What would G-mom do?

WHAT WOULD G-MOM DO?

What Would G-Mom (Grand-mom) do?Every generation has had to deal with whining kids but I believe my generation is the first one that has had to deal with an epidemic of whining parents. My friends and I often marvel at how there seems to be fewer parents with basic common sense. For mine, I thank my grand-mom: loving and funny but with a strong sense of right and wrong. I wanted to be G-mom when I grew up.

Forget birthdays and Christmas, our kids get the newest cell phones, walking around money, e-readers and $200 sneakers just because. No, we are not wealthier, we are just better at getting into debt than any generation in history. “Make love not war” was our parents’ slogan, ours is “I want it now”. Our kids are raised for the most part by daycare workers and teachers. It’s OK though, because we were fed studies that showed it was “quality not quantity time” that mattered. Throw in the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and we felt even better. This selfishness, absence and guilt, made it difficult for us to say no to our kids. We ‘helicopter parent’, giving attention to, and worrying about, the wrong things. Robbing our children of the opportunity to build character in order to ease our own insecurities and embarrassment for not being there when they really need us.

Nope, I’m not a behavioral scientist. I’m in it. I live it. I’m a parent, surrounded by parents. I’ve listened as coaches, daycare assistants and teachers admit that in the last decade there has been a huge shift. It has become harder to deal with the parents than the kids! From bullying to incomplete homework, many parents don’t want to hear it and instead turn against the very “village” they asked to help raise them.

G-mom lesson #7: Parenting is hard. It requires a ‘village’ and almost all of your time.

My kids have been victims of theft, vandalism, bullying and lying. None of these things are new, kids are kids after all. What is different is how parents parent. It should concern all of us, no matter what generation we are from. That all those cute kids who have tantrums and get their way, who learn to lie and steal and get away with it, who have poor social skills, who are never told no, who learn that their parents will never let them get into any trouble, who don’t understand compassion, who are sheltered from experiencing valuable life lessons are growing up to be part of the next generation.

G-mom lesson #168: Children do bad things and test their boundaries, it’s OK -it’s normal. It doesn’t make your child bad or you a bad parent. What IS bad is when you don’t deal with it.

In April there was a brutal fight between two high school boys at Westwood Senior High School. I was pleased to learn that the school faculty was treating this as a serious incident. Ordering students who were present and did not inform a teacher or videotaped the fight on their cell phones, to attend a YMCA workshop and 4 hours of community service. What sickened me (and angered G-mom) was that some of these parents were whining about their child’s rights and claiming that what the school was doing was unfair.

Unfair? What is actually unfair is that a child almost lost an eye and needed surgery that day. Would it really be so terrible for these teens to reflect upon their actions or inactions? To learn that there are consequences in life? Wouldn’t a few hours of community service contribute a little to their maturity and growth? G-mom seems to think so.

G-mom lesson #348: Kids actually secretly crave discipline and routine, it makes them feel safe and loved.

I once had a temp job where my employer commented that my kids were “needy”. Which I thought was odd since he had never met them, nor did they ever call me at work. But the truth was that it was me who had made the decision that they needed ME, the parent, to be around. I may not leave behind a legacy of fame, fortune or solve world hunger but because of G-mom, I know that there is no more important job for me right now than making sure I send decent human beings out in the world.

Julie Cadieux – The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – Wednesday June 20th, 2012

Julie Cadieux - Reporter for The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette

——————————————————

*Note: The above published article is the edited down (700+ words) version of this original one, below (1200+ words):

WHAT WOULD G-MOM DO?

 Every generation has had to deal with whining kids but I believe my generation is the first one that has had to deal with an epidemic of whining parents.

My generation was raised by the ‘baby boomers’, and they were raised by parents who didn’t have much but knew how to work hard, make a good life for their families and live by a strict moral code. The world was changing fast for the 70 million boomers growing up across north America and they used their power in numbers to form their own culture. Instilled with their parents values but all the while rebelling against it; Fashion, music, protesting war and pushing for women’s rights and racial equality. They also grew up to be more educated, had more time and more money than their parents to indulge in a lifestyle that their parents and grandparents never dreamed of. In turn, my generation grew up spoiled and with a sense of entitlement, enjoying the culture that our parents helped create but never really learning the value of having to fight for anything -and then we had kids.

My friends and I often marvel at how there seems to be fewer and fewer parents with basic common sense. For mine, I thank my grand-mother. She is loving and funny but also firm and grounded with a strong sense of right and wrong, never complains or wallows in self-pity. I wanted to be G-mom when I grew up.

