Feeling a bit like Dear Old Abby this week on account of I got an email from a mother in town what’s got some concerns about her kids.
The mom said she’s frustrated and trying to raise her teens right, but she keeps running up against her kids wanting to do stuff on account of their friends get to do it.
Here’s some of what she wrote to me:
“Every time you try and tell them no — that’s not allowed — you’re too young, or it’s not proper for your age, they respond with everyone else can, why can’t I? I know there is some exaggeration there, but I’ve seen it so many times.
“Are parents too busy with their own lives to care what their kids are doing? Are they afraid to tell them no? Or is it they don’t care? Whatever happened to morals and self-respect?”
I don’t get a lot of emails, but when I do I try to answer them here when I can. I’m no expert in raising kids even though I raised a boy and girl of my own and they turned out to be OK. But they were a pain in the backyard when they was growing up. They’d want to do this and that because their friend was doing this and that. We’d say no, and they’d get mad. And they’d say it wasn’t fair on account of their friends could do it. So I’d say, “If your friend jumps off the roof are you gonna have to do it too?” Then I’d realize that’s what my mom would always say to me when I’d tell her that it wasn’t fair that I couldn’t do something my friends could do.
That probably isn’t much help to you, but the point is you are not going through anything I didn’t go through raising my kids or my parents raising Oscar and me. My folks said no all the time because they wanted us to be raised up right and the missus and I (mostly I with my daughter) said no because I wanted the kids to be raised up right. Kids fussed about it, and I did too when I was a teenager. But I loved my folks, and our kids love us.
Stick to your guns, but ask yourself if there’s some stuff that maybe is just a little different today than when you grew up. I’m not talking some of the issues in your email that I didn’t print here, but if we compared notes, you probably got to do stuff I didn’t because as each generation passes the times change.
I’m no advice expert but maybe sit down with your kids and have a good old talk with them about what your concerns are.
As to other parents and how they raise their kids — well, there’s just nothing you can do to control what other parents do. Maybe some parents want to be their kids’ friend more than their parent. I think you can be a bit of both, but you got to be a mom first, and sometimes that means not being too popular with your kids. But explain to them why you feel the way you do.