Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Kid IS That Special

A few days ago, I read this article, erm opinion, titled "You're Kids Aren't That Special" on CNN. In it, a gentleman of mature age describes how he was never the greatest of parents, and was also an alcoholic, but he'd like to give his two cents about parents these days.

I've been mulling his opinion for a few days now, trying to decide if I agree, and I've decided: I'm pretty sure I'd like to punch him in the face (metaphorically speaking, of course).

To be clear, I've certainly encountered my share of parents that I'd like to grab by the shoulders and ask, "What the hell are you doing?" Children running amok in a department store, pushing and shoving other kids at the playground, generally raising havoc. It is true that some parents really do need a reality check.

However, raising kids today is nothing like raising kids 20, 30, 40+ years ago. Parents are absolutely bombarded with often conflicting messages about the best way to raise our children. Let them cry it out, don't let them cry it out, give them free expression, don't give them free expression, buy intelligence-enhancing toys, NO blocks are the way to go!

Along the way, more than a few of us have gotten confused. We all just want to do what is best, we're just not all sure what that is. One thing many of us cling to is the notion that our children should know that we think they are special. It gives them confidence in a scary world, something some of us wish we had more of.

And, by the way, my kid is that special. That's way he calls me Mom, it's my job to think he's that special. No, that doesn't give him license to act poorly in public, but young children can't be reasoned with and I don't know of a single parent who hasn't dealt with less-than-perfect children while glaring faces look on. There is nothing we fear more than a miserly old man scowling down our back when our child is throwing a fit at a restaurant, or on an airplane, or in print on CNN.

Maybe Mr. Cafferty forgot about the time his young children flung spaghetti at Grandma's or had a meltdown at Woolworth's. Or maybe, he's stuck on his own childhood memories, "I remember as a kid I was expected to behave myself out in public or suffer the wrath of one very angry father."

Perhaps that's why he's become an abject old man with a stick up his ass. Just sayin'.