesting isn’t it how under a microscope they are not nearly as perfect as they expected us to be?

And the crowning quote:

when we parents fail in the moment and find that anger has taken over, we can take a moment to step back and think about how we could have handled it better.You can say to your children, “Give me a few minutes so I can check myself,” said Fisher. “And then what … you’re teaching them (is) ‘Oh, it’s OK. I don’t have to fix this right now. I can step back.’ “

I’m going to re-write this in “[Her Name] Speak”:

“When we parents are dealing with obtuse whiny brats for the umpteenth time that day and find that they have chewed thru our final nerve, we can either take a moment to step toward the Chardonnay or over to said brats with palm up and out and in striking position of said brats’ hindquarters.

We can say to these miscreant misbehavers – Give me anymore crap and I will take you out and make another one who looks just like you!- And then what we are teaching them is the fear of God and respect (and fear of retribution and consequences of actions) and that it IS ok for moi, as the parent, not to put up with this crap right now. We can step back toward the wine….


A few notes:

Children need attention and nurturing and direction. AND respect for their parents.

Respect means never openly objecting to a parent’s behavior.

This whole “look what snowflake can teach you, you clueless parental imbecile” movement makes me want to wretch.

Radical misreading of everything except the first couple of paragraphs.

When do they hold up the mirror to our EC to have them do a little role playing?

“Oh, yeah? Well, if I have to do something unpleasant, they have to do something unpleasant.” That never worked when we got into a playground rumpus in third grade, but now that we’re all grown it’s totally legit.

I’d love to see their reaction (while they play a parent) to a child who behaves as they have.

Not only did I do the best I could with them, I did the best anyone could. They’re delusional if they think they can do better.

Interesting isn’t it how under a microscope they are not nearly as perfect as they expected us to be?

The fallacy of perfection: What they expected from us wasn’t just improvement, it was perfection. They think they can do better than us, which means they think they can be perfect. If they don’t succeed in being perfect, then they’ve failed completely, and they’ve failed as much as they say we failed.

I’m going to re-write this in “[Her Name] Speak”:

The idea that I should listen to my children is absurd and threatening. I must undermine it at length.

When we parents are dealing with obtuse whiny brats for the umpteenth time that day and find that they have chewed thru our final nerve,

Our behavior is justified. It’s the kids’ fault.

we can either take a moment to step toward the Chardonnay or over to said brats with palm up and out and in striking position of said brats’ hindquarters.

The two viable options are drinking and hitting. Taking time to process our behavior and think of a way that doesn’t involve either avoidance or threats paints us as weak.

And then what we are teaching them is the fear of God and respect (and fear of retribution and consequences of actions)

The parent is God. Fear is respect. Obedience is respect.

and that it IS ok for moi, as the parent, not to put up with this crap right now.

Double standards are respect. Your needs are crap. I don’t have to tend to your needs unless I feel like it.

We can step back toward the wine….

Good parenting is instilling fear in kids so they stop being so goddamned inconvenient. My chief failing as a parent is not teaching my children to be convenient enough. I compensate with fantasies in which I was even harder on them, which has the pleasant side effect of satisfying my need for retribution for their adulthood rejection of me.

I was serious about the only two options being avoidance or threats. In fact, after the threats I’ll need a little dose of avoidance to get through the day, so there’s really only one option: avoidance and threats.

Now that I’ve successfully ruled out other options via the Rule of Funny, we can all go back to congratulating ourselves for parenting either just right, or too nicely.

But damn, I wish our kids would tell us why they estranged from us.

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