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1 Floral Giraffe  Apr 4, 2011 3:40:35pm

Adults need to show a good example for the children.
Being their “best friend” isn’t setting an example, it’s pandering.

2 Bob Levin  Apr 4, 2011 3:47:42pm

Absolutely. Everyone has ten stories like this:

I was sitting, waiting for a haircut, and a mom comes in with three little kids. She asked about the waiting time, knowing her schedule. The kids didn’t even know that time exists. So….she puts it to a vote, and the kids vote to stay and wait.

She is now completely flummoxed. The vote did not go the way she wanted. So she stood there for a few moments, and then tried to persuade the kids to change their votes. They voted again, no change. Eventually, she said that they could not wait, and they left. 20 minutes.

3 Romantic Heretic  Apr 4, 2011 4:06:42pm

Um, $1,380 for a diaper bag?

Christ! That’s a month and a half of my disability!

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

4 Boondock St. Bender  Apr 4, 2011 4:08:48pm

re: #3 Romantic Heretic

costs a lot to keep up with the Jones’….
me personally,i don’t even like the Jones’….

5 Romantic Heretic  Apr 4, 2011 4:10:54pm

re: #1 Floral Giraffe

Adults need to show a good example for the children.
Being their “best friend” isn’t setting an example, it’s pandering.

On the other hand you should make it clear to your kids that you at least like them.

I grew up with a father who didn’t like me or any of my siblings. Kinda left scars, ya know?

6 Killgore Trout  Apr 4, 2011 4:15:37pm

I have been wondering what this next generation of kids is going to be like. Aside from the usual spoiled consumerism which has become a part of our culture for several generations now I’m noticing a new troubling parenting trend; Texting. Even the good parents in my neighborhood just ignore their children. As they stroll their kids around or sit with them on the lawn, the parents are constantly glued to their cell phones and completely ignoring the kids. Maybe it’s just me but I think it’s kinda shitty.

7 theheat  Apr 4, 2011 4:34:51pm
“I mean no disrespect, but you’re a c-word douchebag. You’re a c-word douchebag now, and you’ve always been a c-word douchebag. And the only thing that’s going to change is that you’re going to be an even bigger c-word douchebag. Maybe have some more c-word douchebag kids.” - In Bruges

Edited for more offensive grammar, but you get the gist.

Douchey people encouraging douchiness in their children. (Perfect illustration would be one of my SILs.) When they come visit it’s Monkey Hour at the Heat household. [shudders]

8 _RememberTonyC  Apr 4, 2011 4:38:28pm

I have a 20 year old and an 18 year old … Both are boys. We live in a fairly upscale town where we are probably somewhere in the middle of the economic food chain. My wife and me taught the kids at an early age that they would get what they need but not always what they WANT. This led them to learn the difference between NEEDING something and WANTING something. They both wanted to work when they became 16 because some of the things they wanted were only going to happen if THEY made it happen. I am very proud of the kids and feel that they will NEVER be douche bags.

9 Bob Levin  Apr 4, 2011 5:27:00pm

Basically, from day one, help them to be the kind of adults you want to be with. And, given what Romantic Heretic said, keep in mind that your kids will choose your assisted living facility.

10 Michael Orion Powell  Apr 4, 2011 5:33:42pm

“Over and over, I see parents who try to be their kids’ best friends,” he says. “That’s a flashing red light. Our kids don’t need to be our buddies. They can like us when they’re 30. Mostly what kids want is for a parent to be in charge.”

This is really critical, but the article might not be going quite where it needs to go.

It seems like Baby Boomers and later generations want to be “different” sorts of parents and that route is inherently bad. It rejects thousands of years of know how into how children behave in order to embrace a fantasy. You end up with boys with no structure and girls who fixate on a media version of womanhood instead of one inherited from their parents.

11 Floral Giraffe  Apr 4, 2011 6:21:09pm

re: #9 Bob Levin

LOL!
Having given “end of life care” decisions on elders so far, I know that I do make the best decisions that I can. I have to weigh money, comfort and privacy. I am PROUD of the job I have done, is it perfect? No, but it’s the best that I can do.

12 researchok  Apr 4, 2011 6:21:19pm

The other real issue is how this kind of behavior blows over into the schools.

Teachers have to put up with out of control students and parents who complain if their little Lord or Lady Fauntleroy get graded as average or worse.

Their children are exceptional, you see. Just like they are.

13 CuriousLurker  Apr 4, 2011 6:43:09pm

Great responses, everyone—thanks.

