I’m going out on a limb here and know this will step on some toes, but it’s my blog and my platform.
This is a vent as a momma who has been blessed with pretty amazing kids, but is dealing with and heading into the teen years. I’m sure you’ve seen or will see the facebook video of the dad reacting to his daughter’s ugly, curse word riddled facebook post to her parents. I probably wouldn’t have suggested that the dad make his punishment for his daughter public and I do disagree with him there. And I probably would have sold the laptop and kept the money. And I think shooting a hole through the laptop was a bit much. But otherwise, I commend his strong stand.
A lot of people have said that the girl wasn’t taught to properly express her feelings and that her parents obviously need to give her more attention so she feels properly validated.
OMG. Can I roll my eyes any harder?!
The people saying this must have been those “perfect” teens. While my parents truly were too strict sometimes, I don’t think it would have mattered how they chose to parent me. At 15-18 I felt I was pretty darn smart and could handle my life. All I wanted was for them to let me decide what to do when I wanted it and get off my case. I look back and realize just how immature and how I REALLY was unable to make educated, mature decisions all the time. My brain was physically not able to make those decisions because it wasn’t done growing. I didn’t always know when to just listen or when to say no. I did dumb things that were life threatening like driving down a country road at breakneck speeds. I said some really horrible things to my parents and other people in my life when I got upset and I did plenty of other idiotic things I won’t get into. Maybe I was rebelling, maybe I was just “stretching my wings”. Either way, it was wrong and I was disciplined for it. Looking back I respect them for giving me guidance and letting me know when I took things too far. Again, it wasn’t always rainbows and my siblings had it much easier, but that’s another story.
To those that think they need to treat their children as little adults and always let them express themselves, to the parents who are afraid of anything that might convey the idea of “consequences” or-gasp-”punishment”, good luck. If you have a kid that’s easy going and wants to please, it may work. I have a kid like that and parenting him is a breeze. I could probably count on my hands the times that child needed real discipline. He naturally wants to do what is right and is very mature. He wants to sit down and talk about what he should do and loves to communicate with us. He is very good at telling us how he feels. When we want to have him change a behavior, often all it takes it prompting him to think about it, and he knows what to do and works hard to do it.
I also have a harder to handle kid who tests everything, pushes every button and tries to see how far he can take things. He wears me out, makes me cry and makes me beyond proud all at once. And I have one in between with a stubborn streak a hundred miles long and yes, they have all been parented the same general way (with of course individual changes). If you happen to have a kid who was like me or my more challenging child, I can only say I wish you and your child the best should you take the validate-their-delicate-feelings-don’t-discipline-route. The bottom line is that they AREN’T little adults. They are children that have brains that aren’t able to make good decisions yet. I believe they rely on us to show them that some things are completely out of bounds and there are consequences when they deliberately disobey us.
One thing that has always bothered me about the parents that choose to not have punishments or hefty consequences or boundaries or whatever un-PC term you want to call it. How on earth does that teach them to be adults? As an adult they will likely work for someone or for a company. If they get angry at their boss and have a temper tantrum on facebook, or spout off to a co-worker or even to that boss, what’s going to happen when the boss finds out? Is he/she going to call them into their office and say “tell me how you really feel” or “I’m sorry that I haven’t made you feel like you were validated”. Nope, most likely they will be fired. There is real life, folks.
As I get older, I realize just fast the population of entitled, selfish and lazy people is growing. I have no doubt that the trend towards parents who are scared to discipline and teach difficult lessons has something to do with this.
By no means do I think parents need to be hardnosed or abusive. They need to set firm boundaries and speak with love when they explain why they need to punish the child. They should provide serious discipline when needed, but need do so with love. And, no, I don’t always get it right as a parent. Some of the most amazing, confident, well rounded adults I know are those who were punished (yes there is that awful word again-eyeroll), but were punished by parents who encouraged them to do good, kept an open communication line and always loved them.
It doesn’t seem wise to seek parenting advice from those who are my age or even a little older. Instead I look at the happy, well rounded, satisfied and successful adults that I know and ask them how they were raised or talk to their parents. Time and again, I find that these people were indeed held to a high standard by their parents and discipline was an integral part of how they were raised.
So, good luck to you all who think the dad wasn’t letting his daughter express her feelings or wasn’t validating her. I’ll check back with you in about in a few decades and we can chat about how our kids turned out.