Stories are popping up all over the place about parents using drugs around their children, overdosing in the car with kids in the backseat, and I read one story about parents shooting their kids (ages 5, 2, and 9 months) up with heroin, calling it “feel good medicine”. All I can think is, what is happening to parenting?
And it isn’t just about parents who are substance abusers. It seems that parents everywhere are seeking the easy way out when it comes to parenting. Somehow, in the last generation, parents have become more focused on being their child’s best friend, giving them everything they want, without thought for the consequences. Being a parent has become something you do on occasion, when you’re not on Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat. Parents are letting their children do whatever and behave however they want, unconcerned with how it may affect other children and adults around them.
I’ve been working with children for more than half my life. Every family is different but I’ve definitely noticed an overall shift in behavior. Kids are more entitled, like there should be no consequences for their actions. When this happens, especially in a school setting, it is difficult for anything to get done, either by the teacher or the other students. Speaking with parents in these situations is so hard because they either don’t care or don’t see a problem in their child’s behavior.
Parenting is an important job. It is one that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Yes, babies are absolutely adorable. Children are a lot of fun, watching them play and explore and learn. Teenagers can be helpful and are starting to really have their own thoughts and opinions. The problem is, babies cry, children get into mischief, and teenagers test boundaries. And, often, I’ve seen parents give in. Granted, I have given in on occasion. Every once in awhile I will get incredibly overwhelmed by the cleaning, laundry, fussy baby, and no sleep the night before and I will give in. But doing so every time there is a minor irritation will only cause issues later on for everyone.
When we constantly give in to the whims of our children we tell them that they can have whatever they want, whenever they want. The problem with that is you end up getting more and more tantrums later on. In the line at the grocery store with your child screaming that they want a candy bar. Throwing toys around the aisle at Walmart because you said no to buying them something. Setting boundaries early and maintaining those boundaries provides a sense of safety in our children. They look to us to show them how to behave in society. They look to us for safety and love. All of these things we can give them with boundaries.
There has been a shift occurring in small groups all around the country toward more conscious parenting. I love that the new generation of parents is taking more care to parent with respect, both to their children and themselves. I know I won’t always be perfect but I will strive to be a thoughtful parent, always keeping in mind the importance of conscious parenting and giving my children the boundaries they need.