brooklyn parents child rearing English free will ice-crem cart no

The power of no

Since I’m recovering of a ridiculously adult case of strep throat that has kept me in bed for the last three days, I’m going to blog about one of the articles that I have read these days. The author criticizes a certain group of parents for their selfishness, self entitlement and over protection of their kids. It’s ironic and funny, but sadly true. The fact that a mom thinks that ice cram carts should not be around playgrounds just so her kid doesn’t beg for ice cream is ridiculous. At least to this poor European mom. Did you really say that you don’t care if someone loses his job so your kid doesn’t cry? Really? And don’t give me the “it says it’s illegal” line. U-turns are also illegal in most places and no one cares around here. You are not supposed to bring balls either. Oh, I caught you, you brought one! And dogs are also banned, but I’m sure that many moms would be perfectly OK with them roaming around their kids. I’m also going to assume that this mom is going to want to ban other parents from bringing bikes and trikes to the park. I’ve had to explain to my son plenty of times that it’s OK to be sad about not being able to play with someone else’s three wheeler at the park, but that he still couldn’t do it. Or that he couldn’t jump from the top of the slide. Or that he couldn’t have an ice cream, for that matter.
One of the most important jobs as a parent is to teach them the meaning of the word “no”. It’s hard, because they whine, and cry, and beg, and pout, and make cute sad faces. But you still have to say no. Not always, obviously. Someone gave me one of the best advice I have gotten early in the game: “pick your battles”. So you have to choose your nos wisely, depending on what you want to base your parenting style on.
The problem of these parents, anyway, is not just the ice cream. Is that they expect the world to revolve around their kids. In Europe, when someone has a baby, the baby is expected to adapt to his/her parents lifestyle and rhythm. I’m sure many an American has felt tempted to call children services while visiting Spain and seeing two year olds playing around a cafeteria table at midnight while their parents are enjoying some time with their friends. That’s because here the parents are the ones who are expected to drastically change their way of life, catering to every single little need their kids can have. And that only brings us self entitled and self absorbed adults, who are starting to arrive to the workforce now with disastrous consequences. Ask recruiters around, and you’ll see. They expect the world in exchange for nothing. No one has taught them better. And I’m not telling that Spain does a great job, either. Discipline is barely known there, by now actually it’s probably banned by law. I will discuss that in another post.
Going back to that poor ice-cream vendor… If your child gets fat, it’s not the ice-cream vendor’s fault, McDonald’s fault or Elmo’s fault. It’s your fault. If you smoke it’s not Philip Morris’s fault. It’s your fault. I could go on, but you get the idea, right? After all I have written about this before. So, let’s reflect a little, take back our share of free will, and start acting like adults. The kids will take care of their part.

Disclaimer: I am by no means referring to all American parents. I neither presume that I’m doing a prefect job. Actually, I asume from the beginning that it is impossible to do a perfect job.

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