Friday, November 30, 2012

Crazy Parenting Top Ten List

Photo: Milwaukee Art Museum, Glass Work by Dale Chihuli


I work with parents a lot.  I speak to all kinds of parents.  There are a lot of mixed up parents out there that don't understand how profoundly their actions affect their children.  I have compiled a list of some of the crazy parenting ideas I have come across recently:

  • Parents who pay a personal trainer to exercise their elementary school age child, because the child only likes to play video games and never ventures outside.

  • Parents who pay their children for grades.

  • Parents who leave teenage children alone for weekends away, thinking that everything will be fine.

  • Parents who struggle financially, but equip their children with I-Phones, designer jeans, expensive footwear and anything else that the child feels the need to request.

  • Parents who fail to teach their children the first thing about how to clean a bathroom, empty trash, fill the dishwasher or perform any other domestic duty.

  • Married parents who make no attempt to keep the "spark" alive in their marriage because they are too consumed with everything to do with their kids.  Note to these parents: the children will grow up and leave and you will be left with a withered relationship.

  • Parents who forget to teach their children any manners.  Please and thank you are not out dated, and a child who constantly interrupts adult conversation is annoying.

  • Parents who sign their child up for multiple traveling sports playing in the same season.  This is not fair to the child, the teammates of the child, or to your family-- and results in exhaustion and frustration.

  • Parents who give unfettered access to media because they are too lazy to monitor their children.  It usually starts innocently with a TV in the bedroom for a toddler, but somehow the day never comes to remove the TV and the child is able to watch whatever he or she wants in the formative years of development.

  • Parents who still use physical violence to control their children.  Hitting, punching, slapping a child in anger is never okay.  It is using your physical domination to control the child, and consequently teaches the child that violence is the way to control others.  I know many parents who defend spanking and that is not what I mean here.  But I don't agree with spanking either.  That will have to wait for another post on another day.

Parenting is a difficult and exhausting job.  I know that it can take a lot of energy to make changes and become a better parent.  No parent is perfect, but a parent who is willing to try to improve is doing a great thing for their child, as better parenting will contribute the future success of your child.  And that is a very valuable outcome!  If you see yourself reflected in any of the craziness above, take some time to reflect on what you can do to carve a better path.  And just take one small step at a time on the road to becoming a better parent.

I welcome your comments and additions to the crazy list!

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