Thursday, June 25, 2009

Raising Children In Today's Society

I am going to apologize in advance if this blog post is slightly buzzy. I got to leave work early on Tuesday due to a power outage and I spent the entire day (11am to 10pm) in my pool in the sun. Wednesday was a Quebec Holiday (They call it St. Jean Baptise, a day they get to liberate themselves but I call it French Separatist Holiday...hey I don't mind.. I get a free day off because of them) and again, I spent the entire day in the pool in the sun. I'm exhausted, I'm sun burnt, and I want to fall asleep at my desk but I can't help myself. I have to get some things off my chest.

Please forgive me if this post is buzzy and lack my usual wit and off the wall comments.

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Raising kids is hard. It's always been hard but I think its getting harder and harder with each passing day. How can I say this when I don't even have kids yet? Because I'm a very observant person and I notice thing. I watch the trends and I like to keep up with the kids in my family (combining mine and George's family we probably have about 50 kids under the age of 18). I know that listening to parenting advice from someone with no kids sounds foolish but you know what...I know what I'm talking about.

My husband is 15 years older than me therefore the people in that particular circle of friends are all older and have teen aged kids. When the parents talk to the children the kids often shoot back with something like "Gosh, you dint even remember what its like to be a teenager. Times have changed". That's when I pipe in with something along the lines of "Well, I've been there pretty recently and what you are asking for is completely out of line". The kids from that circle of friends/family respect me because I am closer in age to them and I kind of walk that thin line of authority and friend. I try to see things from their perspective and from the parent's perspective. I play the Devil's Advocate for both sides.

Well recently I'm finding that this balance can't exist anymore. I can't be a Devil's Advocate for the kids anymore. They want crazy ass unreasonable things. They have no respect for their families, their friends, and most importantly for themselves.

One of my posts from Monday mentioned how one of the boys had a girlfriend who cheated on him...and how he is willing to sweep that under a rug which is something I can not stand. But I'm not supposed to know about this so I can't say anything to the kid right? I'd be betraying A LOT of people by being all "hey I heard your girlfriend is a slut..."

Well we had a pool party at my house for the above mentioned French Separatist holiday. The boy, Dan, asked me if he could invite his girlfriend, Marie, over to my house. Since I know nothing, I couldn't very well say no. I said yes. The girlfriend had her parents drop her off and then that's when I got disgusted.

Shortly after being at my house, Marie strips down to her swim suit in order to go swimming (normal) and that's when I notice a tattoo on her thigh/butt area (not normal). Let me explain why its NOT normal. MARIE IS 15 YEARS OLD. Do you know what that means? It means that Marie's mother or father went with her and signed a paper saying that they allow the tattoo parlor to permanently ink their child. 15. Fucking 15 years old. FIFTEEN! At 15 years old I was too fickle to thin of something that I'd want to be on my body for the rest of my life...I still am. A 15 year old girl with a tattoo is TRASHY. I don't care if I get hate mail about this. It's TRASHY. It's DIRTY & DISGUSTING.

Then I thought about. One one hand these parents have Marie in a private school that they pay good money for, she is getting top marks in all of her classes, and they encourage her to do well in school. Bravo for them. It's great right? But on the other hand they take their kid to get tattooed. Are you not sending different messages to your child? They also allow Dan to spend the night at their house...in the basement....alone with their daughter. There are two completely different messages being sent to this kid. Basically, do well in school and you can be as skanky as you want to be...but you have to get good marks!?

But wait, it goes on! After being in my pool for a while they start to make out. Um, there are 25 people at my house. A good portion of them are younger (11 to 16) not to mention Dan's FAMILY MEMBERS. I told my husband to say something since it would make more sense coming from him. He said kids are kids and if Dan's parents are going to say anything why should he? I said, "Because its your house and I don't approve. I don't care if his parents don't care if they are making out. My house my rules." Hubby says nothing because he doesn't want to be the bad guy.

Instead of telling Dan and Marie and embarrassing them I told Dan's mom that I want her to talk to them to stop making out in my pool, around my pool, in my house or whatever. It is disrespectful to my home, myself, my husband, his cousins, and most importantly, his mother. No mother wants to see her kid making out. I'm sorry but I'm 27 (for 3 more days...) and I don't make out with my husband in front of my mother. I have respect for myself, my parents, and their rules. I told Dan's mom that I thought that both kids were being disrespectful. She told them and they stopped. But that's when I thought of something.

