Thursday, February 3, 2011

Be the parent!

I'm going to post about something unrelated to writing, but something I think needs to be discussed, and this is the state of teenagers today. I have a fifteen yr old son, whom I adore! He comes home from school with horror stories about kids in his classes and how rude, crude and disrespectful they are. The bus is a nightmare. Kids use foul language, tell dirty jokes, talk back to teachers, swear at them in class etc... It's appalling. And you know what I think? I think it boils down to their parents. (90% of the time)

I'm sure there are those who completely disagree and that's fine. I don't need people to agree with me to feel validated, but if parents actually parented, maybe we wouldn't have such difficult kids out on the streets.

Lately, I've actually had a few people tell me not to be so hard on my teen son. One was a teacher at his school! (Not you, Shannon =) I don't think I am too hard on him. But when they find out our family rules, they think we're too strict. I don't. I think the reason my boy is so awesome is because we are strict with the little things. We don't wait until big things happen. And for those of you who don't think I don't know my son or what he's really doing, well, you're wrong.

First off. He doesn't own a cell phone. I don't believe kids should have one full time. I think it creates more problems than benefits. When he needs to take a phone for what ever reason, he borrows mine. He plays lacrosse and LOVES it. But he can't play lacrosse if he receives ANY grade less than a B. He also can't play or go to practice if he hasn't practiced the piano. He also does not have a TV, phone or computer in his room.

He loves to play a certain computer game which is fine with me as long as his room is clean (that includes a made bed, which he doesn't seem to understand =), his piano is done, he has done a job that helps clean the house, and as long as he has no grade below a B. So far he has straight A's with the exception of one B. He's doing awesome. He's busy. He's smart. He's fun, and he's happy. He says, "Yes mam, yes sir," (sometimes) and is obedient. (most of the time.) He can't date until he's sixteen and if he doesn't kiss a girl until then, he earns a big reward. There is also no single dating until he's eighteen. Sound strict? Yep. But we're loving too, which counter balances those other things. I take my kids to the movies and out on regular dates. They get to hang with friends when ever they want. (If their stuff is done.) =P And we try to have fun family activities often.

Now, I'm not living in a world of denial. I'm perfectly aware that there are things he doesn't tell me. He makes bad choices sometimes. He lies to me sometimes. He's a normal kid. But I crack down on him when those things happen. I drill into his beautiful little head that integrity is #1. ALWAYS.  I tell him that it isn't my job to be his friend. My job is to be his mother, and as his mother, it is my job to teach him to become a great man. Period. I have other kids growing up who have not reached their teenage years. I may have to revamp things when they get there. Who knows? I'm not saying I know everything. But so far, what we're doing is working.

My son (and my other kids) are very close. He feels like he can tell me anything. (almost). The point here is this. PARENTS! Don't be afraid to parent. Don't be afraid your kids won't like you if you ground them, make them clean their rooms, or enforce rules and punishments. Kids need guidelines. It makes them feel secure, and if they know there is a serious consequence for bad behavior, they'll hopefully be more likely not to choose bad behavior. Take it from me. I'm a professional parent. I even have a certificate that says so! LOL Seriously. (We were foster parents for a while)

Okay, I'm getting of my soap box now.

17 comments:

Cheri Chesley said...

Kudos to you!

Our household is very similar. We have grade issues we struggle with for a couple of the kids, and we pay the kids in video game time when we're low on cash. :)

The point is, the privileges they have--such as movies, video games, time with friends, are things they earn. Parenting, to me, means being involved. Setting limits. You don't raise a useful human being by giving them everything they want all the time. The word "no" is certainly under-used in this society.

You can't expect a kid to have integrity if you don't show integrity as their parent. And that's to them as well, not just to other people. Follow through with rewards AND consequences of their actions. Do what you say, and say what you do.

It's getting kind of crowded up here on your soapbox :)

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Taffy has left a new comment on your post "Be the parent!":

Two great minds think alike :) Many, many of your rules are just like ours. I LOVED a certain talk last fall allowing me to be a parent, not my kids friend.
We've also had to teach our kids what "dating" is because there has been a problem with 14 year old girls pairing off with 16 year old boys.
AND when did basic manners get thrown out the window? Who is suppose to teach those? I'm amazed at the rudeness of teens until I meet their parents.
Children are not born with math skills etc so why would parents believe they would understand self-control or manners?
Whoops! I hijacked the comment area. Sorry. I should just make my own post. I do feel strongly about the youth!

