We live in a different time than when I grew up. Yes, I know I sound like that old curmudgeon who says “back in my day”. The truth is that I grew up a lot different than my kids do today and WAY different from most kids today. I was raised to respect my elders and to speak only when spoken to. These days kids feel like they should be the center of attention in a room full of adults and we adults let them do this. That’s just one example how we are screwing up this generation. Prepare yourself for an old man ranting…you’ve been warned.
I was born in the mid 1970’s and grew up in the 80’s. My parents were somewhat strict but not overly. My dad instilled in me a strong work ethic. I had chores from a young age and I learned very quickly that taking responsibility for your mistakes earned you the right to take credit for your triumphs.
Much of this is completely foreign to the way the current generation is being brought up. I see families that have family meetings and everyone has a vote. That’s not my house. My house is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. I am a dictator dad. My children do not get a vote. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to their input but at the end of the day I make the decision. Before you get all upset, no I didn’t forget my wife. I guess to be more accurate you would call it a shared dictatorship. She and I rule together but ultimately I have the final say. This isn’t a popular view these days but it is Biblical.
My kids often think I’m being unreasonable. For instance, my teenage daughter thinks I’m being unreasonable quite often when it comes to the clothes she wears. I’m sorry, but if I think the shorts are too short or the pants are too tight…then you aren’t wearing them. That’s my right AND responsibility as a father. Dictator dad has spoken. Too often I see kids at the mall (with their parents) and they look like they just left a Whitesnake video (kids, you can ask your parents who Whitesnake is).
A big point of contention with my boys is their bedtime. I hear it all the time “Why do we have a bedtime during the summer?”. They point out that their friends don’t have a bedtime. At this point, I inform them that I don’t care what their friends do…but I make the rules in this house (there’s that dictator dad coming out again).
So why do I do this? Is it because I’m evil and want my children to be miserable? No, it’s because I love them and I know what’s best for them. I’d love my kids to like me and want to hang out with me….but that’s not my driving force. Too many parents today want to be friends with their kids and they make concessions to make their kids like them. I refuse to do that. What that means is that there are times when they absolutely hate me. I don’t care. My job is to love them, provide for them, protect them, and raise them up to be productive members of society.
I will not compromise on what I think is right when it comes to my kids. Parents need to be prepared to say NO to their children today and not worry about hurting their feelings or “damaging their self-esteem”. I know there are many opinions on parenting approaches…I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.