I have come to the conclusion that I do not like children. Not the little ones, the teen ones. The little ones you can always put in the microwave when they act out. The teen ones are a different story. I speak from experience…we have one unexpectedly under our charge and it is late in the game for us.
There is a distinct difference between children of the past two generations and the one before that I come from. My generation did not talk back to our parents. We did not challenge them when they told us to do something. We knew there was a line. We knew exactly where and when it appeared and exactly where and when we did not dare cross it. We would abruptly stop our feeble rebellion when the line came into sight, shut our mouths and then did exactly what we were told to do. I do not want to think of what wrath would have beset us if we did otherwise.
My kids, and their kids, have no regard for the line. Not only will they freely cross it, they will set fire to it and take off miles beyond its flaming barrier. They simply do not respond to parenting the way my generation did and, consequently, my wife and I do not know how to deal with it.
Yelling and screaming do not work. Positive motivation does not work. Grounding and taking away privileges and materials goods do not work. We do not think anything works. These kids have no respect and no matter how much we try to teach them that, they refuse to learn it. They say and do whatever they wish and they will connive and manipulate anyway they can to achieve that end. It’s guerilla warfare. The kids don’t enter into battle with us on our grounds abiding by our rules. As a result, we don’t know how to fight them…and can’t.
There were not many occasions, but I do remember a few, when my dad had had enough. Off came the belt, over his knee I went. It was not physical abuse at all as today’s thinking would conclude. In fact, it really didn’t hurt that much. Getting spanked was more of an emotional moment. If was embarrassing, but remedial. It worked. It was the worst thing that could happen and when it did…well, whatever crime led to it, you never did that again.
Contemporary child-rearing books are bountiful. I’ve read a few. The problem is, the kids in the books respond appropriately to whatever methodology the author endorses. Real kids don’t. Real kids don’t respond. They react—openly and rebelliously…and persistently.
It is all Walt Disney’s fault. He raised my generation on a happy-ever-after platform. Disney families were wholesome, harmonious and respectful of each other. Disney kids were always perfect. We all aspired to be just like the Mouseketeers. Disney instilled in us a certain decorum between parent and child. It set the bar for us. It worked. It doesn’t anymore. Where are Tinker Bell and her pixie dust when you need them?