Good Parents, Bad Results…Ouch! (written by Jennifer)

Today US News and World Report Issued an article titled Good Parents, Bad Results. It tried to identify the current generation of parents as well intentioned and not the slackers that they are often portrayed as. However the article clearly illustrated how we’re missing the mark…by a long shot.

You’ll notice I said WE.

I read the article and cringed. Out of 8 mistakes made by parents listed I realized that I made most of them. Perhaps you’ll argue that I’m too critical of myself, and maybe so, but there are some that cannot be denied. An example? How about #6 on the list, “They tell their children how to feel.” Examples used include telling your child when they’re upset that they’re “fine”, “don’t cry” rather than simply telling them that “you’re sorry and you understand how they feel.”

Number two on the list is abused by me probably more than any other. “They nag, lecture, repeat, then yell” states number two. A further description explains how we repeat requests 20 times as though after ignoring it the first time, they won’t ignore it after our subsequent requests. The description also includes how the current generation of parent coats everything in sarcasm.

I do? Really? You can’t be serious?

While two parent households where both parents were working was mentioned, which made me slither even further into the little hole I had dug myself in the hope that no one would recognize me as one of ‘those’ parents, I did notice that the ages of parents was not mentioned. While it spoke of the current ‘generation’ of parent, it didn’t mention if that generation was 50 or 20, which I would think would make a big difference in parenting decisions and discipline decisions.

But what do I know? I’m just a dumb parent who seems to have it all wrong. This month in particular I haven’t been able to stay float. I’ve struggled to stay caught up on laundry AND make it to work and on a good day I remember to drop the kids off at daycare on my way to work. ;) I definitely haven’t had time to blog, as has been evidenced by my lack of posts which has been met with great dismay by me who has always managed to put out SOME kind of blog post.

Those of you who are currently parenting young children where do you fit on these 8 commandments? Are you pleased with yourself?

Please tell me you’re like me and feel a bit wounded by it all….

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18 Responses to Good Parents, Bad Results…Ouch! (written by Jennifer)

  1. Joy says:

    This is such a good post Jen and I’m so glad you put it here. I am very guilty of 5 of these. 1 and 7 are the only ones I didn’t fall to. I always set boundaries and I was always consistent. When I said no, my boys knew I meant NO. I didn’t change my mind unless I really felt I was being a bitch when I gave the punishment and still, even then, I felt once I said something I had to follow through. #7, I didn’t expect straight A’s. I felt if my boys did the best they could and they got a C, it was fine with me. You can only do your best. Seriously, that’s all you can do.

    I was and still am really guilty of not accepting crying and not saying I understand. I just want them not to cry so I do whatever I can to make them stop. It hurts me to see them cry. Christopher is really going through an “emotional” time right now and his feelings get hurt very easily and I say “don’t cry” and not “I understand.” I’m hugely guilty of that one. I was also guilty of punishing to harshly sometimes. When your so mad you can’t see straight it’s very easy to say your “grounded for a month” and that’s a very unrealistic approach.

    I just really love this topic and am anxious to hear what all the young mothers have to say.

    Good job. That’s not meant “falsely”.

  2. SKL says:

    I am guilty of yelling and probably sometimes of punishing too harshly. Like the other day when I put wee one’s doll aside to wash her grimy hands, and before I could bring the washrag, sister gave wee one’s doll back. AAAHHH! I hollered and forced sister to sit down and snatched the doll and threw it. What a hag I am! Of course this was incident number 926 at the end of a very long day, but still.

    I am pretty good about most things because I am my mother’s daughter. I am an “old” new mom which I think makes me wiser (if less patient sometimes!). I am good about setting limits and priorities and such. As far as letting kids cry, well, yeah, up to a point. It depends on the specific frequency of the noise that reaches my ears. Sometimes I am evil and I chuckle at my bawling kids and the other day I called one “stupid” (she is too young to know what that means) for thinking I would cave if she bit her own hand. (Where do kids get these ideas?)

    One thing I found interesting was a link that was on the article’s web page the first time I visited it. It was about a doctor who believes spanking might take care of much of the ADHD epidemic we are seeing. I have been saying the same thing for years. Growing up, I had siblings and classmates who were classic “ADHD” cases but were nevertheless expected to figure out how to control their behavior or be punished. Amazing thing – when you really “expect” something out of a kid, they usually meet at least some of your expectations. If my brother had taken Ritalin, maybe he would have gone to Harvard and been a doctor (if the medicine dulled his impulses enough), but instead he was merely a successful high school grad who pursued his artistic dreams, married and had kids, earned enough money to support his family, and went back to college at age 40 to pursue yet another dream. Is that such a tragedy?

  3. Amber says:

    I part time parent my 13 year old niece. I thankfully don’t do any of those things. I tell her clearly once what the issue is. If she doesnt get the point I explain it to her differently. End of discussion.

    I don’t allow her to argue. I simply lay down what is happening. I am never unfair. I try and give her the reasons why things will be done as I ask.

    I give her rules and I simply don’t waiver from them. So she knows I am serious. I allow her freedom within those rules and don’t give her a hard time. I also ask her about how she feels about things. I often take those thoughts into consideration if it is appropriate to do so.

    She’s a good kid. Im lucky because I understand her and we “click?

  4. Dr. Paul says:

    Ouch! Yup, an honest appraisal of ourselves will always show deficits. I’m a parenting “expert”, but you know what… It is lots easier to give advice than it is to live the way we “know” to live. One of the common laments I hear as a psychologist is, “Why do I do what I do when I know what I know?” But I want all of the parents out there to know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We all make mistakes and have flaws and weaknesses – and that will always be true. My favorite line from “Meet The Robinsons” applies here, “Keep moving forward!” Don’t beat yourself up too much, and remember to have joy in the journey. Sometimes I think we are given these children for dual purposes – to help and teach them, and to be taught by them. Thanks for your post, Jen.

