March 25, 2008

To all the "Me" Parents

I think it's really odd how people nowadays expect other people to raise their kids. I don't just mean these well to do, just have to have a working life mothers and fathers that hire nannies, the idea of having kids only to have a nanny raise them has always seemed a bit odd to me. I'm also talking about the people who expect Dr. Phil, Oprah and that silly British nanny show to raise their kids.
It's not that people directly have these people come over and raise their children. It's the way in which they take whatever Dr. Phil, Oprah, etc. said this week about parenting and immediately go and start doing it. It's like most people have completely lost the natural ability to raise kids on their own; setting rules, making boundaries, doing chores, etc.
Long before the invention of the television, radio, and Internet people all over the world raised their kids. So, why do we suddenly need the intervention of these things to guide us? Have we become such a scatter brained society that we have, in fact, lost the ability to be a parent? I would say, from my point of view, the answer to that is "No".
I'm a parent, not always a perfect one mind you, but I have the basic idea of what goes into raising my kids. I think a lot of the problem in this era is our inability to truly take the time to raise our kids, the inability to listen to our kids, a complete lack of respect on both ends and a me, me, me hive mind thing going on.
Dr. Phil tells you not only how to raise your kids, but also that "Self-Matters". I think personally, from watching my own parents, that I know when to draw the line between me and my kids. They need personal space, I need personal space and I need time with them, the need time with me. Simple concept, isn't it? Maybe not always, but that general idea works 99 percent of the time.
Now I'm not stating that parenting is that simple, it's not supposed to be. Anyone who has kids knows, or should now, that it's not that simple. But you can take simple steps towards becoming a better parent. Turn off "Dancing with the Stars" and put in a Disney movie, watch it with your kids and see how much more reactive they are when you're there with them, as opposed to when they watch the very same movie by themselves. Have them help you cook a couple nights a week, it's not only "special time", it's also a learning experience for them. And, even in those moments when it doesn't seem like they're listening to a word you say or watching what you do, think back, even if they're not taking it in directly, they're taking it in sub-consciously.
I've posted before about these special moments with your kids, if you haven't read it, just browse through it. I may not be Dr. Phil or Oprah, but I'm a parent and, just like any other parent, I want my kids to be happy and lead good lives.
So, to all you single parents, married couples, teenagers just starting out in the parenting world and UN-married parents; do the best you can when you can, don't ever give up on your kids and believe in yourself as a parent. Those three basic things are a great foundation for being the parent your child/children need.