When I was younger and would go to my boyfriend's house for the first few times I was so timid. I barely wanted to hold my boyfriend's hand in front of his parents and meanwhile Marie thinks its perfectly fine to make out with her boyfriend at some one's house that she'd never met. Who does that? Who meets someone at their house and then makes out right there in the pool in front of 23 other people!? WHO?!?!

Apparently kids in today's society. They see NOTHING wrong with that. They think its normal or some way of claiming the boy or girl as their own. It's disgusting and will NOT be tolerated in my home. The same rules I'll have for my children extend to my nieces and nephews and friend's children. This is my home, not some random brothel.

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The way kids dress today is unnerving. Okay, not all kids but a lot of kids. Everything is so short and so revealing. It leaves nothing to the imagination (not that people should be imaging what a 15 year old girl looks like underneath her clothes) and to put it bluntly, is cheap looking.

I understand that parents don't really go shopping with their teenagers anymore because the teens don't want to be at the mall with their parents but when you kid comes home with shopping bags do you not check what is in there? Daisy dukes aren't right for anyone, especially young teenagers. Stilettos with metal spikes..NOPE! Those should be reserved for the strippers, not the teenagers. Short ruffly skirts that basically only hide the pounai hairs is NOT right for a child.

Parents when your kids come home you MUST go through their bags and see what they purchased. Do you really want your kid to be walking to the ice cream parlor down the street from your house and everyone thinking your kid is a street walker? Should girls that young dress so provocatively? I don't think so. Kids need to be covered up. I agree they can't walk around in turtle necks and jeans all day but why can't they get normal shorts instead of those daisy dukes? Why can't their skirts come a little lower on their thighs? Why are their tank tops so low cut and tight?

A huge problem in what kids wear is when the parents don't agree. If dad is saying that something shouldn't be in their house because its inappropriate and then mom says well all the kids are wearing it, its normal, let them express themselves...the kids never get the right idea. They think dad is wrong and a tyrant bastard while mom is totally awesome and cool.

You are sending mixed messages to your children. Get with your spouse and speak about what is and isn't allowed in your house and enforce the rules. Or let the kid buy what they want and don't let them wear it outside of their bedroom.


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I'll keep this section very short. You should always set an example for your child. I am sorry but you cannot drink, get drunk and then get behind the wheel of the car and preach to your kids about drinking and driving. Lead by example.

My husband likes to drink his Chivas and you know what...I don't mind. He never drinks and drives. I'm always the sober one when we go out because I'm not really a big drinker. I can have fun naturally without getting drunk off of my tree. I told him that once we have children he can't drink to the point where he is drunk. The last thing I want is for my child to turn around and tell me "Mommy, why is daddy always drunk?" Or for my teen aged son to tell me, "Well why can't I have a drink, dad has had 4 and Uncle Tony had 6". I believe in leading by example.

Set an example for your children and practice what you preach. Don't be a hypocrite.


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A blogger Constant Complainer commented on my last post Even More Cheating, about how TV shows such as Sex and the City promote this kind of behaviour. In a way I agree and in a way I don't agree. In a post on Complainer's website I mentioned how TV shows, movies, news, video games, music etc CANNOT be used as an excuse for violence or stupidity.

When I was growing up my parents taught me the difference between a TV show and real life. I never got the impression that if I wiggled my nose that something could appear. I never thought that I could spin/roll myself into a blue ball of fury and collect coins and jump on my enemies and be a winner. I never thought that the shows on HBO were real and never wanted to model my life off of them. Growing up I had cable in my room. Probably from the time I was 6 years old. My parents never felt the need to put those parental supervision things on my tv. They knew that I knew what I should and shouldn't be watching. As I got older I would stop with the Nick Jr., Nickeloden, and Nick at Night and went over to Showtime, Cinamax, and HBO. I always knew what I was watching and new it was fiction (although some of the things happen all the time in real life settings (Sex and the City, OZ, Dangerous Women).

I would never go to prison and shank someone because "Beecher did it to Keller", and I wouldn't cheat on my husband because "Big did it with Carrie". So using a tv show, movie or anything along those lines as an excuse is incredibly absurd. These things are dramatized for more and more ratings.

People have to learn how to think for themselves.



The end. Please comment! :)

12 comments:

  1. AMEN!! I whole heartedly agree with everything you just said. Absolutely and completely.

    Let me just say, I had originally wanted to be a high school English or Science teacher, but after observing the way high school students (particularly girls) act, dress, talk, behave, etc... I couldnt do. I'd be disgusted and ashamed every day of my life.

