Thursday, May 10, 2012

Parenting for Dummies

Am I the “World’s Best Parent”?  Heck no!  But, I believe I have enough common sense to be among the top 10 percent or so.  At the very least, I am not in the bottom ten percent.  Comforting, I know.

The old adage that “anyone can make a baby, but not everyone can be a parent” is absolutely true.  I have seen some awful parenting over the years – and I have only been a parent myself for 12 years now.  Those of you who have been parents much longer have seen far worse that I have in my dozen years as a dad.

Recently, my wife and I went to see the movie The Grey, starring Liam Neeson.  I didn’t realize it until we were seated in the theater, but the movie is rated R.  As the previews were beginning to roll, I saw a young dad bring in his son, who looked to be about five years old.  They sat on the front row.  At almost the same time, I looked to my left, and saw a mom and dad being seated with their son, who may have been ten years old.  I just shook my head.  

Finally, just as the movie was beginning, two young couples (reeking of cigarette smoke – that is another topic for another day) slithered into the row in front of us.  One of the couples had their daughter with them, and she was maybe four or five years old.  I felt SO uncomfortable knowing that this little girl was going to be subjected to this movie – and I hadn’t even seen the movie yet!  The parents likely didn’t want to get a baby-sitter, and thought it was “wise” to bring the daughter on their gore-and-profanity-laced double-date.

Without giving away anything in the movie, there are brutal sequences of blood and violence.  Wolves are attaching the survivors of a plane crash, and it’s not a pretty site.  Further, the dialogue between the men is enough to make anyone blush.  Some of it is humorous, but some of it is also too vulgar for 30-somethings to hear, much less preschoolers.  It was difficult at times concentrating on the movie, when these idiot parents had their young children sitting in the theater.

Irresponsible parents are everywhere.  It’s more frightening than the hundreds of people who are texting and driving all around you on the roads.  These “adults” are making poor decisions that also personally affect the hearts and minds of their very own children.  It shouldn’t be a shock that many kids parent themselves these days.  They’ve never been introduced to any guardrails in their lives to keep them on the right track.  And, whether you agree or not, kids need boundaries.  Further still, they WANT boundaries!

My wife and I have a rule about movies.  Our kids – ages 11 and 7 – do NOT ever see R-rated movies.  Sometimes, we will allow them to see PG-13 movies, but only when we have seen them first, or if we have investigated them enough to know there is no sex, very mild language, and no drug use.  For example, they can see the Harry Potter movies with us, or Pirates of the Caribbean-type movies.  But, we are still very selective of the PG-13 movies.

Dumb parenting decisions are unfortunately not limited to the movie theaters.  Parents allow their kids to have entirely too many privileges without the child having to earn any of them.  Many parents also choose to “respect their kids’ privacy” by not sticking their nose in their children’s business.  They lie to themselves and say that their children and teens need their independence, but really it’s just laziness. And, it’s irresponsible. I’d much rather have my kid be mad at me for knowing what is going on, than to NOT know and be sorry later.

And the end of the day, it’s about common sense.  People just don’t use it.  And, they fail to consider the consequences of being a terrible parent.  They want to be buddies with their kids instead of providing loving discipline.

   A refusal to correct is a refusal to love;
   love your children by disciplining them.
  Proverbs 13:24 (Message)

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