I am not a parent. Not yet.
(Aren’t you glad I didn’t do a “not that I know of” joke? Those are never funny. Plus, I can tell by looking at a woman how fertile she is. I never went for those chicks.)
(Yes, that was a joke. Would be an awesome skill for a guy at twenty two, though. “I’m sorry Sally, I can’t take you to the Bijou tonight. You appear too fertile. I will instead accompany your roommate, Madeline. Good morrow!”)
One thing that I am noticing is that I believe I see parents my age trying to become their child’s best friend. There seems to be an over-emphasis on meeting a child’s needs. I observe parents stooping down to their son or daughter’s height level, looking them deep in the eye and reassuring them that they are loved, special, etc.
Now, inherently, this is a well-intentioned behavior. I wish there had been a bit more of that with me growing up. And I got plenty of attention, believe me.
But I never felt like my parents were my friends. I know that they are now. I see them at least once a month and we do a lot of fun activities together. It’s great. But as a child I would have never thought that my parents were my pals. I was usually afraid of them – afraid of doing something wrong to get in trouble.
I see people in my generation making a bigger fuss over their children that I believe was heaped upon us growing up. Here’s a hypothetical I was thinking about on the bike ride home today.
When my child turns six and wants the thermostat turned down because he’s warm, will I do it?
In other words, is my child’s physical comfort more important than my own? Now, I’m not talking in extremes here. I like it at 72 most of the year. That’s a standard room temperature in office buildings. Cool and comfortable. If he’s warm at 72, and wants it at 68, do I turn down the thermostat? Or do I tell him to screw off?
Growing up I thought electricity and gas were the most expensive commodities on the planet. I would complain about the house not being cold enough and I would get shamed. Plus, I just wasn’t allowed to touch the thermostat. If I bitched about it enough my mom might turn it down temporarily. But as soon as my father got home it was right back up.
I sort of feel that many parents that are my age would rush to adjust the temp to ensure their child’s comfort. Now, if the child is sick, or has a physical or mental disorder, I’m not talking about those situations. I mean just a regular hot Thursday, and your kid is yelling that he wants it four degrees cooler.
Shouldn’t our children be a little afraid of us? Some fear is a good thing, right? My parents loved me, but on weekend nights they often went to parties with their friends, and we were with a babysitter. That seemed right to me. They weren’t my friend. They were my folks.
Mothers and fathers, weigh in if you can. Do you generally see this in your parent circles, or do I not know what I’m talking about? Are parents today trying to hard too be their child’s friend? And, oh, when I become a parent, do I have to spend 17% of my week at Target? I think that’s the deal, right?