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Shanda has left a new comment on your post "Be the parent!":

AMEN!

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Taffy has left a new comment on your post "Be the parent!":

And who's to judge your parenting? A teacher? Would he like the same thing said to him?

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Old Kitty has left a new comment on your post "Be the parent!":

Your son is very lucky to have parents who truly care for his well-being!!

Take care
x

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

As a teacher, I applaud the way you're raising your son. What I've seen in the ten year's I've been teaching has led me to the decision when I have children and they come of that age, I'll homeschool them. I graduated in 97 and the differences between now and then are appalling, so I can't imagine how much worse it's going to get by then.

SO, keep on keeping it on with your parenting....later on, your son will thank you. He'll also be a more productive citizen in the future.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Schyla and Joe has left a new comment on your post "Be the parent!":

HURRAY!!!!!!! I love hearing parents stand up for real parenting!!! Our kids are only 5 3 and 2 months right now but those are the rules we will use as well right now we have almost the same but age appropriate rules. I love that there are people out there that are standing up for being the parent, and are willing to show others the way!!



Posted by Schyla and Joe to A Writer's Reality at February 3, 2011 8:50 AM

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Melissa J. Cunningham has left a new comment on your post "Be the parent!":

It's so reassuring to know there are other parents out there like me! Too bad there aren't thousands more! LOL

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Krista Ashe has left a new comment on your post "Be the parent!":

As a teacher, I applaud the way you're raising your son. What I've seen in the ten year's I've been teaching has led me to the decision when I have children and they come of that age, I'll homeschool them. I graduated in 97 and the differences between now and then are appalling, so I can't imagine how much worse it's going to get by then.

SO, keep on keeping it on with your parenting....later on, your son will thank you. He'll also be a more productive citizen in the future.



Posted by Krista Ashe to A Writer's Reality at February 3, 2011 8:53 AM

Ezmirelda said...

You sound JUST like my parents, minus the cellphone bit (they want to make sure I'm okay when I stay afterschool for extra-curriculums). I'm turning 16 this year and yet I've never said a swear once in my life, for the most part I have great grades, and I have never gotten into any trouble before. So I have to agree with you and say that my parents being as strict as they are had something to do with it. But I think most of it came from my desire to get into a good college and be someone I can be proud of one day. :)


How does your son learn piano? Does he learn at home or at school? I've been trying to teach myself piano but I think I should look into getting proffessional lessons.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Ez--you sound like a great teen, doing all the right things. My son is a lot like you. I think it comes from growing up in a loving, wholesome home. Where rules are fair and kids feel safe.

As for piano, I teach him. I was a music major in college and although I'm a firm believer in having kids take from someone else, I am being the teacher for now to save money. I used to teach piano when my kids were little, but it's not something I love to do now. Mainly, I would rather write. I teach three of my kids and will start with the fourth in a couple of years. He's only 6 now. I would definitely find a teacher if I were you. You'll learn more, faster. Good luck with that and don't quit when the "newness" wears off. It's a wonderful talent to have and nurture.

Ezmirelda said...

Wow, your children are so lucky. I would love to have someone musical in the family. I play other instruments but I've always wanted to learn the piano. Before I find out where to get lessons I'm going to try to teach myself music theory.It's actually pretty interesting and I think it'll help me to better understand the grand scale because all I've had to use till now was the treble cleff for the other instruments. :)

Shaunda said...

I agree. Kids need a good balance between rules, meeting expectations set for them, and rewards of fun. thanks for the post!

sim only plans said...

Wow, your children are so lucky. I would love to have someone musical in the family

Laura said...

If people only realized that really, our children are NOT really OUR children...They are THE LORD'S children...And our responsibility/stewardship is to get them back to Him! BRAVO on your post...anytime you wish to get on this soap box, I will be right there with ya!!!!

Jennie said...

may i just say...

thanks!

i am a new parent... and trying to figure out how i am going to raise my beautiful daughter! i really appreciate your thoughts...

thanks for setting a great example to me!!

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