The Word Police are everywhere and I’m not so sure I can raise bail to get out of the hoosegow, and my yesteryear Monopoly “Get Out of Jail” card can’t help as it was never meant to serve the outspoken.
One has to learn to keep one’s mouth shut these days. Just think Donald Sterling!
But it happens to everyone and when it comes to parents, we gotta be careful.
When in in public with your kid(s) be sure to talk nicey-nicey, otherwise some well-meaning person is going to report you to the child protection agency for verbal abuse as you were heard (and recorded) telling the misbehaving miscreant to shut-up or you were going to kick ass.
There was a time, but I guess it’s been long ago, when a parent could utter such threats and, when necessary, carry them out.
I’ve been told on numerous occasions, often during one of my parenting class presentations, “Your kids must hate you.”
“Quite the contrary,” I’m pleased to answer back.
That’s not to say, I didn’t hear that I hate you phrase roll off a lip or two during the teenage years.
But I accepted it as a normal temper tantrum reaction to the enforcement of household rules.
Is parenting about a popularity contest, being liked, being a friend, or is it about helping children develop the wherewithal that will provide them the experiences that lead to life as adults who can cope with the ups and downs of a full range of challenges?
Threats? Rough words? A demanding voice? And the Parent Police.
I know someone whose mother often told her, “I’ll kill your A— and tell God I did it!” Did this friend of mine grow to be an adult with low self-esteem and other issues that are now constantly touted by those who believe in policing parents?
This friend is as well-balanced as the rest of us who grew up under the mantra “Tis not for you to wonder why; tis for you to do or die.”
My mother had a very simple phrase when I misbehaved and, believe me, I was far from an obedient child. All the lady said was, “Meet me in the front closet.”
There she had at her disposal a rack full of wooden hangers! An arsenal.
But come to think of it, Mom didn’t reveal this aspect of her parenting style when she was in public. Her public persona was one of calm and soft words .
Perhaps, back in the day, our Moms called themselves practicing Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy of “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
But troubles for today’s parents aren’t just focused on what they say in public. It is also the Parent Police making reports on what we do at home.
While my friend’s mother never had to tell God about a killing, her Mom most certainly never bothered to spare the rod.
While my mother broke many a wooden hanger swatting my butt in the front closet, there were no social workers I knew of to report her style of discipline to.