January 2013

Parents As People

I don’t think our children really see us this way.

The thing is, it’s not their job, either. We make a big deal about how kids should respect their parents and behave and all of this baloney, but the fact is kids don’t ask to be born. They don’t owe us anything. If they choose to have kids, they owe them, sure, but us? Nada. I’m in George Carlin’s camp and agree that respect needs to be earned and should be based on parents’ performance.

All of this said, I still think it’s kind of funny when our kids don’t see us as people. They see us as—well, I’m not quite sure what they think we are. But when my daughter dumps her jacket on me at the park to go run off with her friends, or climbs on me to get a better view of something, or thrusts her half-eaten Reece’s peanut butter cup in my hand in the darkness of the movie theater (something that made me laugh so hard I actually couldn’t speak or breathe—I still giggle thinking about it, and how I tried to give it to her father, who thought it was poop), I can’t very well be a person, can I? A coat rack, a step stool, or a table, maybe, but not a person.

Positive reinforcement for kids

Dangling carrots causes more harm than help.

How do you perform at work, at college, or anywhere else when you have someone looming over you declaring “Good job!” every time you scratch a pencil, burp or sneeze? You probably don’t have anyone doing this, but the average kid seems to. I feel worse for kids who get zero attention from their parents, of course, but this whole “Good job!” crap has to stop.