Deal With It
I was working with a group of kids today, and one of them, when given a task to do, started wining and complaining about the task and presenting reasons why he was not going to do it. I was supervising he and my daughter. My reaction to him was not the same as it would have been with my own children. Any of my children would have immediately been told not to argue with adults. This is precisely the reason that my kids do not act this way. I dealt with the young man as I would another adult. I attempted to be encouraging and positive and walk the child into the task gently. The kid kept looking at me like I was crazy. He had completely resolved that he was not going to complete the task that was put before him. He was confused as to why I was not immediately accommodating him and giving him another task.
Okay, so everyone has a different parenting style, and I think that it is a good thing. But to be quite blunt, I cannot stand to see children accommodated. When one of them turns up their little nose and crosses their arms over their chest, the very last thing you will see me doing is running around trying to figure out what to do to make them happy. In my opinion that would be a mistake, not only does it set the precedent which will determine that I would often be on high alert trying to make the little puppet master happy, it also robs the child of the opportunity to develop life skills. Believe it or not, once the cuteness wears off no one runs around anymore trying to accommodate adults. As adults we have to deal with it, whatever the situation in front of us may be. There is no mommy bending over backwards making sure we get exactly what we need to make us perfectly pleased.
The way I see it, I get eighteen years to prepare my children to be well functioning adults. That is my job, period. Sure I want for them to have fun and joy and happiness as a part of their childhoods, but that doesn’t mean that every single moment of their day should be blissful. I would feel truly irresponsible if I abandoned my kids in the adult world at age eighteen, with the expectation that there was anyone out there who was going to make them happy beside themselves. I know that there are a lot more coddlers out there now than there were when I was growing up. The reason that I know this is because I see their handiwork scattered around my community. The teenager who is lounging the top half of her body over the counter of the drugstore with a vacant expression on her face was probably coddled. When I managed an espresso cart I went through a lot of leaners, (as I call them), because as young people who had zero job skills, but believed themselves above working at a fast food restaurant, they always landed at my door. Sometimes I was completely stupefied at how hard it was to get these so called grown-ups to do a simple job.
Yes, we want for our kids to have a happy childhood, and yes I adore my children. Some of the best decisions in parenting are the very hardest ones however. As parents we really need to remember that we are not going to be there to fix everything for our kids throughout their whole lives. And once we recognize that giving them everything they want is actually hurting them rather than helping them; we can find the strength to let them learn how to deal with it.