If you look up endangered species, you might see a picture of a Siberian tiger. But one day soon, I am convinced you will see a picture of parents right beside it. There will still be tons of moms and dads — just no parents.
In fact, we may need telethons and bake sales to save the endangered parents (and maybe the San Diego Zoo will take them and help them repopulate!).
Let me tell you why: I was watching a reality show the other night and was mortified that this young woman heading off to college had no clue how to do her laundry. Her parents never taught her. There was her mother, in utter disbelief and panic about what her daughter was going to do about laundry. She had to tell her that there was no laundry fairy.
I took my shock to Twitter and of course, there were many other moms also watching in disbelief. However, what came next shocked me much more. Mothers and some fathers from all over started tweeting about the chores they make their kids do, and in the same breath were apologizing for it. Not in so many words, but with tongue-in-cheek comments, like “I know I’m a warden” or “I run a tight ship.”
If you ask me, that’s not being a warden or running a tight ship. That’s parenting.
There’s a parenting trend on the rise that has absolutely nothing to do with parenting. It’s like Facebook has taken over peoples’ minds and now it’s all about Friending. There is a fundamental, functional role of a parent that is being neglected: keep them happy, healthy, and send them off into the world with all the tools they need to be independent and successful.
It seems the main focus of some parents is to ensure their child has the best cell phone, the most toys, the biggest parties, and the coolest boots. These parents want to be their kids’ best friends. They never say no and never teach consequences or deny their children anything.
These parents do their kids’ homework and blame teachers for everything and anything their children do. They end up raising spoiled kids, with entitlement issues that will affect them for their rest of their lives and mess with any and every relationship they will ever have.
There’s a great article called, “Your Child is Not your Friend.” It’s a must-read.
As for me, I’m not the best parent in the whole wide world. I believe in kids having chores, getting jobs, earning money as well as respect, for themselves and others. I believe in teaching right from wrong and that your actions have consequences. I believe in fun and love and making memories. I believe in raising good humans.
I was watching TV the other night and was blown away by one simple line on Grey’s Anatomy: “Stop being afraid of your kid.”
I love a good primetime drama.
Dee Brun is the award-winning author of Libations of Life: A Girl’s Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, a cocktail chef and stylist, TV personality, home entertaining guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, and borderline George Clooney stalker. Read her column, Isn’t it Deelightful, every Friday on Slice.ca.