Parenting these days is a trip, when I was coming up, folks spanked their kids and no one thought twice about it. Now I admit considering I grew up with a Dad who brought out tree limbs and extension cords to keep me in line, I am no fan of spanking. Regular readers who have been here a while know that I don’t spank my kids. Rather I did briefly with the eldest but considering he is almost 17 and a foot taller than me, no…I don’t spank.
I don’t spank my preschooler and that was a conscious choice that at times is hard for me. The girl was born as I like to say being highly spirited and now at 3, she is still spirited. She was a trickster in the womb (hiding from the ultra sound, multiple takes to hear her heartbeat) and is still a trickster.
Now just because I don’t use corporal punishment does not mean she gets to run foot loose and fancy free. No, I am a old school believer in cultivating the LOOK….you know the LOOK, the one you got as a kid that let you know that you better quit what you were doing or else there would be repercussions. In this house, the repercussions generally take the form of loss of tv time or sweets, my girl has a wicked sweet tooth and hates not having her daily treat.
Sometimes the LOOK though is supplemented by my booming voice, see I am a former theatre student so I am all about voice control. My son recently told me, I am loud even though I don’t yell. I’m one of those folks with the loud voice.
However I try to always be respectful of my youngest and answer her questions and allow her freedom to make decisions but sometimes well….sometimes, I just have to pull out the ole “Because I said so card”. See, sometimes teeth must be brushed now not in 10 mins, hair must be combed, you get the point. Normally when the law of Black Girl is laid down, mini-me understands its a don’t fuck with Mama moment.
That said, as parents seem to lose their collective minds and want to be buddies rather than parents, we are seeing the rise in the parents who cannot figure out simple shit with their kids. In a parenting discussion group, I am part of someone asked how they could convince their 3 yo child to let them comb their hair. It seems the child has a birds nest complete with tangles because the kid hates having her hair combed.
You want my reaction? Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously, you are the parent and yeah sometimes kids hate getting their hair combed or they hate taking baths but some shit happens no matter what. I know because we have been there. Mini-me for a second hated having her hair combed, well once I started braiding her hair at night, the tangles went bye bye and she no longer complains. See, that’s the type of creative solutions I work towards but not combing hair….um, that was never an option.
Look, when you bring a child into this world you are responsible for them for the first 18 years and while its nice to be seen as the nice Mom or Dad, that is not your job description. The job is to take care of that little person and sometimes you may have to lay down the law, doesn’t mean you have to dismiss their feelings but sometimes a well placed “Because I said so” really does work.