As Cousin Rosie Belle from Robertsdale was finalizing her Thanksgiving menu, she received a call from her husband’s 3rd cousin in Prattville who informed her that little Brooklyn-Savannah wouldn’t be eating the turkey or dressing, or for that matter, any pumpkin pie at this year’s family get-together. “Oh no!” exclaimed Rosie Belle, “Does she have allergies?”
“No, she just doesn’t like that kind of food and will cry if I make her eat it, so could you make something else for her?”
“I liked to have jumped through that phone and jacked that woman to Jesus” said Rosie Belle.
“Kids these days are making all the decisions in the family and no one has the guts to stand up to them. On top of that, if you’re going to cave-in and let them eat something different from everyone else, at least have the decency to provide it yourself.”
I gave my cousin a big “amen sister,” then got out of her way.
Wanting to keep the peace, since everyone was still testy from the elections, Rosie Belle refrained from unloading her silver tongue and told Brooklyn-Savannah’s mother there’d be peanut butter and jelly on hand. The distant cousin bristled at that option, but said they’d be there, nonetheless.
I have to agree with Rosie Belle, it always baffles me when families let their children be the boss. Parents need to understand that if they allow their 4-year-old to call the shots, they’ll soon awaken to a 16-year-old dictator ruling their house.
Sure, everyone needs to exercise some sort of authority in their lives, but children can achieve a feeling of control and gain decision making experience with age-appropriate options like, which shirt to wear, or how to comb their hair. As they get older, they can decide which sport to try or which instrument to play.
“But Mom!” whined little Lola Mae, “I want to go to the rock-n-roll church that serves Nutter Butters for communion.”
“Of course you do, darling,” replied her wise mother. “You’d also love it if I turned into Mary Poppins and gave you a spoon full of sugar every time the clock chimed, but that’s not going to happen either.”
Over-the-top birthday parties that break the bank, a limousine to parade the fourth grade graduate around town in honor of his perfect “B” average, not having to visit grandma because it’s so “boring” and eating nothing but macaroni and cheese for six straight years are all the result of bossy children and weak parents.
I read about a father who was horribly upset because his preteens were texting on their phones like zombies instead of engaging in conversation as he drove them to school. Call me crazy, but how about telling them to put the phones away? The title of “Father” comes with some privileges, you know. “Hey everybody, I have a new rule. From now on, you can’t use your phone in the mornings until we get to the corner of Authority and Respect.” The timid may ask, “Oh dear, what if they don’t comply?” That’s easy. Take away their phones. Ta-da! “Oh, but I couldn’t do that!” Sure you can. Who pays for the phone? “But they’ll whine and argue and I don’t like conflict.” Then you shouldn’t have had children, because conflict is every child’s middle name, and it’s how they learn, grow and develop character. If they get their way all the time, they may grow up and not know how to graciously deal with defeat, and wouldn’t that be sad?
It’s natural for children to test the limits, and it’s the job of parents to say both “no” and “yes,” at the appropriate times. There’s also a big chance that if Brooklyn-Savannah has no choice other than to eat the Thanksgiving spread, she may discover she actually loves turkey and dressing. If not, I’m sure her mommy will stop by McDonald’s on their way home.