Parenting – “Honey, Where’s the Damn Manual?”

Posted: November 16, 2013 in children, Life, parenting, relationships
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Parenting –  RULES and PARENTING GUIDELINES – we all struggle with these.

I have given some thought recently into my parenting “rules’ and guidelines. My “thoughts” were more of me venting due to frustration with my son’s behavior last weekend. It led to him being grounded for the week and a two part series (discussion) I like to call the infamous, “Coming to Jesus Meeting.”

As for Rules a Guidelines – they are, you know, those things that you do or don’t do. Your pet peeves and the things you choose to enforce and unfortunately let slide. (For the record, I hate picking my battles. It seems too arbitrary and inconsistent.) It seems that almost every parent has a different set of these. I have seen that even within a household the mother and father have different and sometimes competing “rules and guidelines.” That may not be a bad thing. What works for some parents and kids may not work for others. EVERY situation is unique as we are dealing with people here. And God created all of us differently. We all have different backgrounds and circumstances that shaped who we are and our beliefs and ideas.There are things that I’m a stickler about ad things I let slide. Alicia and I are similar in most and different in others. Again, every parent has their ideas for what they think is the best way to do it. I’m by far not perfect and neither our my little angels (tongue-in-cheek).

1. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I’m a firm believer in this. I’m the parent/father/husband. I have executive privilege. I pay the bills and until you have your own house, it’s my rules – my way. I can stub my toe and say “shit” you cannot. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. I can talk over you when you are being disrespectful or I need to make sure you shut up and hear me. As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure you are taken care of. What I say more than likely is more important than yours. What you say is important, too, so let me say my thing, you acknowledge, then say what you need to say. In summary: there’s a pecking order: parents then kids. CLEAR line in the sand.

2. When I say something you comply. Not in a minute. Not when you finish whatever you are doing. Not “hold on.” And do not say something smart. If you don’t like what I said or asked you to do, say whatever you want UNDER YOUR BREATH. I better not hear it. You can roll your eyes, grit your teeth, or whatever you want. Just do not let some disrespectful word fly from your mouth that I can hear.

3. Empty threats. I hate empty threats. Part 1: Don’t say “do —– now” and then start counting. If your kids are over age 6 ( kindergarten) you do’t need to count. Do it right now. Ok, I’ll count. ONE! That’s all you get. Part 2: If you do —–, you are going to get —–. Final warning. 10 minutes later “final warning” an hour later “final warning.” Part 3: when we get home, (you go straight to bed, you’re getting a spanking, I’m taking —— privilege) and then you don’t do it. As I said, last weekend one of my son drove me nuts. He wouldn’t listen and did something really really stupid. He had one warning on that Friday. All week, he had no TV, no video games, no DVD player, no games on his phone had to clean house, empty all trash all week, and clean a bathroom. We watched TV during dinner one night ( a rare occasion) to watch something and he had to eat by himself in the dining room. I’m sorry but too bad. You acted like a jack ass, you get no privileges.

4. Your kid has tons of privileges- phones, video games, nice clothes/shoes, electronics, etc and treats you like shit. Are you kidding me. The little ungrateful f***ker needs to be in their room with nothing. No privileges. Early bed and some chores added. How dare you bust your ass at work to provide for their needs AND extras and have to deal with that. Your kids should thank you every day. They should have chores and responsibilities, too. No free rides and most importantly they should be respectful.

5. Structure: I am a firm believer (now I am) in structure. Structure everything. A small example – on the weekends kids can stay up later but in general still have a bed time. They need their rest and most parents, if you are like me, need some down time, too. At some point, the house needs to be in chill mode.

6. I break this one. There is no need to scream and act like a fool. A kid says or does something stupid. Go back to your plan of enforcing whatever it is you had in mind and keep cool. Wish I could keep this.

7. Be affectionate. Hug your kids as tell them you love them an are proud of them. Even when you are fussing. On good days and bad days. I find that I do this at bedtime after prayers are said. It’s one on or private time an I know I have their attention. (Hint here: PRAYER TIME)

8. Censorship: it’s hard to e everywhere your child goes especially as they get older, but I feel censorship should be employed whenever possible. I cringe at some of the things they have seen or heard on YouTube and even on regular tv. We didn’t have that stuff growing up. And we weren’t allowed to see and hear that stuff. I live in fear what they will hear on tv, at school or on the radio, internet, etc.

9. Quitting/ crappy participation: If you sign your kid up for a sport, chorus, theater, scouts, etc. They need to participate. They need to attend all meetings and practices and games. And if they don’t like it, they need to at least finish the season/term. We dont miss practice or rehearsals because little Johnny or Suzy doesn’t feel like going. Same for parents. No shit. You had a long day and are tired, too. The activity isn’t about you. Teach the the kid it’s important to stick with it and take them anyway. When you signed them up, did you think a unicorn was going to handle the transportation?  Don’t teach them to be a quitter or slack ass.

10. Guard them against your lifestyle: Hey you might be divorced, single, or a sob cheater. Whatever I’m not going to judge. Just please spare the kids from your flavor or the month. They don’t need to be exposed to whomever you think will be the most awesome step-parent ever. Chances are it won’t work anyway- as statistically blended families separate- and you are in a fantasy world of happily ever after. Summary: guard the kids against your flame of the month. Your kids should meet the person once some time has past and it obvious that a long term deal is imminent.

11.  Don’t be an idiot and do things like smoke in your car/house with your kids. Don’t be friends with your kids on Facebook and post things they shouldn’t see. Don’t use your kids as leverage. And chances are if they screwed up in school it was more likely than not their fault. Not the teachers or Johnny B Bad from down the street. Chances are he didn’t put a gun to your kids head and forcibly coerce your kid into participating. Try teaching your kid to be a leader an not a follower. See also the Book of Jeremiah in the Bible. Don’t blame the teacher for your kid’s bad grade or the crappy school system.

12. Be involved and push education. Know what they are learning. Talk to them about it. Study with them. Make sure homework is done. Check, double check, triple check. Pop in once in while and ask the teacher how things are going with little Johnny. Hell an email would even suffice. Stay with your finger to the pulse. Kids get one shot at education and in many ways it is the only opportunity to have a better life than their current one and most certainly their best opportunity for successful independence.

13. Idle hands are the devils work shop. My grandmother an great-grandmother used to say this all the time. I hated it then but am a firm believer now. So so true. I have noticed when the kids are busier with school, sports, church, etc they are much more respectful, they fight less, and get more rest. Almost ever time I hear “we’re bored” trouble is soon to follow. Part 2: A lot of kids these days don’t help out with things like yard work and chores. We had no choice growing up. We were not allowed to play until the grass was cut, limbs picked up, etc. Mama would take us to the beach at Edisto ONLY AFTER our buckets of tomatoes were picked. The longer it took (we stood around whining) the less time we had at the beach. As a kid you quickly learn to reason with yourself to bust ass and get it done so that you can do what you want to do.

It is time we all get off our lazy asses as parents and do our jobs. We run this show. My .02. 🙂

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  1. […] Parenting – “Honey, Where’s the Damn Manual?” […]

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