Kids Don’t Just Grow Up, You Have to Raise Them

23 Apr

I’ve been gone for a minute, but I’m back with something new to talk about… Slack parenting. I myself, have a nine year old daughter, so I know parenting is no easy job. Just this weekend I was seriously considering purchasing a pair of ear plugs because ever since my child learned to talk, she’s been a walking question mark. “Mom, why is the sky blue?” “Mom why are baby chicks yellow?” “Mom, can you look up tickets for Mindless Behavior?” “Mom, who was your favorite group when you were my age?” And then there’s every child’s favorite question, “Mom, can I have…?” By the time she’s done asking me things that I find utterly ridiculous, I have no energy for questions that require my thoughtful answers… However! I answer thoughtfully anyway!

Children are exhausting, I know, but raising a child leaves no room for slack. I do not in anyway claim to be a perfect parent. With all the teaching we do as parents, we’re learning as well and my daughter is only nine, so I still have quite a few years before I can earn my parenting degree.

I think people are under the impression that the older a child gets, the easier the parent’s job gets. Not at all. The level of difficulty is immeasurable, therefore there really is no change. It’s just situations that change. At seven months old, whenever my daughter had a major poop I would say, “I can’t wait for you to be big enough to bathe yourself.” Now that she’s nine, I find myself giving a lecture on different aspects of personal hygiene everyday. One situation isn’t easier than the other, they’re just different.

All that being said, I’m reaching my point. We can’t stop parenting just because our children have gained a little bit of independence here and there. I’ve noticed a lot of parents wash their hands as soon as their child/children becomes a teenager. At that point they feel like all they have to do is provide food and shelter. Sorry to break it to you, but your guidance is needed more than ever as soon as the suffix “teen” appears at the end of your child’s age. This is the time to answer all the “but why?” questions and “because I said so” is NOT a sufficient answer. Teenagers think they know everything… Why? I have no idea. I have two sixteen year old sisters and their illogic baffles me and without guidance they will continue with their illogic and accumulate even more. So as the big sister, less than fifteen years their senior, I answer all their “but why’s?” to the best of my ability, in hopes of helping to mold them into smart young women.

One thing that totally irks my nerves is to hear a parent of a twenty-one year old say, “I don’t know why he/she won’t get a job? Why he/she won’t finish college? Why he/she dresses like a slut or slob? Why he/she acts like an animal? Why he/she still expects me to still provide for them?” Hello? Did you prepare this kid for the real world? Did you have education and career discussions? Did you talk about how a young lady or young man should carry themselves? Did you lay out what’s expected of them by the time they reach their twenties? From thirteen to nineteen, were you still guiding and molding from a distance? Or we’re you just leaving the porch light on and a plate of food on the microwave and calling that being a parent?

I’m not saying that you should be in your fifteen year old’s closet choosing their outfits everyday, but when your son walks out with his pants hanging off his behind and your daughter is right behind him showing as much cheek with a short skirt on, do you say something about it? If not, why should they suddenly at twenty-one have it together?

I know, I know, I got a lot to say being in my twenties with one nine year old girl, but I’m also the oldest of five siblings. I’ve seen a lot and I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my own upbringing. I also have deep parenting discussions with friends who have children the same ages as mine or older
and/or younger. We listen to each other, confide in each other, advise each other and take heed to each other’s advice. For this reason, I don’t feel like my daughter’s generation is lost cause. There are still a handful of us parents who will be parents until our children have proven to us that our input isn’t necessary unless asked for. Having so many siblings, examples and advisors, I think I’m in a position to at least advise other parents on this much; children don’t just grow up, you have to raise them. A boy will not just suddenly become a man because he has a little hair on his chest, a girl will not suddenly become a lady because she can borrow her mother’s pumps and a parent can’t blame anyone but themselves when they can’t get their thirty year old off their couch. It’s no simple task, but I’m sure the outcome is totally worth it.


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