Once again my lovely neighbors have inspired me to contemplate parenthood.
I’m debating whether we should even adopt at this point in time because actually having a child is looking more unattractive and unappealing every day. I say this because I currently have a child and don’t want him anymore. No I’m not being excessively cruel. No I’m not referring to my pride of cats or illicit black market child sales. I actually do have a kid… sorta. I get to wake up every morning to the sounds of screaming tantrums, track and field sprinting throughout the house and the banging of toys or whatever he can get his grubby little hands on against any hard surface within arms reach. I get to hear this whenever I’m home because apparently this kid is always around. I get to listen to every single topic on his jumbled little mind all at once because he doesn’t have an inside voice and prefers to shout everything he wants to say. I even have to clean up his toys from the backyard more often than not because he tends to leave them lying around when I have to mow the lawn.
No, the child doesn’t live with me nor is he my responsibility. I just have the unfortunate luck to be living in duplex with two douches for parents upstairs.
Today I present a case study in parenting. Hilarious that its coming from a guy who has no kids. I can see the irony but alas I am perfectly qualified to judge others parenting skills because I have a gift. Yes a gift. An ability one might say. I call it a curse. I happen to be a Child Whisperer.
No I don’t speak to children in hypnotic tones. In fact I can’t stand most children. I’d sooner put them all on a large boat and send them to the Lost island before I’d have to deal with them directly. Regretfully I am a Child Whisperer and that means I have been damned with the uncanny ability to attract children of all ages to me like moths to the flame because I tend to behave like a big child myself. As a result, I tend to be the go-to-guy when it comes to parents.
“Oh go play with Ian.”
“Ian’s great with kids.”
“Ian is a natural with kids.”
Fuckin’ A I am.
As it stands I tend to do a lot of conversing and interacting with parents of all skill levels, young and old. So yes, I find myself to be quite qualified to pass judgment on any twit who has the nerve to call themselves a parent just because they have a child. Parent is a title of honor and respect that should be bestowed to only those who deserve and have earned it. A parent is a teacher, mentor, friend, guardian and disciplinarian all rolled into one. Anyone can fart out a child. Only a parent can raise one properly.
I present to you two family units on opposite ends of Ian’s Awesome Scale of Parenting & Excellence. For the sake keeping people’s identities private I’ll be using aliases. One one side we have the Goode Family. This pleasant prototypical family unit consists of a 30 something year old husband and wife duo, Mark and Adriana, and their sweet little 2 year old boy Zach. Both are gainfully employed, own a car and have a house in the suburbs. They have their own fair share of family, social and work issues they contend with just like anyone else but all in all they’re quite happy and content. Zach is an awesome little guy. My wife and I even bought him this wicked cool sandboxy play set thingy for his birthday earlier this year. I didn’t even get my wife a bloody Christmas gift last year (sorry hun but I at least came through for your birthday this year!). Yes the guy who hates children is singing the praises of a child. That must mean something. Zach doesn’t fit the mold of the children I typically come across. He’s well mannered, intelligent, respectful, listens to his parents and doesn’t raise hell. I’m sure Mark and Adrianna would disagree with the hellraiser part, but generally speaking he’s not that kid in the supermarket. They don’t raise a hand or their voices to discipline him but he knows full well not to cross them – especially Adrianna. I’m quite certain little Zach has caught the look on a few occasions and has been scared straight. She’s not a meanie by any stretch of the imagination, but you when she’s serious.
On the other side of the spectrum we have my make-ya-wanna-drink-the-kool-aid neighbors. They’re a twenty something year old unmarried couple, who I’ll lovingly refer to Val and Pryce, and their 2 yr old demon-spawn of a child Loki. I’m not sure who works between them. They’ve lived here for almost a year and the most I was able to gather was that she’s possibly fecal movement engineer (yes a shit shoveler… not that there’s anything wrong with that). He’s a hippie douche that likes to ride his bike, play soccer and strum away on his guitar – badly – as he ponders the complexities of life all day. She likes to party like a sailor into the wee morning hours whenever she has the chance (which is quite often because she pawns little Loki off to her parents whenever the opportunity presents itself). The have a car but I don’t know if they own it. It kinda sits out there in the back lot with expired tags. Far be it for them to renew them, they just borrow mommy and daddy’s car all the time and create traffic jams in the parking area. And of course they obviously don’t own a home because they live above me in a tiny 2 bedroom unit with wonderful hardwood floors.
Yes. Hardwood floors + 2 yr old Norse God of Mischief. You can see where this is going.
