It'd be peachy without you

I've learned something very important over the last 6 years.

I don't like other parents.

Ok, let me clarify. I have lots of wonderful friends that are parents - these parents I like. There are lots of other parents that I can readily identify with or feel at ease with - these parents I like.

It's the rest of them: the prima-donna-mom's that force their crying girls into the dance studio because "she will dance and she will like it!"; the parents that do all of their preschooler's 'child led' project without the child's input; the dads that coach little league like it's make or break for their son's future in MLB; the parents that decide the teacher is unreasonable because she didn't want 80 bottle of bubbles coming in for "Spring Fling"; the parents that are peeved the preschool is not "academic" enough; and the ones that wonder what in the world they'll do to amuse their children if they can't quickly find some sort of extracurricular activity - every day of the week. Yes. THESE are the parents that make me cranky.

Instead of launching the giant tirade loaded with specific examples that I had been winding up too, let me ask you this. When is it that our kids get to be kids? When do they get to just sit and play? When do they get to explore the world and learn by experience? When do they get to do the things *they* want to do and build the life they want - not the one you missed?

Yet it's even bigger than that, isn't it? Why do we remove the biggest teacher of all from our children's lives? What's wrong with learning by falling? We do a great disservice to our children when we hand them the world on a platter - when we make it 'easy.' I'm not suggesting strife. I'm saying we all need to learn to get knocked down again so we can figure out how it is one goes about getting back up. It's not an easy thing to watch your child go through, and yet it's a gift that we can give them. That chance to learn they ARE not perfect but they are resilient. It's the one that says they aren't good at everything, but they are great at the most important things:

- Being loved
- Giving love
- Having the courage to go out on that limb
- Having the fortitude to try again and again

The more I grow into these parenting britches, the more soap boxes I find calling me. At times it seems that there are just too many when in truth they are stepping stones to the same box.

This one:

Young minds are sponges - but they absorb best when they're allowed to expand through age appropriate leaning opportunities and in directions they're most interested in going.

You had your childhood. You ran that leg of the race. Your job now is not to carry your children on your back as they toe the starting line Your job is to be the cheerleader holding out the cup of water for them as they run their race.


kate said...

Hi Sandy!

I haven't run into too much of that yet over here. I'm sure it's out there, though. I think you are absolutely right in what kids really need!

Nikki said...

Oh Sandy! I am sooo with you. I purposely try to piss these parents off and you should see what I do to the visiting team parents! ;-D

I hate sports parents the most. Where we live... if it's a little kid, it's all about the soccer the high school? It's football coming out the ears. We rarely hear about any other sport - And forget it if they aren't into sports. Then your child is an alien and must be destroyed. I am 100% for letting kids learn on their own and make their own fun. We don't own fancy ride on toys with batteries to rivial my minivan. We have three acres of nature and any kind of object for pretend that a kid could want. What more does one need?

Sitting said...

THIS! This is why I love reading you. Sing it, sista.

We stayed home today. I cleaned the house. Claire played. Gage wiggled. It was the best day of the week. Rockin' the housewife gig old skool, I am. :)

snowflake said...

BRAVO!!!!! Standing ovation!! I couldn't agree with you more. I blogged about a mother who pushed her little four year old into ballet because mommy wanted her to dance - all the while the child's eyes look dead inside. It is so sad and makes me sick!
I think it is wonderful to just let children enjoy playing, to just be at home. I don't need to entertain my children every second of the day and you know what? They actually like having some down time....

Anonymous said...

You are so so soooo right on, Sandy. I could write a dozen pages in about two minutes, I've seen so much of this nonsense. Instead, I'll just say BENIGN NEGLECT is one of the best things for kids...like most of us were probably raised, LOL. I take my kids only to activities they beg to do, I'd like to do less, LOL. I love being at home, have to make myself take them to activities...but I love when we do nothing. I've scheduled *nothing* for summer, though they really want to do a one-week art camp, so maybe...

Anyway, I have friends that can't stand when one kid goes to a party, what do they do with the other kid? They have constant playdates to fill every second for both kids. Weird, I tell ya.


... Paige said...

Great post. You are right. Children should be given the chance to learn the hard way, well the not so easy way. The best way to learn how to keep your balance on the bike is to fall once or even more.
So many folks don't seem to teach self reliance, and the fact that you can get past things. The only time anyone fails is when they never try again.