Parenting Today is SOOOOOOO different from when I was growing up. In some situations where my mother would’ve knocked my teeth out, me being the parent in a similar situation wouldn’t handle it like that, I find out the facts then issue out the punishment. In some situations a man needs to be there to guide the boy into a man. I did have positive male role models, but it’s nothing like having a father in the house. Sometimes, my girls just want to be around me, they have no reason, they just want to irritate Daddy. I sit back and wonder if I would’ve done that if my dad stayed in the picture? I could joke around with my mother, but she had to be in the right mood, right time of day and right weather. The stars had to be aligned to joke around with her. She was strict. I didn’t experience a lot growing up, but I did a lot of growing up when I joined the Army. Let me paint a picture for you………..I think I’m about 13 years old and my mother has some friends over. They are bar-b-queing, playing cards, all kinds of fun stuff. I open the refrigerator and I see this odd shaped bottle in the bottom bin, I remember it was peach in color and it said fuzzy navel. I looked at it and said, I wonder what this tastes like. Not knowing that my mother was right behind me, I think right at that moment I died and came back to life. She said, “oh so you want to taste it?” I remember there were 6. She took all 6 of them and poured them in the sink and said, it was a wine cooler and I didn’t have any business wondering what it was. Now let’s fast forward to 2016 and my oldest daughter sees a beer in the refrigerator and asks the same question? How would I handle it? I would let her taste it. Some may say it’s a bad parenting move, but beer doesn’t taste good. Everybody knows that. Who drinks beer for the taste? No one, you drink it to get a buzz. She’ll see how bad it tastes and that would be a memory should would never ever forget. I would much rather her taste the beer in front of me and making the conscious decision to never drink it, than her succumbing to peer pressure to drink a 6-pack.
I hope you don’t think I am rambling, I am just trying to compare parenting styles. It sucks sometimes when my girls ask me questions about certain situations and I don’t have an answer for them, because I didn’t experience it at their age. I always say, “go ask your mother.” I think that I was sheltered growing up. Everybody wanted to protect me, keep me away from this, etc. I learned a lot of hard lessons well into my twenties. I’m not saying my upbringing was bad, it’s just that I don’t want my girls to feel like I feel now, emptiness. I wonder how my mother feels about it? I don’t want my girls to grow up too fast, but I don’t want them to say my parents didn’t set the right example for me. My wife and I try to set the right example for our girls, but hey, we’re not perfect, no one on this earth is. I’ve said all that to say this, parenting is a learning process. No parent is better than the other when they are doing all they can to do right by their kids. Parenting styles are different. I’m able to sleep well at night knowing that I did my damnedest to make the right decisions during that day.