  5. Sue says:

    Sometimes being a parent sucks, especially after you see in black and white what you may be doing and it makes you feel like a shmuck. I do nag, lecture, yell, but usually skip the lecture. And I tell them “oh, you’re ok” when they fall, don’t have a scratch, but insist they’re going to die. I do wonder what generation they were talking about because my parents did some of these things too and we are all grown with children of our own now. You really don’t have a clue what you’re getting into until it’s too late and then you just have to do your best!

  6. nikki says:

    I’m guilty to a few of these but who isn’t (as a FULL time parent). No one’s perfect and so far Bailey is one of the most well behaved and independent kids I know. I try to let him feel the way he does whether it’s hurt or sad or mad. It’s easy to say, “oh you’re okay” and sometimes I do. But for the most part I tell him it’s okay to feel the way he’s feeling. Who am I to say he can’t or doesn’t feel that way? The spanking, well to each their own on that. Excessive spanking no. A good swat on the butt, yea I did it and he wasn’t ruined by it. I think if we try to follow these rules we could be better parents but being a parent is hard. You have to do what works for YOUR child, they’re all different. Good post Jennifer thanks for sharing!!

  7. Jane says:

    There are an awful of really good points here. I do some of them. Not others. I do mean what I say though. I’ve also had to spank on a few occasions. Not HIT but a smack on the rear end. Being that I say I will spank, for me, works out so that I really don’t have to. He knows/thinks I will if he does those “certain” things. It’s funny people who say they won’t just deal with so much more by not. Being those of us who say we do, don’t really have to. Threats, maybe, but if it keeps him from being hurt, I guess I’ll deal with that. Maybe I just have a really good boy, I’m not sure. But, you do what works.

    I have to say I do acknowledge his feelings for the most part. If he gets a scrape or falls and has a meltdown, I let it happen and just sit and say “hey bud, what’s up, that hurts doesn’t it?” If I do that, it’s over quicker.

    I think we all do what our parents did if that worked. Generations before us can’t all be wrong. I’m not talking the abusing parents but the loving ones and the ones who really did try and do all the right things. We also have to remember that we are the first timers of blogs and such. Our parents and grandparent’s didn’t have all this information like we do. They really had to wing it and I must say, a lot of them did the right things. I find a lot of kids now so over protected and overindulged. Brats to be honest.

    This is an excellent post and a good topic of conversation.

  8. Whew. It’s nice to read what the “expert guidelines” are when I am in a really rational frame of mind, but then there are those times when I can’t stand to be reminded of how far I am from being perfect!

    It’s also discouraging that the “experts” change their minds with every generation, so that you never can be sure if the guideline you are trying to follow is a truth or a fad, or just a mistaken theory.

    I’ve struggled most with number one (setting limits), since we begin our parenting careers with no limit at all, with a being that is connected to our body (or to our co-parent’s body, as the case may be!), and then must progressively develop the child’s independence, beginning with their birth until they are (hopefully!) fully functioning adults. It is hard for me to change (and firmly impose) the limits as the child’s needs/abilities change.

    I appreciate this discussion and am glad to hear I am not the only one who struggles to improve my parenting.

  9. Jason says:

    I won’t even read the stupid article. Who is anybody but my wife to tell me I’m a bad parent for anything I do? Everything is justified. I can GUARANTEE that half the people who write these things don’t have kids, wives or anything they write about. You get a couple of jackasses together that say “we went to college, we’re better then you”. They’re behaviorist that’s it. They sit outside the window and judge me and you. There are bad parents out there but will this stupid list get to them, or change how they do stuff? NO……………..

  10. Joy says:

    You know Jason the fun part about doing this is the talking back and forth.

  11. Joy says:

    Oh, and by the way, nobody said anyone was a bad parent nor better than anyone else.

  12. Jennifer says:

    It’s funny. I wrote this post the Parents2Parents blog a couple weeks ago with no response at all. Apparently though my mother in law did read it because the next time she saw me she told me I shouldn’t be in such a “mommy ruined everything” frame of mind. I think she was telling me not to be so hard on myself.

    Since I learned in a previous post not to tell Jason that he’s right 😉 I’ll simply say that I agree with him. The most important opinions regarding your parenting skills is the person you’re co-parenting with, if you are in a two-parent relationship, and the opinions of your kids.

    And honestly, many days the opinions of your kids only loosely matter. It’s kind of like the substitute teacher in school that all the students love…be wary of having that sub come back…you really want the sub they think is a drag 😉

    Yes, we want our kids to love us. We want a good relationship with them, but the bottom line is that there may be many times that they don’t like us…and that can often be a sign that we’re doing our job.

  13. Jason says:

    Go ahead jen you can say I’m right it’s ok, I usually am. Glad your writing over here. Your other one sucked, not because of you but your own writers didn’t comment. One of ours does that to. I won’t say who but it’s LISA. how can you read a post and have no opinion, let alone write one….. we have an excellent group of commenter’s over here some get to long JOY, SKL!!!! but whatever there here and fun to read. No comments no blog right. UH OH this is getting long. bye………………………………..

  14. Joy says:

    Screw your little white ass Jason!

  15. SKL says:

    Phooey, Jason.

  16. j$ says:

    rise and shine ladies…morning

  17. Liza says:

    I think the bottom line is we do what feels right, what we think is best. Nothing works for everyone. You need different things for different kids. There is no instruction book or it would be to easy.

  18. cana says:

    Yes, how to be a good parent is really difficult. When my son tells something if I say you should not do that, then he will say:”ok, next time I am not going to tell.”

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