Most families today need to have both parents working full time to support the lifestyle we grew accustomed to and then some. Forget birthdays and Christmas, our kids get the newest cell phones, walking around money, laptops, video games, e-readers and $200 sneakers just because. No, we are not wealthier, we are just better at getting into debt than any generation in history. “Make love not war” was our parents slogan, ours is “I want it now”. We are adults with the same self-control as 4 year olds. Our kids are raised for the most part by daycare workers and teachers. It’s OK though, because we were fed studies that showed it was “quality not quantity time” that mattered. Throw in the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and we felt even better. This selfishness, absence and guilt, made it difficult for us to say “no” to our kids or reprimand them. So when it comes to parenting we ‘helicopter parent’, giving attention to and worrying about, the wrong things. Robbing our children of the opportunity to build character in order to ease our own insecurities and embarrassment for being weak when they really need us.

Nope, I’m not a behavioural scientist. I’m in it. I live it. I’m a parent, surrounded by parents. I’ve listened as coaches, daycare assistants, camp counsellors and teachers admit that in the last decade there has been a huge shift. It has become harder to deal with the parents than the kids! Anything from bullying to incomplete homework, many parents don’t want to hear it and instead turn against the very “village” they asked to help raise them.

 G-mom lesson #7: Parenting is hard. It requires a ‘village’ and almost all of your time.

My kids have been victims of theft, vandalism, bullying and lying. None of these things are new, kids are kids after all. What is different is how parents parent. It’s shocking the amount of stuff we’ve had stolen over the years: “Don’t these parents ever wonder where the ‘new’ stuff comes from?” asked G-mom. And what about the mom whose daughter was bullying mine? After several weeks of issues I finally called to calmly inform her that her daughter was singing gory songs at school about my child being killed. Instead of shock followed by a promise to discuss it with her child, which I had anticipated, she went off into a fierce 7 minute denial about how her daughter is a good girl who likes to read books, doesn’t watch television and excels at school.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t been on the other end: I struggle, I don’t have all the answers and I’m not a perfect mom. Nor are my children angels, but I do know you shouldn’t ignore bad behaviour.

G-mom lesson #168: Children do bad things and test their boundaries, it’s ok -it’s normal. It doesn’t make your child bad or you a bad parent. What IS bad is when you don’t deal with it.

An acquaintance was recently complaining about how the high school had called her (again) about her son’s lack of respect, cursing at the teacher and not showing up for detention “I told them to stop calling me, it’s almost summer, what do they want me to do? He won’t listen to me and anyways that teacher is terrible, he struggles in that class” She said. G-mom would say that she should drag him to detention and spend time helping him with school work and learning to deal with the teacher. “If he can’t handle a teacher how’s he gonna deal with a tough boss?”.

It should concern all of us, no matter what generation we are from. That all those cute kids who have tantrums and get their way, who learn to lie and steal and get away with it, who have poor social skills, who are never told no, who learn that their parents will never let them get into any trouble, who don’t understand compassion, who are sheltered from experiencing valuable life lessons are growing up to be part of the next generation.

 G-mom lesson #29: Sometimes your kids won’t like you but they really want and need you around -especially when they act like they don’t.

In April there was a brutal fight between two high school boys at our local public high school. I was pleased to learn that the school faculty was treating this as a serious incident. Ordering students who were present and did not inform a teacher or call 911 and videotaped the fight on their cell phones, to attend a YMCA civics workshop and 4 hours of community service or else receive a one-day suspension. What sickened me and angered G-mom was that some of these parents were whining and moaning about their child’s rights and claiming that what the school was doing was unfair.

Unfair? What is actually unfair is that a child almost lost an eye and needed surgery that day. Would it really be so terrible for these teens to reflect upon their actions or in-actions? To learn that there are consequences in life? Wouldn’t a few hours of community service contribute a little to their maturity and growth? G-mom seems to think so.

G-mom lesson #348: Kids actually secretly crave discipline and routine, it makes them feel safe and loved.

 I once had a temp job where my employer commented that my kids were “needy”. Which I thought was odd since he had never met them, nor did they ever call me at work. But the truth was that it was me who had made the decision that they needed ME, the parent, to be around. I may not leave behind a legacy of fame, fortune or solve world hunger but because of G-mom, I know that there is no more important job for me right now than making sure I send decent human beings out in the world.

By Julie Cadieux / June 18, 2012

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