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  2. I agree with alot of what you have to say. However, keep in mind that, as you get older you sound more and more "cranky" and "absurd" and "old" and "not cool" to teenagers.

    The world turns, and everyone makes mistakes, especially when they're 15.

    Leading by example is well and great, but having a good talk with that girl would probably be a good idea.

    Also, tell her parents to grow some ballz. Parents like that piss me off.

    If you're going to leave a kid to his/her own means, then you've already given up on them before they could even begin to lead a happy productive and safe life.

    Sadly, familys whos grandparents were not close to the parents, dont know how to act around their children. They leave a safe distance or "wall" between them and their children, one that they do not know how to breach (or when to).

    Being the son of immigrants, my parents were very close to everything I did. The same cannot be said for many families, and that's how the kids turn up tramping around and doing whatever they please.

    I think the very fabric of society is breaking down. When the family unit takes a hit, our society takes a hit. Imagine a world where parents barely control their children. Exactly. Then it's left up to the schools to teach kids right from wrong. Good luck with that! Besides, teachers have better things to do than babysit your immature teenagers.

    S.

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  3. Jenny, this was a great post. It was very thought provoking.

    I appreciate the shout out by the way and link to my post. I knew the comment I made about SATC may not be popular with all of your readers, but I think there's a minor corelation there with what I said about how you described some of desensitized kids.

    When I was in high school, I remember going to my girlfriend's house and giving her a hug (or leaning on her) in her house and her mom told us to knock it off. I respected that and was embarassed with my behavior even though it may not have been too terrible. But yeah, like you said, this making-out in the pool thing (or even at your house) is unacceptable. What also gets me riled up is that's where it starts. But then these young kids are having s*x either because they think they have to or because they think it's the cool thing to do. I heard some idiots like this at Subway the other day talking about how it's not cool to be a virgin. Are you effing kidding me.

    I have a four-year-old daughter and this stuff scares the heck out of me. I'm a good parent, but there's a lot of terrible ones out there. Their kid might try to influence my kid.

    OK, I'm rambling. But society is on a decline. You see it with elected officials. You see it with everyone wanting to sue each other. You see it with lewd behavior and dress.

    Ug!

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  4. all of my clients always ask me why i don't have kids. i'm 26. at first i would be like "i'm sorry, i don't understand the question." but for some it's expected or it's what they want at a young age. for others (like me), it's not the time.

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  5. Wow Jenny. This was quite a lot for me to read and take in (I just slept for 12 hours and am still tired...).

    I remember when I was 14, my 14 year old cousin really wanted to get a tattoo. So we went to the tattoo parlor and they didn't even I.D. us. She got her tattoo and we went out for lunch after. I'm not trying to defend Marie, but maybe her parents didn't know she got the tattoo until after the fact?

    I can tell you right now, when I was 15 I was not having sleepovers with any guys. I couldn't imagine my teenagers being allowed to have co-ed sleepovers at such a young age.

    I went to an all-girls private high school. If you applied yourself, you got the best possible education in Halifax (clearly I just gave away what high school I went to as Halifax is a small city). But so many girls' parents didn't care what their daughters did. And those were the types of girls who gave girls in uniforms (the kilt, the knee socks, the white button up and the prissy sweaters, sometimes blazers) a really bad, skanky rep. These girls would talk about who they slept with and in front of who (yes, these girls would have sex so everyone could watch). And their parents would be gone or would be the ones to brings them to Planned Parenthood to get another abortion.

    I still don't wear clothes that they wear today. I mean, I had shirts that were strictly for going out but they don't even compare to some of the shirts I see girls wearing around at Busch Gardens. And sometimes I'll see little 11 year olds wears low cut shirts and tiny shorts. They have nothing to show so I'm guessing their parents think it's ok since they're still flat chested. But what happens when that changes?!

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  6. Thanks for the comments everyone :)

    I'll start from the bottom up.

    Heather- In Montreal you HAVE to have a parent present if you are under age. They are extremely strict about that and if Marie went somewhere they didn't ID her then I'm even more disgusted because its probably not a place you'd want to get a tattoo from! Marie's parents know. They let her do ANYTHING she wants. It's actually very sad.

    You bring up an interesting point about being flat chested so it being okay. When I was younger, I worked at my parents outdoor fruit market on the weekend. I'd wear sports bras and short short. I had no body. No boobs, no curves nothing. I was a very late developer.

