What makes a good parent?
Having 3 boys myself, I often wonder if I am getting it right. My eldest is at university now and we are often complemented on his .. what? His knowing what he wants in life, working hard to get it, supporting us and the wee ones by running errands, driving them back and forth, being a trainer for the local football team (the one his youngest brother plays in). Generally speaking having his head screwed on and acting very mature for his age (soon to be 21).
But is that really down to Mr CB and myself? I hope so!! We brought him up to work for his goals in life, correction, to actually have goals in life. Needless to say we spoiled him in a way too, he never wanted for necessities, he did get stuff on top, too, within our means of course. But we also tought him that everything we have and bought we worked for and we did so damn hard. We also brought him up to respect adults and people in general, to show respect (also at times, when he is tired…. ;-)).
Our wee ones, well, I´d like to say that we are applying the same “technic” in their upbringing but at times it feels that it is so much harder. I don´t know if this is down to me working long and hard hours now, naturally, I do not have as much time for them as I would like and/or as I had with my eldest. Saying that, times have changed as well. School is harder for kids nowadays, much harder than even for their brother a couple of years ago. Respect is an unknown entity at our local schools, much as the teachers try, parents support of teachers is often little or none, making it that bit harder to teach.
Still, we´ve had good comments about my wee ones, too, they are charming (when they want to), clever (usually when backed up against a wall of report cards coming up 😉 ), certainly good-looking if I may say so myself, witty and most importantly, healthy!
So why did I entitle this post parental failure you might ask?
Because right in front of my door step, within my immediate family, the story is different..
My nephew is the same age as my eldest. He never wanted for anything in life, be it necessities or simply anything he wanted, he got it.
If he was not good at something, if he failed or even if he could not be bothered to stick with something, he quit and his parents supported him, making feeble excuses along the way. It was never his fault, always someone elses. He never wanted for money, a brand new car for his 18th birthday, holidays, expensive clothing. What he did miss out on were the little and yet so important things. Hugs, kisses and the feeling of being good at something, being given the feeling of being good at something.
I admit, at times I looked at them and felt sad, sad for my boys that I had to say no sometimes, when they wanted something. More so, sad when my boys asked why we couldn´t go on holidays because, despite working our A… off, money is tight, probably always will be.
But now, looking at them, and my nephew in particular, I don´t feel sad for my kids but for them. He´s failed in his school, despite 2nd attempts, he quit his apprenticeship – it´s all too much work and how can they ask him to do mundane jobs, first, shouldn´t he start at the top?
What´s more, he´s developed a gambling habit.
And what does my immediate family do? Retreat to their foreign holiday home over Christmas – they are so stressed, they need a break – without him of course, you can´t force a 20-year-old to tag along.
He´s still got the car at his disposal, money in his pocket – obviously enough to feed his habit, he is hoping to start a new apprenticeship at the end of the year – HOPING – yeah, right, why stick with this one if life´s soo good for him now. No responsibilities, just fun.
The point I am making, if there is a point to my confusing thoughts above, money isn´t everything in life and if my family had spend less time feeling above themselves and everyone else and more time in showing a real interest in their kid, teaching him values in life, to appreciate money instead of shoving it up his… then they probably wouldn´t be in this situation now.
And yes, I know that sounds horrible but truth to be known, I blame the parents, not the kid.