When did kids stop fearing their parents? I grew up with two very good parents that I can honestly say never once hit me. Yet I was afraid of them. I feared the day that I would make a mistake and have to suffer the consequences. I am not sure what I was so afraid of, but none the less, I was scared.
I can remember a day when my older brother came home from school and argued with my mom. I have no idea what the argument was about but it ended in him running up to his room with his book bag that was full of large textbooks. He flung the bag onto his bed in anger and at the head of his bed was a window. Of course the bag went right into the window and shattered it all over his pillow and bed.
I can’t remember what the argument was about, but I remember plain as day hearing that glass break and feeling terrified for my brother. I stood in front of him and begged for my mom to be calm. “It was an accident, he didn’t do it on purpose. ” I yelled over and over. I can see it in my head like a movie and you would think that our mom was a villain the way that I acted.
The reality is that my mom didn’t do much about the broken window. Sure she was mad, but she didn’t kill my brother like my young mind thought. She didn’t even yell too much. So why was I so scared?
My parents may never have hit us but I tell you there was a genuine fear of them both. It is that fear that I would like to instill into my own children. I think that I am a joke to them. They laugh as I talk and they blatantly tell me “no.” I may be the scarier of Brian and I, but it sure isn’t getting us very far.
I watch people when I am out, and I see children disrespect their parents all the time. I see kids talk to their parents in a way that I, at thirty-something, would never. They demand and order their parents around and I watch as the supposed adults give in. I hear as they cower to their children and I cringe at the thought.
My throat is soar today from yelling at my children. I am super unhappy that I yelled at all, and I am sure I could have handled my emotions differently. However, I will not let my house be overrun by my children. As their parents, Brian and I are in charge. What we say goes and that is the bottom line.
Growing up I never questioned what my parents said. I hated it more often than not, but I didn’t dare question it. Today, kids question everything. I ask for toys to get picked up and I have to debate with a five and two year old why I want them picked up. My parents would have said “because I said so” and that would have been enough for me.
Why can’t I just “say so” with my kids? What is so different in my parenting than how my mom and dad did things? If I told Cassidy “because I said so” she would laugh at me first and then ask “why”. When did parents have to explain themselves to their children?
Today’s arguments stemmed from just that. I started lunch around noon and I asked then, for my kids to start picking up the disaster zones that they had created around the house. Cassidy immediately questioned my request. ” Lunch isn’t ready, why do we have to clean up now?” So I respond with “I want you to have plenty of time to clean up so you aren’t rushed. No one is eating until we clean up our messes.”
Maybe that sounds harsh but I gave a warning of at least a half hour, and to be fair, I rarely make them clean everything. As long as an effort is made, I am a happy mom. Maybe that is where the problem lies. I continue making lunch and give a few more warnings. Lunch is ready and there is NO progress made.
My heart begins to pound and my mind is filled with anger but I calmly say, “No problem, we will wait. Clean up now and then we can eat.” You would think I said that I am throwing away your toys, because the waterworks began accompanied by screaming. A full three alarm tantrum ensues.
Cassidy froze as if her arms and legs were no longer attached to her body. How could she possibly clean up when her limbs were not working. She cried and screamed and as a parent the sound goes through me. I can’t really describe a worse sound. Its like there is a time limit on the sound also; I only have tolerance for three minutes and then an explosion happens in me.
So the screaming and crying continues and I suddenly turn into the mom that I don’t want to be. I grab a garbage bag and I am ready to throw toys away, only they know that I never will. I suck! This is why I am not scary. This is why my kids don’t listen.
I believed one hundred percent that if a garbage bag came out when I was growing up, that the toys in question were gone forever. There was no amount of tears or screaming that could save them. It was the end.
My kids hear my threats and know that they are a joke. I am a joke. I may yell and look scary but I am just a joke to my kids. I repeat the same requests day after day and I am ignored.
I just think back to my childhood and I can’t remember my parents being a joke to me. They would say something and I wouldn’t think twice about listening. Every now and again I would go against their rules and I was terrified of the price of being caught.
I don’t want to be evil, and I don’t want to beat my kids. I just want them to respect me the way that I do my parents. Maybe it is a lesson that takes time to learn but I feel that in general, today kids lack the fear and respect for their parents. Kids are so smart today, and they want an answer and a reason for everything, but sometimes the answer is “because I said so.”
I try to yell less and listen more. I hate fighting with my kids. It really does ruin my day, but I think back on my childhood and wonder what I am missing. My parents only yelled when we screwed up and it wasn’t a lot. I didn’t question their authority ever. I hope that over time I can figure it all out. I love my babies and I really loose sleep over arguing with them.
More than anything else, I want my kids to grow up strong and confident. I want them to be respectful human beings. I may not be excelling at this lesson now, but I am confident that over time we will figure it out.