Loki has the potential to be a likable kid. He’s cute, has a lemon blond mop of hair on his head and speaks quite well… when he’s not shouting or throwing tantrums… which is like rarely. Unfortunately Loki’s mom and dad suffer from an acute medical condition that is sweeping North America called IOTAMCDS, otherwise known as I‘m Oblivious To Anything My Child Does Syndrome or Ignoritus if you prefer. They seem to be under the impression that their child can do no wrong and that nothing he does is ever wrong. This in turn gives little Loki free reign to wreak as much havoc as humanly possible for person his size. He runs inside the house with horse-like grace, throws things against anything solid enough to make some real good noise, screams bloody murder when he doesn’t get his way and shouts as though you were in the next county when talking to him… all to the familiar tune of “he’s just a child”.
He’s just a child.
That’s the tag line for bad parenting. Ever notice when a child does something stupid or annoying the first thing out some parent’s mouths is “he’s just a child”. Give me a break. Children, especially really young ones, are able to soak up information like sponges. If you teach a child how to behave they will learn how to behave. It’s really not that complicated of a concept. For the most part if parents are on point their children they can teach them those key values of respect and responsibility. I really don’t believe in bad children, only bad parents. Unless the kid truly is a seed of Satan and pops out with pointy teeth, horns and a spaded tail flapping, they’re not bad. They don’t know bad. They learn bad from lazy parents who choose to coddle their children as opposed to teaching them. Parents who want to be their friends rather than their parents.
Why are Loki and Zach so vastly different? They’re the same age. Same youthful enthusiasm. and love for life They’re loved by their makers. They’re not destitute or stricken with poverty. They can get whatever they want. How can two children with so many similarities be so different?
The only answer is the parents.
Word of advice potential baby makers of the world, if you’re not ready to take on the responsibility of raising a kid, then don’t have one. I’m not talking about feeding them, clothing them and putting a roof over their heads. That’s only a small part of the job. You need to be ready to take on the full task full bore otherwise your children become someone else’s burden.
You’re nothing to me now. You’re not a brother, you’re not a friend. I don’t want to know you or what you do.
Blood is thicker than water.
How many times have you heard that cliché? How true is it though?
There’s no doubt that some family ties are tight but I think there’s far too much of an onus put on the blood relation aspect. Lord knows I have blood relatives all over the US that I haven’t even met much less spoken to. Should my loyalty, love and/or devotion be more to them then friends who have been with me through the good times and bad?
I’m not a guy who uses the term “friend” lightly. In fact I can probably count the number of real friends I have on one hand. Some of them I’d quite literally take a bullet for (and on a few occasions could very well have). I don’t like what the term “blood is thicker than water” insinuates. On the surface it just reads as though you should always put your blood before your friends but is that truly something to live by? We’ve all had a family member scorn us in some way and it stings more than anything an enemy can do. Isn’t it blood that ends up hurting us the most in the end?
Even that word family poses a contradiction to that cliché? Unless you’re from some backwater land where brothers and sisters bed & wed one another, your parents aren’t blood to one another. Neither were either of their parents or their parents. Your wife or husband isn’t blood to you. An adopted child is not your blood. Does that mean you should love them any less or that you’re to choose some distant, unknown, never spoken to great-cousin over your own wife, husband or child if (knock on wood) some inconceivably harsh situation called for it?
I think not.
I like to look at that adage in a bit more abstract way. Blood can be defined as anyone who has earned that level of trust and respect to be considered a part of you – a part of your ideals and understanding. I put everyone on the same level playing field and let them determine whether they will be a superstar. That’s why I don’t consider myself truly hypocritical for deeming everyone idiots until proven intelligent because I give everyone a fair shake. I’ll never just give unquestionable respect to anyone and that’s the way it should always be. Too many people feel this unearned sense of entitlement just because they’re a blood relative and it’s just uncalled for. People should be judged individually based on what you have done for them and vice versa. I know it sounds like common knowledge but unfortunately it’s far from that apparently. We cling to blood ties with blind devotion sometimes and end up killing ourselves from the inside every time we’re hurt by them.
Sit back and evaluate who means most to you. Who has been there for you. Who you’ve been there for. Who you can unequivocally trust. Who you make legitimately happy and truly makes you happy.
Your real family might be bigger (or smaller) than you think.
Firstly, let me apologize.
I want to apologize for rattling off yet another rant. I know I’ve only been doing this for blogging thing for only about 2 weeks but I just don’t want it misconstrued that I’m a consummate complainer. The way I see it the sooner I can get the bothersome topics off my chest the sooner I can speak more lucidly.
