So, I’ve been chewing on an idea lately, that kinda stems from my original post This is Not a Competition People. But I’m gonna dive a little deeper in a two-part series here–both ideas are too big for one post, so imma address each one individually.
Issue #1–You’re an idiot; or why you no longer deserve to be a parent
See, I’ve gotten in a few verbal scrapes recently on the interwebs over various parenting issues. (I KNOW, right?) And people’s reactions to what I view as whole-hearted common sense is really making me question humanity.
Previously, I discussed how parents kinda compete with one another to qualify for the “Best Fucking Parent in the World” award (at least that what I have to assume–otherwise, why be such a bitch about it, right?) But I want to take this a step further. I think some parents are also competing for an appointment on the Supreme Court of parenting–because the level of vitriol and judginess of some has crossed the line from “I’m a better parent” to “you don’t deserve to be a parent”–which I think we can all agree is the most supreme level of douchebag one can attain.
So, let’s just bring up a noncontroversial topic, like spanking.
I was recently having a
friendly discussion typographical fist fight heated debate about spanking. You know–light afternoon discussion fare. (We had previously been discussing 1st amendment rights, you know–chit chat…) Now, if you don’t know me, let me state this upfront: I do not, nor ever plan to spank my child. It is not a parenting technique that I feel is effective, so I do not wish to engage in it. In all honesty, it’s something both my husband and feel passionately about for personal reasons that ain’t nobody’s binnis but our own–capice? But even if it weren’t personal reasons, it isn’t as if we made this decision in a void of thought or consideration. We are adults, and as such we take time to make decisions–just as I assume (rightly or wrongly) that other adults do as well. So in this discussion, having stated my viewpoints–and nothing else; no diatribes, no mandates, no “people should” statements. Just a simple “what I practice” statement–I was then (of course) inundated with views on how the moral fiber of the country and the absolute failure of today’s generation was based on the fact that parents don’t spank their kids (ok–I paraphrase. I’ve actually had a few of these discussions, so consider this a Reader’s Digest version) . And any of you who have had the joy of being part of such a discussion know exactly what I’m saying. And this isn’t to sa the anti-spanking lobby is guilt free. On the contrary, I’ve seen mild-mannered people accuse others of out-and-out child abuse and the source of all of society’s ills on said corporal punishment practitioners.
But what got me thinking is this: why does it matter? And I believe I said as much in various discussions. I do A as a parent, and you do B. Neither of those things make us either good or bad parents. It just makes us parents–whose sole job is to keep these lil larvae alive, and guide them as best we can until they are old enough to spin their cocoon and fly off. Some of us do that wearing Birkenstocks and eating organic produce. Some do it by attending church regularly and dressing modestly. NEITHER OF US ARE WRONG. And that’s what I try to say every time. EVERY TIME.
But somehow that’s NOT what people read. Even when I type those exact words. No, they then come back with even more energetic vitriol or passive agressive nonsense, trying to change my mind and state just how wrong I am.
And I have to tell you, it leaves me gobsmacked every time.
Look–I get high-horsiness. we’re ALL susceptible to it. Yes, even you. And you, who just put their nose higher in the air saying “I never act like that…” well, guess what you’re doing all the way up there on your high horse? Yes, YOU.
Its human nature really. Its how we define ourselves. I am A because I am not B. They have stars upon thars, and so forth. It is the foundation of tribal scarring and dietary mandates. And all we can do, really, is continue to work on ourselves and our “uncharitable thoughts” (that’s what I call my own sittin there hatin on someone) and try to NOT be a douchebag, right? I mean, if you think about it, you’re RARELY gonna change someone’s mind just by talking to them–and really, THEY are the ones changing their mind, not you. All we can do is be ourselves (witnessing, in the truest sense–you hear that doorknockers?) and hope. At least that’s what I believe. And frankly, I don’t think that’s radical. It’s pretty straight-forward, down to earth pragmatism.
Look, I get there are people who will certainly parent differently than I. I mean–look at Kirk Cameron. He is gonna raise his kids how he chooses, including , no doubt, diatribes about the evils of homosexuality. And while I certainly don’t agree with that sort of hateful nonsense, it just ain’t my place to say they are wrong in how they parent. Because his kids (Goddess willing) may not believe as he does when they get older and leave the nest. It just isn’t my place, and as much as I think it’s a shame, I don’t feel comfortable telling someone how to parent. Same goes for people who force their daughters to wear prairie dresses, make their teens work for their own money, pierce their daughters’ ears when they’re babies, or choose to not circumcise their sons. As long as Abuse and Neglect are not part of the picture, then WHAT DOES IT FUCKING MATTER?
If we don’t allow people to PARENT, then they never will. You cannot mandate good parenting, no more than you can mandate morality. You can write rules a plenty, but there will always be folks who find ways around it. Because in the end, we know the truth: WE ARE THE PARENTS, and as such, we have the right to parent as we see fit (without abuse and neglect, obviously) whether you agree with it or not.
So here’s your assignment, if you choose to accept it. And I by no means mean to say you “have to” or “should” do this. Just a suggestion really. Just throwing it out there. Recognize the difference between outrage at obvious abuse, and simple high-horsiness. Accept the fact that people will use parenting techniques that you don’t agree with, and save your opinion for when you are asked. And remember that parenting is not an appointment granted by the queen: ANYONE can do it. And while you may harp up and down with the idea that THAT is the problem, it ain’t gonna change. So either we can embrace freedom (because that’s what this is, folks) or we can create a Stalinist state.
I for one do NOT like Siberia, but you have fun there in your gulag. I’ll be over here in my Birkenstocks using time-outs when my kid misbehaves.
And if any of you comment that I should spank my kid, imma cut you. Just sayin.