I don’t think I could be a parent today. Just the cost of buying kids the electronics (the phone, the laptop, the tablet — every other year because they can’t be bothered to take care of it) would put me into unending debt. Plus, as a parent (per television and social shaming) I’ve been stripped of all of my rights to punish (grounding, taking things away) my offspring. Instead, I’m expected to hand over cash without them earning it, buy them an $800+ smartphone before they hit middle school, and quietly chauffeur them from place to place, pretending to be their Uber driver instead of a parent.

I don’t think parents should be pals with their kids. A parent, in my opinion, is tasked with teaching your kids to be functional, healthy adults (kind, hard-working, capable, learning healthy coping mechanisms to deal with failure and loss, to take responsibility, to be charitable). But kids today, generally, do not learn about failure and loss. Sure while I agree they should be applauded for the effort, I don’t think everyone should get a trophy. Sometimes, it’s healthy to keep score and have winners and losers. Why? Because it teaches healthy competition and coping skills. And sometimes those who lose will win, and it is so much sweeter when you do.

I’m blown away I live in this world: I watched a video earlier this week of a teenage boy (like 13) who so badly wanted the newest iPhone, that he lured his mother (who, to her credit, repeatedly said no) to the backyard, slapped the phone against the stone porch, and then chucked it into the pool. He did this with some smug satisfaction announcing, “Now you have to buy me a new one.”

My response would have been, “I don’t have to buy you ****.” His mother too told him he was SOL. But the fact he thought this manipulative tactic would work was mindblowing. Acting as though she had to buy him a new one else he call CPS. OR he would make her life a living hell until he got his way.

That would not have flown back in my day. You didn’t create an extra expense. Nor did you go out of your way to provoke your parents with threats of bad behavior (acting up in hopes of getting your way). You were lucky to have what you did, and you took care of it or went without. I would never have thought to intentionally break an expensive item in hopes of getting the newer version of it.

But these days refusing your little prince or princess doesn’t go over well. When did the tables turn, and kids start making demands parents folded to? I’ve seen the shift over the last couple of decades. I recall a family-plan cell phone commercial, from back in the day when you had to pay per text. The middle-school-aged kids are basking on the couch, texting away on their phones. They don’t even look up when mom strolls into the room. She is donned in a humiliating taco costume. She is on her way to her SECOND job so they can AFFORD the texting plan the kids are using. My first thought is, why the f* is mom working a 2nd job to pay for this? Why is the daughter (old enough to babysit) and son (who could be mowing lawns) not making an effort to text less or finding ways to make money? Of course, the whole point of the commercial is to announce a more affordable plan. But I was blown away by the garish assumption the mother should just work another job to pay for something that, at the time, wasn’t as mainstream or necessary as it is today. Back then, you still had a landline and those phones were intended for phone-calls. When a teenager got a phone, it was so your parents could get a hold of you.

Now, instead of grooming kids to be self-reliant, I’m seeing parents step in any time a child has a project for school (we all know your 8-year-old didn’t make that). Or when the child chronically forgets something and, instead of making him or her suffer the consequence (so they’ll learn not to do it again), the parent goes out of their way to leave work, drive home, pick up said item, drive it to the school, and drop it off.

I could go on, but you get the point. I think there is a healthier middle ground between what parenting used to be and what it is today. Not neglecting nor spoiling.

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