In-your-face stuff from an opinionated
rural north Idaho housewife.
A young man of our acquaintance is an absolutely wonderful father. He once told us that his own father pretty much ignored his children. His own wife talked of how her father took her places, read to her, checked homework,and spent time with her. His aim became to be the kind of father that his father-in-law had been. Kind of a sideways parenting lesson but effective all the same. His children admire and respect him as a result.
Your right on the money again! Please allow me to share an experience our family had recently. We were out and about in a big city store when an employee commented on how well behaved our children were (daughter is 7 and son is 12mos). She commented about how most kids acted "crazy" and when told to stop by employees the parents would get upset. We said thank you for the compliment and said how a good spanking would solve a lot of those problems. Immediately she stopped smiling and said "Well I wouldn't go that far, I mean they just need consistent discipline". I was blown away at her lack of understanding the connection between loving consistent spanking when needed and a well behaved child. But this seems to be a common thought pattern. We have often received compliments on our children's behavior but realize people seem to have a disconnect between the means we use and the results they see. I just shake my head and sigh at how ridiculous our society has gotten.
AMEN.I don't know what has to be wrong with a person's thinking to be incapable of marking a difference between beating a child (or using corporal punishment for trifling offenses) and "taking the hand of wisdom to the seat of understanding."There is a time and a place for a measured, consistent spanking. There's a certain developmental stage wherein consequences need to be simple, immediate, and tangible (from the end of infancy to what used to be called the "Age of Reason"). While you CAN reason with a three-year-old, you'd be mad to expect that reasoning to stick. I'm all for reasoning whenever possible. It isn't learned in a vacuum, after all, and I have no desire to attempt to turn my 14-year-old daughter over my knee. But there's a time to reason, and a time to apply simple, immediate, tangible consequences. Failure to apply both just might end you up with a 14-year-old who needs a good spanking!
This article is an articulate, fresh essay on a familiar topic - how the cycle of poor parenting perpetuates itself.I love the Penn quote. I've never heard that before.Just Me
Just don't let the neo-eugenicists get ahold of it. They loved to quote that line back in the day. I've seen some people that could be described as "half-bright" at best make really excellent parents, and some virtual geniuses from so-called "good stock" muck it up royally.
Just Me, I agree! Patrice is an awesome author. This has got to be one of her best articles.Montana Guy
Amazing you should write about this so recently. I have an in-law relative that has a gay son. He is now married to his partner and besides both of them being very nice people, I will tell you the tale I just recently heard from the mother. This couple has gone through the route of making a baby. Please sit down for this one. One of the partners used his sperm with a woman who sold them her egg. That fertilized egg was then implanted in another woman (for a fee) for the gestation of the child. I just saw a photo of this precious baby boy and of course he is cute as a button. So I asked grandma which one of the partners will be staying home for the care of this baby, you got it, "infant preschool" with grandma pitching in. Now this whole experiment has cost in the neighborhood of around $150,000.00. Why is no one staying home? I have gathered that each of the dad's has a lucrative high powered profession that they apparently feel that they can not leave. In a year or 2 this processes will be repeated with the other partners sperm. You talk about a brave new world? I have taken a few days to figure this out, I still can't, my biggest question is why have they gone through so much trouble for a child and soon to be children that they are hardly going to spend any time with? What is the point? Call me confused in Idaho
2 men+2 women=1 child with 0 parents. Interesting story. Thanks for sharing.What is the point? Maybe that, 'God got it right the first time'.Montana GuyMontana Guy
It's not just for lack of values. Both my maternal grandparents had good, strong Christian values (Catholic in my grandmother's case, Baptist in my grandfather's). Unfortunately those values did not extend to refraining from abusing children in every sense but the sexual. I'm not talking about strict parenting, or being "taken to the woodshed." I'm talking about physical, verbal, and emotional abuse that left both of them with PTSD, OCD, and scars lacking letters that last a lifetime. Somehow (maybe because my grandmother had the benefit of a mother's love for the first eight years of her life), they managed to break that cycle and raise their daughters with values, discipline, and love......and, thanks I guess to the culture, they were still a little short on the knowledge of how to maintain a marriage (in my mother's case) and raise children with love and tenderness (in my aunt's case). Oddly, most of what I know about raising kids with both love and discipline and keeping a marriage together I learned from my father and his sister. They grew up, for the most part, in a female-headed household (being still young children when their father passed away unexpectedly-- working two and three jobs doesn't leave a