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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just Say NO/Today’s Rant--No Technology Involved.

No, the magic word to parenting success.

If you raise a child and that child never, ever has said, "I hate you!" Then you probably haven't done a good job. Be a parent, not a buddy, pal, girl friend or companion. Be a parent, set rules and regulations, provide structure, set goals and for pity sakes don't be afraid to say, "NO!"

Dropping off my grandson for kindergarten and seeing a cute little girl classmate in jeans so tight she can barely walk and wearing high heel, knee high boots is just so WRONG. Hmm, how successful is our little Miss going to be in duck, duck, goose, musical chairs or any other mobile game. She may not be a reflection of a frustrated mother's unfulfilled aspirations; she may have wanted to dress like that. This is when the much under used word, NO, comes in handy. NO, you can't dress that way, besides being inappropriate for your age, it will prevent you from having a good time with your peers.

Watching the Halloween parade of my 3rd grade grandson, a mom came attired as catwoman. She looked great, she had the figure to carry off the costume and it certainly didn’t hide much of that figure. Was it something that she should wear to the elementary school Halloween parade? I think not! What message is she sending to her daughter and her daughter’s friends.

Same parade, a third grader told his teacher that he was a pimp. His costume sure looked the part. She asked him if he knew what that meant and he replied, “sure I sell girls.” Gotta wonder what that poor kid’s parent was thinking.

Years ago as a guidance counselor I had a 16 year old young lady who came to school braless, which was not that unusual at the time, but the sheer blouse was a little less normal than usual. At the smoke break, the bright sunshine turned that sheer blouse to transparent and said young lady provided a wealth of eye candy to all who wished to look. I called her into my office and gently suggested that the kind of attention she would get with her attire may not be exactly what she hoped. Her response was, “F.--- off,” and she stomped out of my office. Thinking I had handled that well, I fought off my depression and went back to work. The next day the same young lady stopped into my office, thrust out her chest and asked if I was satisfied. As the blouse was not sheer and it was apparent primary undergarments were in place, I responded affirmatively. She then said that she thought about what I said and maybe I was right. Nobody else had told her she was dressed inappropriately but me. One had to wonder why someone at home didn’t say NO, that is not appropriate attire.

This is not a moralistic diatribe but an appeal to parents to remember their role. The statistics on ADD, autism and other diagnosed problems are rising dramatically. That child, more than most, needs a structure they can depend on. They need stability and order in their lives to help them cope. Too many parents fear setting any rules because they want their kid to love them. True love means being the parent even when it is hard. It means setting a curfew if necessary. It means doing your job and sometimes a big part of that job is just saying NO!

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