One of the things I’ve always loved about graphic design is how you can have one concept given to 2 or 20 or 200 designers, and you’ll get the same number of unique interpretations back. The best & strongest designs stay with you—they resonate, they become part of you because you carry them with you going forward.

The same is true with ideas & opinions here. I’m constantly running into new perspectives at LGF, and whether I agree with them or not, the best & strongest opinions resonate and stay with me in the same way.

Can y’all tell I was hanging out with my artsy-fartsy, touchy-feely, warm & fuzzy designer pals all weekend? Try not to hurl, okay? LOL

14 Bob Levin  Apr 4, 2011 7:05:14pm

re: #10 OrionXP

For years I waged a personal war against Barbie.

15 Bob Levin  Apr 4, 2011 7:10:57pm

re: #10 OrionXP

I’m a Baby Boomer, and I’m convinced we are the dumbest generation ever to walk the face of the earth, which is strange because or parents were something else. They spent their time looking a human faces, with all human qualities. We looked at a lit up glass box.

Of course, they bought us the box.

16 Merkin  Apr 4, 2011 7:25:12pm

I think that you have to behave like the adults you want your kids to grow up to be. This maybe what people find hard about raising kids. They force you to grow up.

17 Romantic Heretic  Apr 5, 2011 6:38:12am

Best advice I ever heard on raising kids? Heinlein.

Keep your kids long on hugs and short on pocket money.

18 calochortus  Apr 5, 2011 8:32:48am

On the other hand, I’ve been hearing this “parenting going to hell in a handbasket” stuff for the 3 decades I’ve been paying attention. There are still plenty of good, solid families out there. You just don’t really see them, because they’re just living their lives and letting other people worry about the Joneses.

I always figured I was more of a snob than the helicopter parents. My kids are superior, so I don’t have to constantly intervene for them. ;-) I’m always here if they need me, and occasionally had to get involved in some issue if they were out of their depth, but by and large they’ve done fine.

19 Laughing Gas  Apr 5, 2011 8:39:37am

Threads like these always bring out the inner authoritarian in all of us.

20 HappyWarrior  Apr 5, 2011 8:41:24am

It’s interesting to see my parents raise my brother who is fourteen years younger than me. I think they try for a balance. My mom being a better “bad cop” than dad is. I am not totally against parents being friends to their kids since I think total coldness can be tough for a kid especially one whom is more sensitive. I think observing and knowing what I know about my mother’s childhood, I think her parents were much more colder to her and her brother than my dad’s parents were to him and his brothers and sisters. My dad’s mom lost her mother at a young age so I guess she felt the need to be really warm to her children since she had barely known her own. I love my other grandmother but my mom’s dad was a lot more warm to me and my brothers despite the fact that we were three of many grandchildren rather than her only three in the case of my mom’s mother. THe most important thing I think parents can do for their children is to listen.

21 Mostly sane, most of the time.  Apr 5, 2011 8:50:05am

I have been informed by my daughter that I have become a “Guard Mom.”

I’m trying to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

(Colorguard. There is one guard Dad. There’s also one Drumline Dad and a number of Drumline Moms & Dads.)

22 Laughing Gas  Apr 5, 2011 8:54:20am

One interesting factoid is that many politicians and media figures who behave in a boorish, bratty manner, like Newt Gingrich and Bill O’Reilly, grew up in homes with strict, emotionally unavailable fathers. O’Reilly, certainly, does not know how to behave in a civil manner, and that’s why his ratings are so high. If you treat your kids nicely, they should turn out OK. You should emphasize civility and politeness. One doesn’t have to parent like they’re running North Korea.

23 Mostly sane, most of the time.  Apr 5, 2011 8:58:10am

re: #22 Juice

One interesting factoid is that many politicians and media figures who behave in a boorish, bratty manner, like Newt Gingrich and Bill O’Reilly, grew up in homes with strict, emotionally unavailable fathers. O’Reilly, certainly, does not know how to behave in a civil manner, and that’s why his ratings are so high. If you treat your kids nicely, they should turn out OK. You should emphasize civility and politeness. One doesn’t have to parent like they’re running North Korea.


No, but rules really really really need to exist and be enforced. If you imagine a grid, with the x-axis being love, and the y-axis being structure and discipline, kids can survive being a high positive on the structure and discipline as long as they are also a high positive on the love end.

Also, you should never give a thing in place of your attention.

