Have you ever noticed that when a kid’s behavior is the worst, the parents yell the loudest at defending them? They throw out all kinds of phrases, like “how dare you?” and “how would you like it if someone said something like that about your child?” Well, most of the time my child wouldn’t act like that because they don’t get any free passes from me.
For example, if my kids do something stupid at school and get caught, I never blame the teacher. Not that teachers are perfect, but then again, neither are my kids. They’re young. By definition, they’re going to screw up.
If they do something rude to a friend, I don’t sugar-coat it. I tell them exactly what they did wrong and encourage them to make amends immediately. I don’t encourage them to make excuses. If I saw a video on YouTube of my kid beating up another kid, I’d be disgusted. If I heard my kid was bullying, I’d put a stop to it, even if it meant my kid never rode the bus or stepped foot outside my house.
If my kids want to drive, they have to get a job first, because if they get a ticket, they will pay it themselves. I’m not going to hire a lawyer to get them off — do the crime, do the time. Pay your own damn tickets.
If they don’t study for a test and blow it, I don’t commiserate. They should have taken responsibility for being prepared. And I’m always available to help with homework or test prep.
And so you know what happens? They are respectful of their teachers even when they’re furious with them (well, Sheri …), which means one day when the boss is yelling, they’ll be able to hold it together. They don’t speed as much, because they don’t want half a paycheck going to the city. And by and large, they get their homework done before they hang out with friends, not because Big Bad Mom tells them to, but because they see how dumb it is not to. I don’t have to breathe down their necks because I gave them responsibility and ownership long ago. Yeah, some people think I give my kids too much freedom. But because I’ve always given them the responsibility that goes with it, they’re not growing up to be little sh**s, they’re just growing up. Quite nicely.