Parenting Aliens

Currently, there is a parenting program to ‘help’ parents transform their ‘defiant,’ ‘out of control,’ children. However, every time I hear the opening line, I want to throw up!! This is how it starts…

I’ll never forget the day my son, Jeremy told me he hated me and slammed the door in my face.

Second thought? How must Jeremy feel hearing this repeated again and again and again. I do believe it is time to break the record.

As a parent and educator, it was not a surprise, that every child I taught, my nieces, my nephews, and my sons, at one time or another, showed defiance-especially between 10 and 13. In my presence, I have had children go totally bonkers, throwing themselves on the floor, kicking, screaming, thrashing around-sound familiar? Yes, an episode most often carried out when a child is two or three or even four…and sometimes 51! (Just kidding!) The reality is as children age, most lie, many communicate using only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, do not-under any circumstances-want to be seen with their parents, scream ‘I HATE YOU’, slam doors, have selective hearing, and treat parents like they are from another planet, when all along, parents wonder, ‘What alien is residing in my kid’s body?’ Let’s face it, being a parent is not ever like the sitcoms on t.v.

The biggest reason, this commercial rubs me the wrong way is because the woman and her husband, have degrees in social work! And they are still bringing up when their son displayed, what I would consider, a minor behavior hiccup. So I wonder…is Jeremy really to blame or do the parents need a transformation?

Granted, I am not a therapist and at times, I have been a god-awful parent. Regardless, I do know discipline needs to begin when children are young which translated means parents need to use, with meaning, and no quivering the word, ‘NO!’ They also need to set limits, boundaries and rules that are age appropriate for each child. Hint, hint, that means what worked for the oldest child will probably not work for the next child, meaning your style of parenting may have to be tweaked slightly in order for discipline to be effective. However, keep in mind, there are going to be trying situations, screaming sessions, and days you wish you were single again. But don’t give up, don’t give in and don’t threaten consequences you can’t keep, such as your child is grounded till he is 80 years old. One thing, I learned, but did not always do, was to put my child in his room, and put myself in my room. In this way, both of us could calm down, I could become more reasonable, and then think of a consequence that I could follow through on. A HUGE lesson most parents miss out on. YES!!! No matter how much your child whines, cries, screams, annoys the hell out of you, YOU have to FOLLOW THROUGH!!! Because if you don’t…those later teen years could become quite challenging and you may end up locked up, and not for insanity!

It amazes me, how often I witness young children, misbehaving, incessantly whining, throwing temper tantrums and screaming at the top of their lungs, and the parents, or whom I assume are the parents as they are the only adults hovering around these cute delightful devils angels, don’t do a thing except ignore their children. Which doesn’t help as the kid’s behavior gets even more like the girl, whose head spun round and round, in the Exorcist. As previously mentioned, I was not a perfect parent, but believe you me, if my child displayed bratty inappropriate behavior in a public venue, they were immediately whisked out, and given a harsh talking to. I also promised consequences they did not want and knew I would carry out. Although there was one time, if it would have happened today, I probably would have been arrested.

At the time, my youngest was about 2 and let me tell you about defiance!!! He was definitely a rebel rouser!!! Due to my optimism and because I wished to see him grow out of his funky moods, I used to refer to him as ‘spirited.’ Yes he was. Luckily, I can look back and laugh at the times his halo fell off.

Anyway, I do digress…we went on an outing to the mall, where we had been for a long time. I decided it was time to leave. At that time, the mall had a play area for children, where moms could sit and gab and kids could run wild, scream to high heaven and learn to get along with others. I informed my son we were going. However, he did not want to leave. So, I became SUPER MOM!!! I picked him up, threw him over my shoulder and proceeded to walk out. Bad thing to do. He started kicking, then hitting me, then let out a blood curdling scream, ‘YOU’RE NOT MY MOM!!!’ As I write this, I am laughing out loud!!! Then, not even a smirk. Thankfully, no one stopped us to question the validity of my son’s outburst. I did manage to get us both home, in one piece to live another day. Yea, my baby had spunk all right!! And still does!!!

The point of all this is I am not sure if kids need a transformation or if parents need it more. I know my generation was one where kids did what their parents said, no questions asked. I believe communication should be open, but I also see a generation of parents who have no control, raising kids, who as they get older are going to err on the side of being a productive member in society.

Do I have a solution? Not a full proof one. Nevertheless, I think there needs to be more classes, starting in middle school and continuing beyond, to teach effective parenting skills. Maybe even have parents who have been arrested for abuse speak about what they would change. Have teen parents speak about the lessons they have learned. Have grandparents speak, etc. etc. etc.

Being a parent is the most challenging job I have ever had. Plus, there is zero pay, zero appreciation and zero time off, especially if you are a single parent. Despite the adversities, it is also the most rewarding job I have ever had, particularly my years as a stay at home mom. I enjoyed, some most then others, all the stages my kids went through. I do joke with them now by saying, ‘You are lucky you made it out alive!’

I don’t think one program is going to solve the parenting issues lurking today. But I do know kids need to display defiance in order to gain independence and fly away from the nest. And parents need to be parents, not friends.

Let me know what you think.



2 thoughts on “Parenting Aliens

  1. My son will occasionally share a memory of his childhood with my husband and I. I was pretty darn strict. My memory isn’t as sharp as my son’s and I’m often amazed to hear of my disciplinary measures as Jared grew up. I think to myself, “YOU GO GIRL” when I’m reminded of the demands I made. I don’t regret loving him that much!!!

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