With that said, let the party begin…
When exactly did parenting become optional? Why do more and more parents feel the need to get their child’s approval rather than their respect? Most of all, what the heck happened to disciplining children? I’ve had these questions juggling around in my head for years now and haven’t really come to any conclusion other than the usual laziness and idiocy excuses. I mean seriously… what caused such a drastic shift in ethics? I’m not an old dude. I’m only in my mid-30’s yet it seems like the values between my generation and the current ones are damn near polar opposites.
You have every right to choose to become a parent but once you’re a parent that’s your job 27/7 till the kiddies are all grown up. When referring to optional parenting I’m talking about this all too common methodology of parents pawning off their kids to their parents whenever they get tired of parenting – forcing the grandparents to play a much larger role in the child’s upbringing. Don’t get me wrong, they should be involved their lives but not to the point where they are essentially raising the children. The excuse for needing time away from them range from wanting to party to just needing a break. Everyone needs a break but when one starts abusing a parent’s good will that’s just wrong on so many levels. They did their job. They served their time. They shouldn’t have to be saddled with doing double duty on parenting and yet more and more young couples continue to take advantage of their parents.
If having a child is so much of a burden or you’re missing out on sooo much because of them, then maybe you should have thought about that before hopping in the sack.
Seeking a child’s approval is about the most reprehensible pattern I’ve seen as of late. So many parents are looking to please their children and be their friends rather than earn their respect. There’s a very thin line between making your child happy and pleasing your child and unfortunately many can’t tell the difference. I had a very happy childhood. I am an only child so one would assume I had everything handed to me on a silver platter. Quite the contrary. My parents were strict but very fair. Nothing was purely given to me. Everything had to be earned and the way you earned anything was by working for it and respecting that their word was the law. I never cursed in front of my parents (or any member of my family for that matter). Heck, I still hold true to that to this day (and I have a mouth like a drunken sailor outside the family setting). I respected my elders, performed my chores and stayed out of trouble. Embarrassing my parents or myself was a no no in their book and I thank them for teaching me that early. I believe that was the basis for self-respect that helped turn me into the person I am today. It’s just sad that parents nowadays don’t have the time or patience to follow through on anything they say. They seek the quick fix solution of buying them whatever whenever and all that teaches them is that with enough whining and bitching, they can get what they want.
A parent is an authority figure, whether you want to believe that or not. It’s a parent’s duty to craft a child’s values and instill a certain semblance of fear and respect for authority. I understand that a lot of parents don’t and won’t raise a hand to their child and that’s their prerogative. An authority figure doesn’t have to be tyrannical and you don’t need to be physical in order to enforce discipline. My parents rarely gave me a whoopin’. If I recall correctly I got an ass tanning maybe 3 times throughout my entire career as a child. My father was a big man – a former football player. That alone put a bit of apprehension in my soul. I figured it would be best not to do anything to piss that large man off too much, but like most children often do I tested the boundaries just to see how far I could go. Let me tell you, I didn’t go back to that edge too often.The first spanking was all I needed to know what was too far. He’d never have to raise a hand to me whenever I was on the verge of doing something stupid.
I’d just get the look.
My mother never ever laid a hand on me but she too possessed the power of the look. Between the two of them casting death gazes at me I rarely had any time to really do anything outlandishly dumb and when I did, I got a repeat performance of the first spanking. As you can see I wasn’t a hard learner. I ended up respecting my parents as the authority figures they were. They’re my best friends ever, but they have always been parents first and friends second not vice versa like you see in today’s families. Giving your child a spanking isn’t child abuse. Repeatedly hitting your child for every little infraction is. As is always the case, people just can’t do anything in moderation. CPS isn’t going to come and kick down your door for spanking your child once in a blue moon for some dumb shit they’ve done. It’s just naive parents who fall for that threat.
Parenting isn’t easy. I know that. It’s a thankless, no-pay, job that very few are qualified for. You need a license to own a dog or a gun. You need a license to drive a car or operate heavy machinery. You even need a license to catch a fish. Unfortunately they’ll let anyone be a parent. I want to apologize to the good parents of the world. I recognize and commend you for bringing love, values, respect and responsibility into their lives. If anything I say offended you just remember this – if it doesn’t apply to you then there’s nothing to get mad about. If you’re doing your thing and getting the job done then I’m obviously not referring to you so there’s no reason to be offended.
Sure it can be construed as hypocritical of me lamenting on parenthood having no children of my own, but then again I don’t make the idiots. I just observe them.