    When I came back to Texas for a visit at 19 years old I found a pair of my shorts and I put them on to go out and have coffee with a friend. My father freaked. He made me change shorts....AT 19 YEARS OLD! I was furious and when I got home I asked him why, he said at 17 I didn't have the body I had now at 19. He also pointed out that I was allowed to wear sports bras and short shorts to work where it was over 100 degrees. I wasn't ever allowed to go to the mall or grocery store like that.

    Like you said, you have clubbing clothes and you have everyday clothes. These kids now a days go to school as if its a club...that they aren't even old enough to get into!!

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  7. Bald- I hate that question more than anything. I'm about to be 28, have been married a year and a half and everyone always asks that. I hate it.

    You never know if the couple doesn't want kids EVER. If the couple is waiting a while. If the couple is trying and can't get pregnant. There are so many things that I just find its rude question to ask.

    When I get asked that question I'll ask something like, "So when are you planning on divorcing that asshole you are with?" "When are you planning on dropping those new 50 pounds you've aquired since giving birth to your son?" "Oh I'll have a baby when you settle down and get married" or something along those lines. If you want to make me feel uncomfortable and on the spot, I'll do the same to you.

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  8. CC-- You are 100% right. Society is on a downfall and part of that reason is that the parents are always trying to defend their children's actions no matter how bad it is.

    They'll defend the clothes they wear by saying that its the only thing available in stores now a days. They'll defend the making out giving the excuse that "but they are kids".

    My friend brought over two CDs of pictures from the pool party and on it were a few pictures of Don and Marie making out. The mother asked me "why would someone take pictures like that". I asked, "Why would they do something like that in front of everyone to see". Of course I got the typical they are just kids story and I told her flat out, "Don may feel more comfortable here because he comes over often, knows everyone here, and is family but what about Marie? It's her first time in my house and shes making out on my couch, in my pool, on my patio furniture? Hell when I would go to my boyfriends families homes I would NEVER make out. I'd barely even let him hold my hand!" She then told me that she didn't either in front of her parents or her boyfriends parents but that times have changed. Society has changed....

    Yes, because we have LET it change. We now accept things that we used to think was unacceptable.

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  9. LGOE -- I am also a child of an immigrant as are the parents of these children that I am talking about. I don't think a lot of it has to do with being immigrant or not.

    I grew up in the US with a lot of Americans that were just that...American. Their great great great great great grandparents were the ones who came from all over. A lot of the kids were good and a lot of the kids were bad. It had to do with parenting but not where the parents came from.

    My children will not be children of immigrants and believe me they will have rules, morals, values, and RESPECT. I don't want my children to grow up and have reputations of being skanks, pot heads, trouble makers etc.

    Parents need to be their children's friends...but they need to be the parents FIRST and FOREMOST.

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  10. The Ashes -- It's very sad that you'd change your career path because of the way that children are behaving. If you are really interested in being a school teacher, you should do it. Who knows, you might actually be able to postively influence these children because Lord knows they need some positive influences!

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  11. Jenny, I forgot how well you write and put your thoughts into words when it comes to serious issues. I miss reading your writing! Sorry I can´t post more feedback, but what a great post (didn´t expect otherwise of course). I have to start following your blog more frequently.
    Love,
    Saskia

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  12. Jenny, speaking as a parent, this is one of those subjects that scare me. I have two daughters. I hold their hearts and affections right now, along with their daddy, and we do our best to teach them right and wrong and how to love and forgive and all that stuff that makes us good humans. However, I know that there will come a day when their hearts and affections will be placed on a boy that I will most likely have no knowledge of. I won't know how he was raised, how his mama taught him to treat women, how his daddy taught him to be a man. I won't know if someone taught him to treat women with respect and honor. I won't know if he will just want to use my children, to degrade them, to fondle them, to take away their purity. I won't know if he's a beater, a drug user, an addict of some sort, a harmer. And that's one of those issues I have to tuck away into a special envelope inside of me of "Stuff I Can't Control".

    Speaking as a woman, this post makes me so sad, mostly because there are so many women out there that would allow themselves to be treated so vicously by another human being and are not being taught to choose wisely. We are pretty much shouted at by the time we are walking that we are to love, and love soon. We are considered weird if we keep ourselves aloof, or not splashing ourselves around. We're called square. So, we go with the flow, and we date boys that look fun, who pay us a bit of attention, that seem to fill a hole. And we begin a pattern that is so hard to break. We are sad. And we look sad to others.

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