Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Don't Need To Have Kids To Understand

This post might make some of you parents angry with me and for that I apologize but I have to get this off of my chest. Recently, I've had two separate conversations with two different people about the same subject. Kids, and people who have kids and think you have to be a parent to understand what it is like to raise a kid. I don't have to walk through fire to know that it is hot and burns.

It does not take a rocket scientist to know what the right thing is and the wrong thing is to tell a child. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know what's healthy for a child and what's not. There are many many psychologists and therapists that have great insight on the subject and have never given birth to a child.

I don't have a child of my own but I am fully aware of how strong a parent's love is for their child. I totally get that you would walk through fire and give your own life for your child, I get that. I truly do. Do not tell me just because I don't have a child I don't understand how difficult it is to raise a child. Hello! Do I live in a vacuum? I know what the cost of living is. I know the cost of clothing and feeding and sheltering a child. I know how it may be difficult to scrap together extra funds for the all important extra curricular activities that are so important to the development of every child. I get that. I also know how hard it is for you when your child is bratty, belligerent, and confrontational. You try your best to understand why this child is acting this way and attempt to figure out how to best get through to them. I understand how difficult this is.

I understand how hard it is for you when you do all you think you could have done for the child and they still end up being a real shit or even strung out on drugs. I understand how hard it is for you to execute a little tough love when needed and force the child to straighten up by making them stand on their own two feet without you as a safety net. I know how hard that is and for some of you I know it is impossible. I get it.

What's really great from my perspective is that I am totally unbiased in the situation which is great when it comes to trying to figure out the best solution for a really tough situation. Parents are often so weighed down by emotion that they can not see to do what is the best for a given situation or be completely objective. I can. Let me give you an example, your 19 year old child has been on drugs for the last 8 years. You've tried everything you can to get through to them but nothing has worked. You've forced them into rehab but to no avail. They can not hold down a job and is stealing from you to support their habit. Your parental instinct is to keep trying and hoping that maybe they will straighten up because you love them so much and that is your baby. You know in your heart that you are enabling them but you can't bring yourself to put the child out in order to make them accountable for their own actions. I know how hard that is but that tough love is necessary. You are not doing them any favors by allowing them to continue this behavior. As long as you keep supporting them they have no reason to change. Think about it, you supply their food and shelter and cash from the sale of the stolen goods from your house or purse. What possible reason do they have for wanting to change that behavior?

I don't have to be a parent to know that when you are divorced it is NEVER OK to talk bad about the other parent in front of that child. Never. No matter how difficult it is, you should always hold your tongue and allow the child to develop his or her own relationship with that parent. They will figure out who their mother or father is all on their own.

So please parents, do not discard someone by saying "Oh you don't have a child so you don't understand." because that won't fly anymore. It does not take a genius to know just how difficult it is to raise a child. After all, we've all been children ourselves.

10 People saying stuff:

Red Shoes said...

I totally agree with you... sometimes, we parents are 'too close to the fire' to be objective about things; our proximity to the problem (along with being the parent) makes us subjective... too subjective.

One of the points of contention in my divorce was "parenting skills." I didn't agree with my then-spouse that beating the kids for anything they did for which she did not agree was fair...

Sometimes, I think people use the same parenting skills with which they were raised. If that is the case, I hope my son and daughter, when they become parents, will err more with my ideology on parenting than their Mom's... she was just mean.

~shoes~

Jeni said...

BINGO! You are right on target there! Counselors -trained individuals -can be very effective at helping people just because -like you -they are removed from the problem and can then see the various sides, angles of a situation and they don't have that close connection that parents have but often can't close it off to be effective. You were once a child same as all of us and you had parents who did for you what they could and part of what they did was teaching you how to survey a situation and learn how best to react to it -whether it be at work, at leisure or observing a friend's problems and being able to gauge things quite well because you know this other stuff and aren't all tangled in the web of close feelings. So don't let anyone tell you that you can't empathize and understand because oh yes you can!

Senorita said...

Amen ! I don't have children of my own either, and someone needed to write this post.

Renaissance Woman said...

Great post! And I don't have children...and I do want them so badly. But I work with kids all day long and can safely say that you don't have to a kid to get it...

Anonymous said...

Word

Sandi McBride said...

Your insight is valuable whether you have children or not. Not all parents have that love of their children that you describe, more's the pity (Susan Smith of Union,SC comes to mind). I for one have always felt that you don't always take the word of the angel you reared over the angel you didn't. Angels lie too! I think I am a good parent, from my point of view, but maybe not so much from someone elses (say, either of the two angels I brought into this world, lol). Great post from you Tee!
hugs
Sandi

Karen said...

I am of the book that I don't have a child so I really don't care. I don't want to hear a zillion stories about your kids.

You are correct though. You can understand without having given birth.

Anna said...

Wow looks like someone pissed you off, lol.

Well, I have a little confession to make, I always thought that I knew everything when I didn't have any children, but then when my bambino arrived, I couldn't believe how little I new. I was young and naive, and sometimes I still don't know what I am doing, but doing my best. The thing is that each child is unique and different, and every family will always have to figure out what's best for the child, how to handle issues. The beautiful thing is that whoever designed us or created us, give us those wonderful genes to guide us even when we don't have children. We come pre-built, lol. I am sure that you do know how is to love a child or how to take care of one, you just cannot claim the complete as a parent experience, but I am sure that you been exposed to children one way or the other. I didn't have any too, and probably very little now, only 2.5 years, lol.

Whoever said something like that to you, should never said that, I don't thing this is even polite.

BTW thanks for visiting my story blog, long time no see. Anna :)

tanyetta said...

LOL!! I really like Karen's comment. I am a parent but, I don't go on and on about my kids just for the sake of opening my mouth.
@Tee-I completely agree with you. Super Nanny doesn't have any kids of her own and from what I can tell, she has made a HUGE difference in a lot of families. Thank You for posting this. You know me, I am always asking for advice and tips! GREAT POST!!!

imbeingheldhostage said...

So seriously, how do you really feel? ;-)