mother much time to remarry if she wants to spend ANY time with her kids). The one asset my paternal grandmother had was a strong extended family-- parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and cousins who gave her kids the (non-material) things she no longer had the resources to give them. My husband was in about the same boat as my mother. Both parents were in the home. I have to give them credit for teaching him a work ethic (such a work ethic that he feels bad when he's not at work, and sometimes forgets that more and better things do not a better life make and that a home and an engineering firm are not the same animal). Some of their lessons (that mistakes make you stupid and only what you're already good at is worth doing, that asking for help makes you a target of ridicule, that any emotion other than anger and a slight happiness are unacceptable) he could have done without.His home was a lot more "normal" than mine (two-parent home for the first two years, raised by grandparents for the next five years, living with a single mother but still being raised by grandparents for the next four years, raised by a single father-- who had, however, been an unfaltering presence all my life-- after that). But somehow, it seems as if my husband got more of the "bummer kid" upbringing than I did. A two-parent home with old-fashioned American values is a good thing, of course. Better than a lot of the crap that's out there. But it's not a guarantee. Nor, if somehow the right choices can still be made, is not having it a guarantee of failure. Am I raising 'bummer' kids?? I hope not. Our lives weren't perfect, and I know I don't have the standard toolkit. I'm trying very hard not to. Whether I get it right or not, ultimately, we'll have to wait a few years hence to see what kind of adults they turn out to be (the oldest launches in 4-5 years, minimum).
Unfortunately, it does not always work out that way. My husband and I were married young and had our first child right after we were married. We were always there for our children. I was a stay at home mom for all of their lives. My husband didn't gush with I love you's, but he was a wonderful caring father. Our children didn't go to "daycare". Now our son is a father of his own son. Unfortunately, he isn't raising him. My husband and I are. We have had custody of our grandson since he was one year old. Both our son and his wife decided that they were more interested in having fun than being parents. Our son was not raised to walk away from his child, but he did a good job of doing it. He has had very little contact with his son. All the loving care and proper upbringing in the world cannot guarantee that you will not have a "bummer" child. Our second child is a daughter and is about to finish college with her Bachelor's degree in nursing.
Thank you for doing it. From the bottom of my partially grandparent-raised heart. Like I said, my mom's parents did everything "right," or anyway as right as they could considering their various disorders and damage. Other than being obsessed about "What will people say?!" I have to say they did a good job.They still raised a daughter who bailed on a good if awkward man who didn't meet her every emotional need to run off with a smooth-talking playboy drunk who she knew she wasn't willing to raise her child around.I still wonder how a woman gets full (not sole, but full) custody of a child when she admits that she's a hair shy of committing outright adultery to live with a layabout who's abusive when drunk, or that she's planning on having her parents raise the child in her stead. Only in the 80s, man. Only in the 80s. I doubt a woman could pull that off NOW. But anyway. Take me they did, and raise me they did, at least until my mother got her cranium out of her rectum. They made sure I saw both parents (my dad was unshakably faithful about showing up every Saturday at 4 o'clock, if he had to borrow a car and go without sleep to do it; with my mom sometimes it took a little more work).I'm glad they did, and not just for whatever nightmares it spared me. They did a good job. They taught me good things. As for my mother, well, all I can say is that I honestly believe she meant well. She was just a product of the times. She was a thoroughly modern woman, and there was a lot she didn't understand until too late. She did love me, and I did love her, and I wish she'd lived long enough to enjoy the fruit of learning her lessons.Enjoy your grandchild. Don't waste your energy on shame, or blame, or wondering where you went wrong. Be glad you get to spend a lot of time with him-- too many grandparents in this day and age don't. --MC, A "bummer kid" who uses the parenting lessons her grandparents taught her almost every day.
My husband's favorite saying: The second most important decision you will ever make is deciding who your children's parents will be.
Most animals who are parented show this behavior. Human raised puppies and kittens, even gorillas frequently show poor behavior skills in their own lives and then are poor parents. Zoos used to almost always remove young from animals that were "endangered species" to insure against some inadvertent injury from the mother, and human raise them. The result is almost always a tiger, a gorilla, a desert fox etc. who can't or won't properly raise the next generation. An outstanding example is chickens. Some breeds have been industrial bred and raised so long that not only will the hens not hatch and raise a clutch of eggs, they won't even breed (have sex). The roosters aren't interested in the hens and won't make any attempt to protect or guide the flock.