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  • Showing only topics with the tag "parenting". Back to normal view
    1. Misguided things our parents did

      I'd like to hear your stories of things your parents did with good intentions that went wrong. This is mine. When I was very young – old enough that I can remember it, but young enough that I...

      I'd like to hear your stories of things your parents did with good intentions that went wrong. This is mine.

      When I was very young – old enough that I can remember it, but young enough that I wasn't going to school full time yet – my mother would volunteer at a local nursing home. I never met my maternal grandmother. I think she died a year or two before I was born. I have a vague memory of meeting my maternal grandfather, and there are photos of it, but he died when I was still quite young. Maybe 4 or 5. I don't believe either of my grandparents were in ill health before their deaths. But I think that their deaths affected my mother and she wanted to help other elderly people, so she started volunteering at the nursing home.

      I have 2 older brothers who by this time were in school most of the day, leaving my mother and me at home alone. I think she also got bored of doing housework and wanted to do something useful with her time. (I can't say I blame her!) I suspect she also thought that the residents of the nursing home would enjoy interacting with a child, even if it wasn't their own grandchild. So she took me with her. I think she wanted me to learn to value elderly people and to learn to value community service.

      Unfortunately, she failed miserably. What I learned was that old people are scary as fuck and I didn't want to be anywhere near them. You this was a nursing home. This was not an "old folks home" where they play canasta, have dances, and engage in elderly hanky panky. This was end-of-life care for people dying of cancer, and the now-preventable diseases like polio. The entire place reeked of vomit, and the old people were hard of hearing and weird. They were almost always in a bed or wheelchair, and usually in hospital gowns. There were often sounds of screaming from other rooms where some patient was in terrible pain from whatever ailment they suffered.

      The residents were all old and gray haired except for one. He was a young man. He had to be younger than my mother who would have been in her early 30s. He was probably 20-ish years old. His hair was not gray - it was dark black and close cut with electric clippers, though not quite a crew cut. He was always in a hospital gown and always in a wheelchair that had an IV pole on it (though I don't recall there ever being anything hanging from it). And while he looked normal, he had some sort of mental deficit where he could only grunt and moan. I would often see him loudly moaning and gesticulating as if trying to point at something to say, "give me that," or "take me over there."

      The one bright side to this place was that there was a woman in a red and white striped uniform who pushed around a cart full of every type of candy imaginable! I wanted so much to get a peanut butter cup or a chocolate bar from her, but no. Her candy was strictly off-limits to me. (I don't know whether it was cost or health that made my mother refuse to ever let me have a piece of candy.)

      I'm pretty sure my mother was trying to teach me the value of both old people and volunteering to help our community. But as a ~4 year old, it was too much. It instead taught me that getting old meant pain, suffering, and eventually death, and that old people are scary as fuck. I didn't want to get old or be around old people. (I eventually got over it and now am nearing being an old person myself. 😉)

      20 votes
    2. PSA for parents/guardians of school-age kids: Many distance/online learning tools are currently available for free through your child's teacher

      For anyone who's caring for school-age children, I want to let you know that nearly every single online education platform/tool is currently offering up their normally premium paid services for...

      For anyone who's caring for school-age children, I want to let you know that nearly every single online education platform/tool is currently offering up their normally premium paid services for free on account of school closures. While some will offer these directly to parents/students, most of them require a teacher to sign up and then have the student account exist underneath them.

      If there is a resource that you or your children would like to access, please email your child's teacher and ask if they'll sign up for it. It'll likely take only two minutes on their end (and they'll be happy to do it! trust me!), but it'll open up a ton of resources for you and your child.

      7 votes
    3. A letter to other parents

      Dear almost all other parents with kids between the ages of 2 and 5 years old, I appreciate all you're doing. You are taking an active role in raising your children, and I applaud you for that......

      Dear almost all other parents with kids between the ages of 2 and 5 years old,

      I appreciate all you're doing. You are taking an active role in raising your children, and I applaud you for that... it's hard to do nowadays.

      But this is a rant that I won't say to your face because I largely believe in parental autonomy. You need to hear it though. It's important, because many of your good intentions are crippling your child's development., and my own kid's. If at the end of this rant, you agree with it and aren't horrified or offended, PM me cause we could be best friends.

      So let's start with the basics: If you take your young child to a children's play area, stop with the hovering. If your child can walk for more than 5 steps without falling on their face, give them some space (like more than 15 feet). Even if they get hurt, that is a teachable moment. If nobody is going to the hospital, don't worry about intervening. Sure they might get some scrapes and bruises, a couple of hard falls....but they will learn and they will grow. Shielding them from everything teaches them nothing. Hovering over your children also scares other children that are not yours, and discourages social interaction. I know this, because I am a very tall man who easily and accidentally terrifies anybody more than a foot shorter than me. It took me a few months to learn this lesson.

      Next, let's talk about sharing. I know everyone wants to instill in their child that it is important to share. It's generally a good principal. But sharing is a two-way street, and every time you intervene whenever there is the slightest possibility of conflict, you're teaching your kid that 'sharing means to give whatever someone else wants to them no matter what' and you're teaching my kid 'you can totally take what other people want with 0 consequences.' My child can utterly dominate children twice as old because of this. I do my best to prevent that from getting instilled, but it's a long uphill battle when myself and my spouse are the only two teaching that lesson.

      Children need to be able to have conflict with their peers. They need space from adults, and learn to interact with others their age. Yes there will be conflict, pain, and suffering. But there will also be joy, reconciliation, and fun. It's part of learning to be a human with empathy. My child learns far more about socializing in 5 minutes of interaction with your kid than 5 hours of interaction with me.

      Next up: Potty training. My kid potty trained at 2 years old. They showed signs of being ready at 18 months, but couldn't quite verbalize well enough at that point. By 2 years, they were completely potty trained during the day. Took a while before being able to get through the night without accidents (tiny bladders have trouble going 8+ hours without peeing), but during the waking day 0 accidents for months on end. I see many of your 4+ year olds still wearing diapers and shitting themselves in the aisles in the grocery store, and it's one of the most depressing things ever. If your kid isn't potty trained by 3, it's your failing, not theirs.

      I know my spouse and I are not the best parents (our stance on screen time is very controversial), but I also can blatantly see when development issues are forming as a result of hovering parents, both in my child and yours. Do these things, and everything will be better for everyone.

      Signed,

      A parent who is judging you harshly.

      22 votes