24 First As Tragedy, Then As Farce  Apr 5, 2011 9:23:17am

re: #22 Juice

One interesting factoid is that many politicians and media figures who behave in a boorish, bratty manner, like Newt Gingrich and Bill O’Reilly, grew up in homes with strict, emotionally unavailable fathers. O’Reilly, certainly, does not know how to behave in a civil manner, and that’s why his ratings are so high. If you treat your kids nicely, they should turn out OK. You should emphasize civility and politeness. One doesn’t have to parent like they’re running North Korea.

Consider:
amazon.com

On the parenting like it’s North Korea point, if you ever happen to have a spare kid lying around and you’d like to see if you could turn him into a borderline sociopath with Stockholm Syndrome, read James Dobbson’s parenting books, and put his advice into practice.

25 CuriousLurker  Apr 5, 2011 9:27:47am

re: #23 EmmmieG

No, but rules really really really need to exist and be enforced. If you imagine a grid, with the x-axis being love, and the y-axis being structure and discipline, kids can survive being a high positive on the structure and discipline as long as they are also a high positive on the love end.

Also, you should never give a thing in place of your attention.

Quoted for truth. “Not being a friend” doesn’t imply one should be a cold, uncaring tyrant, it means showing respect (on both sides), providing structure & hierarchy, and dispensing discipline with love. At least that’s how I was raised and how I raised my son.

Whenever I complained about rules my dad would say, “I said NO. This isn’t a democracy, it’s a dictatorship.” Heh. But I never felt unloved and, looking back, he was never unfair (though I’m sure I felt otherwise at the time).

26 Bob Dillon  Apr 5, 2011 9:38:06am

re: #8 _RememberTonyC

An analogy: They chose their path and (should by now) know how to sweep it. If a boulder blocks their way and they need some help and wisdom - ask for it.

27 calochortus  Apr 5, 2011 9:45:18am

My kids have any number of friends, they only have one mom and one dad. I never aspired to be their friend since “Mom” is a much better, more exclusive job.

28 dallasdoc  Apr 5, 2011 10:00:34am

a properly run family is the right combination of tyranny and anarchy with no democracy. (Robert Heilein)
my father was not my friend; he was my dad. we enjoyed our times together but he was the senior, the guide, the teacher. i tried to be the same with my children. now… grandchildren are different. my mother was allowed to spoil my children and i will do the same for my grandchildren

29 Lord Of The Pies  Apr 5, 2011 10:09:27am

When I go to the salon to get my nails done, I see the hipster mom with her 5-6-7 year old princess and they are both getting full manicures and pedicures and I think to myself, “what kind of a horrible mother spoils her child like that!” and then I think to myself, “I can’t wait to come here with my granddaughter!”

30 Prononymous, rogue demon hunter  Apr 5, 2011 11:19:52am

I have to run, but I wanted to put a few thoughts down and I’ll be back later to discuss.

I agree with the bit about raising douchebags by being overprotective. Growing up is a process. While parents can impart some knowledge directly, other things will need to be discovered for oneself. Pain, for example, is a powerful motivator (that’s what it is there for, after all) that can instill life lessons in seconds. I don’t remember when my parents started telling me fire is hot and to be careful, but I do remember my first major burn. Keeping children “safe” by limiting their activities strips them of some of the most valuable early life lessons, IMO.

I liked this short TED talk about the subject: http://www.ted.com/talks/gever_tulley_on_5_dangerous_things_for_kids.html

As for parents being in charge, I may have a somewhat different perspective than most. I was raised by hippies, so that might have something to do with it. My parents didn’t impose much structure on me. I was free to find the limits on my own. They were clearly in charge, and they would punish me if I stepped across certain indicated boundaries. But most physical/social boundaries were left for me to find.

I’m not really sure where I stand on this point, my thoughts are still evolving. But I feel that the rigid family structure is a form of moral overprotection similar to the physical overprotection mentioned already. There are some moral issues that we should impart our kids. But, IMO, learning that you will sometimes be/do wrong and how to handle it gracefully is just as valuable a life lesson as as fire=hot.

31 Mostly sane, most of the time.  Apr 5, 2011 4:28:39pm

re: #29 Alouette

When I go to the salon to get my nails done, I see the hipster mom with her 5-6-7 year old princess and they are both getting full manicures and pedicures and I think to myself, “what kind of a horrible mother spoils her child like that!” and then I think to myself, “I can’t wait to come here with my granddaughter!”

My niece who alway wanted a sister, and got 5 Flying Monkeys (their mother’s name for them) or Wrecking Ball Monkeys On Crack (my daughter’s name for them), came to a family reunion with a car full of hot rollers, make-up, old prom dresses, and ribbons.

It was girl cousin princess dress up day.

They locked themselves in one of the hotel rooms and didn’t let us see until they were ready.


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