September 15, 2004

Getting to "No"

My real-world pal Sparky is in a rage over a recent Newsweek article about the "problems" modern parents are facing in trying to set limits for their children.

Count me in as a fellow-rager. Sparky and I don't see absolutely eye-to-eye on the matter of raising children. (I believe in asserting more academic and social control than she does. My response to the kid who'd rather go surfing than study for his SAT's would be that once he's a grown-up he can spend his life on the beach if he wants but in the meantime it's my job to see that he gets as good an education as possible so that he can reach for higher things if he later wants to.) But I heartily agree with her disgust over this pablum of justification, selfishness, guilt, whining and groupthink.

From the article, it's abundantly clear that the problem is with the parents, not the kids. These are the Boomers, after all, a generation (WARNING: gratuitous overgeneralization approaching) for whom I have a great deal of contempt. Having rejected their own parents' family values and child-rearing techniques, they simply haven't the faintest idea what to do themselves when trying to factor children into their narcissistic worldview. Hence the pig's breakfast they're making of their responsibilities to their own kids and their panicky summons of therapists and other "experts" to provide them a way out. God give me strength.

Sparky is right. Saying "no" really isn't that difficult. (In fact, one of my well-worn Dad phrases is "What part of 'no' are you having trouble understanding?") You simply need to be enough of an adult to sit down with yourself and do some honest thinking about what is truly best for your child over the long run (hint: it ain't keeping up with the neighbors or making sure that you're the kid's "buddy") and then commit yourself to keeping your eye on these long-term goals despite all the distractions around you. In other words, grow up.

Posted by Robert at September 15, 2004 10:22 AM | TrackBack

Right on.
By the way, I'm an avid reader of your site. I was refered there by Instapundit, and i decided to keep coming back. I like it.

Posted by: david at September 15, 2004 10:38 AM

Thanks very much. I hope we continue to please.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at September 15, 2004 11:30 AM

Here, here!! Kudos for telling prents like it is. You should see the looks I get in the street and even from family members when I say no to things that to others are trivial but to me are important in safeguarding our household member's health and sanity.

Thanks for telling it like it IS!!!!

Posted by: michele at September 15, 2004 11:41 AM


Posted by: Kathy at September 15, 2004 11:48 AM


I'm not a parent, but I'm an aunt and I've already employed "no" quite often and effectively with my 17 month old niece. I love "no."

Posted by: jen at September 15, 2004 12:16 PM

Thanks again. As you can tell, this is a subject about which I have some very strong opinions.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at September 15, 2004 02:36 PM

Well said!
As to our point of disagreement, I'd say that we are disagreeing on the means of education -- I completely agree that as a parent its our job to see our children get the best possible education. I question whether the best education is necessarily a prestigious college, assuming thats the point of SAT test prep, if the child has not chosen it for herself [and I have no problem with the "generic he" its just we both happen to have only female offspring]

Posted by: Sparky at September 15, 2004 04:21 PM

Yes, your characterization of our disagreement is right. Although the business about "prestigious" schools is a whole different can of worms with me. There are a great many "top" schools I wouldn't waste my money on that trade on their names while at the same time peddling academic mush.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at September 15, 2004 05:01 PM

You got that right -- what is a 'top' school anyway? You can binge drink at any college.

Posted by: Sparky at September 16, 2004 04:34 PM

SAT Test

Posted by: SAT TEST at November 9, 2004 11:09 PM
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