Kids today are spoiled beyond the stinky, mildew laden, not even good enough for the dogs food. ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ seems to be the popular theme for today’s parents. At least that is my experience here in South Texas where every teenage girl must have at least one pair of $100+ jeans. Where parents buy their children brand new vehicles as their first car (I even know of a girl who received a new Land Rover as her first car! That’s almost $100,000!) Children demand certain clothing items from their parents, they demand to have the latest and greatest cell phone, iPod, iPad, you name it – they get it. Are we creating a society of lazy, irresponsible, indolent, narcissistic brats? For the sake of the future I hope parents in other locales do not mimic the actions of parents here.
There are exceptions in everything, of course. There are a few parents who I admire and respect. And while my husband and I are not perfect parents by any means, we do try to do things to assist our children in the transition to become responsible, capable adults. We want them to go into adult-hood knowing that nothing is free and if you really want something, you need to work for it to be able to fully appreciate it. We want them to be able to understand the cost and be able to evaluate needs from desires.
Our children were the last in their schools to get their own cell phones not because we couldn’t afford it but because we believed most elementary school children had no business with one. We wouldn’t get our children one until middle school when athletic events out of town necessitated it. Just this year our youngest child received his first cell phone while most of his friends were getting the latest iPhone. He keeps a good attitude and sense of humor about it though. After football practice while other kids were removing their iPhones from their backpacks and bragging about their new iPhone 4GS (or whatever version) Chance says, “Oh yeah? Well I’m gonna use my new iPhone FP!” All the boys think it’s a new version of iPhone that they haven’t heard of yet and gather around to see it while Chance pulls out his cheap model cell, opens it and says “FP – Flip Phone!” Even the coaches were laughing with him. One day when he left it home charging and he had to borrow a friend’s everyone asked, “Where’s your iPhone FP?”
I just found out during a lunchtime conversation with my two older teenagers that they are the only kids that have a curfew. Tara was talking about a large number of kids who didn’t get home until 6am because they stayed out late at parties after the Homecoming Dance. I asked, (stressing the first 2 words) “That many kids parents actually let them stay out that late?” Her older brother answers for her, “Yeah! Why do you think I never want to go to parties? I don’t want to be the only one who has to say, ‘It’s midnight, I gotta go home now because I have a curfew.” This baffles me. The only thing kids can do out between 12am and morning is to get into trouble and I voiced my opinion. Tara started to argue but once again Trent cut in, “Well, that’s kind of true. A lot of them have gotten MIP’s (minor in possession) tickets from the Police.” (Point goes to Mom, hu-ah!)
I don’t want my kids to go out into the world totally naive and innocent but when they start staying out all night long I want them to be mature enough to behave appropriately and I don’t think anyone under the age of 17 is that mature. Or smart enough to stay out of trouble.
Am I sheltering my children too much or protecting them? Do other parents consider this stuff or are they just scared to tell their children “No”?
Maybe we’re not doing our kids any favors by utilizing curfews and rules. But we are still going to go with the assumption that in the real world there are rules you have to follow (or you might go to jail) and times you have to be at work (or you get fired) and are trying to assist our children in growing into responsible, reliable, independent adults.
In another decade I’ll let you know how it worked out. lol.