For kinder, gentler parenting advice and admonitions, go directly to the end of this post and read about Sally Clarkson’s book, The Mission of Motherhood.
Counting to three. Counting to three loudly. Counting to three with threats (or rather, promises about to be broken). Is there anything sadder, sillier, more tiresome, or less effectual than a counting mommy? I think not.
I ask myself, “Why?” I ponder the questions, “Why can’t they see it doesn’t work?” and “Who is responsible for this parental drivel?”
Hell. Hell holds the reason, the source, the blindness, and the responsibility. Worst of all, the outcome is Hell–the Hell on earth of frustrated and angry parents living with bratty kids, and frustrated and angry kids living with witless parenting.
And books from Hell, written I surmise by: men, or women who have nannies, or perhaps women who have never had a child, and yet, unbelievably, think they have the tiniest clue what they’re talking about.
What are the clues for me, the reader, that such authors have no clue? A listing of some of the most glaring offenders begins with “The Fairness Doctrine,” reminding me that yes, there is something more tiresome than counting. It’s grown-ups (well, in age at least) whining, “It’s not fair,” and teaching their children that fairness is their birthright, that everything and everyone should bend over backward to make sure they get their “fair” share.
Perversely, Fairness advocates, having taught their children greed, and disrespect, will insist they share and even give away favorite treasures to the neighbor’s even greedier get, or a whiny sibling. The child with the strongest will and weakest mother will win (and lose) in such encounters.
Fairness Doctrine devotees are also often proponents of “reasoning” with their little geniuses, and vehemently opposed to spanking. I can hear it now, echoed by more than one lily-livered mommy, “Spanking is violence,” she says with pious horror and superiority. “We don’t hit,” she adds in that valley girl affectation which makes real women squirm. And yet, these children are often violent–screaming at and hitting their parents and siblings, without the slightest beginnings of the self-discipline necessary for life. I submit to you where there is no natural order (that would be parents, rather than children, in charge) the most tyrannical and least qualified will rule. Yes, there are households where two-year-olds reign. Could anything be more ridiculous?
Yes. We progress! There is yet a further level of ridiculousness in today’s anti-logic parenting mantras. They don’t spank, but they whine, wheedle, gripe, groan, endlessly and mindlessly repeat themselves, raise their voices, scream, and even cry. “You made Mommy cry,” she blubbers. PA-THET-IC! Very probably she isn’t smart enough to spank. Indeed, if she thinks spanking is violence, if that is what it is when she does it, perhaps she’s at least right in this one thing–she should not spank.
“Boys will be boys,” she smirks. And criminals will be criminals, Mommy Idiotica. Anything, it seems, is preferable to training your son that the world wasn’t expressly created for his amusement and debasement.
“Safety first!” she mimes to justify keeping her listless, pasty-faced children indoors just because it’s nippy outside, as though it is actually good parenting (or even doable) to protect kids from any and all possibility of physical harm, even as she parks them in front of the TV at every opportunity, paying little or no attention to the mind-numbing and soul-bending messages bombarding their malleable psyches.
“Oh, kids are tough,” she explains as though she actually believes this lie, and also believes she possesses the wisdom of the ages. Kids are humans, and therefore complex and beautifully fragile and sensitive beings, affected for good or bad by every single moment of their lives, and even more so, by every thought, word and deed of their parents.
These are a few of my (non) favorite things, and I have the credentials to talk about them–I have successfully raised world-changing (as opposed to weak, whiny, selfish, indecisive, crowd-following, world-destroying) children, and I have loved (almost) every minute of it.
P.S. Villages are nice addendums, perhaps, but they cannot make up for ignorant, lazy, and irresponsible parenting. Effective parenting is very hard work, so just accept that and get on with it. Prepare yourself for the long, long, long haul of teaching, re-teaching, training, praying, searching, paying attention, reading that same book over and over and over, praying, reading the Words of Jesus, and did I mention praying? You don’t get overs on this, so live in the now–you have NOTHING more important to do than getting to know your child’s heart. Know that this parent/child training is ongoing and rigorous, and will stretch and grow you like nothing else on earth. Know also that the rewards are beyond compare and comprehension. They are, as my daughter Hannah used to finish each night as we said her prayers, “peace and love and joy!”
P.P.S. Should I write a book, entitled perhaps, “No One Loves a Brat, Be She Mother or Child”??? Speaking of books, the very best book on parenting I’ve ever read was by a woman raising world-changing children: Sally Clarkson, bringer of great light via her masterpiece, The Mission of Motherhood.