Sunday, November 14, 2010

Timeout is Bull***

Hey, y'all.

One of the best things about weathering a long-term relationship is that, if you stick to your guns, eventually your friends and family will stop asking when you plan to breed.

I swear, people have this creepy, weird fetish whereby they want to see every couple they know knock out kids with the frequency of those basketball-team-sized families on TLC who apparently don't know what a condom is.

I really didn't like kids much when I was younger.  I didn't have any brothers or sisters so my brief exposure to children was usually limited to traumatic visits from friends and relatives with young hooligans in tow.  These sugar-crazed larvae typically exhibited no behavioral boundaries whatsoever and were usually chaperoned by parents that obviously had these brats either as an afterthought or caved in to the aforementioned peer pressure.

The worst thing I could ever hear was my Mom yelling:

"David!   When you come downstairs bring some of your toys for _______ to play with!  One of those transforming robots, maybe!"

'F#@$% that,' I'd think.  'The most that destructive little savage is gettin' out of me is one of these  crappy Go-Bots.'

So, I kinda grew up thinking that most kids were spoiled, anarchic, bratty, hyperactive little dwarfs with a free pass to act insane just because they so happened to be young.

And frankly, my opinion hasn't changed very much.  Every once in awhile I'll get parental stirrings (Duly noted here, signed Captain Convenience) when I meet a good kid or watch a sappy McDonald's commercial like this gender-inclusive, emotionally manipulative, culturally-toadying piece of pap:

But just as soon as I see a kid flip out in a mall, drop down and start pounding their miniscule hands and feet on the floor in rage while the parent sweetly intones "Now come on, sweetness, don't be like that", then I'm reminded to call my doctor to try and book a procedure.

And it's a shame, because I think I'd make a terrific Dad.  No-one can to look in my room, filled with toys, comics and board games and say that I wouldn't be able to relate to a kid.  But a few things have prevented me from taking the plunge thus far.

The first has been my previously documented tenuous-at-best "career".  How the hell can you plan to have a young un' when you can't even visualize getting through another day at work?  Plus, I really don't think it's fair to come home to your kid every night feeling bitter and miserable.  That child needs mom and dad to be at their karmic best every single day.

Also, though it pains me to say this, we live in a very superficial and materialistic world.  I've seen first hand what happens to kids that go to school in ratty clothes and anything but top-of-the-line sneakers.  So if I couldn't afford anything but the very best for my l'il nibbler, frankly, I wouldn't burden my hypothetical him or her with the uncontrolled circumstances of their birth.

I would also insist that one parent be home at all times, which big business and government has made sure is as uncommon nowadays as pay phones and poodle skirts.  In the 50's, a body could work at a gas station and make enough scratch to support a stay-at-home spouse, a coupla rug-rats and a modest home.  Now, thanks to the twin terrors of inflation and debt, both parents are forced to work and kids are being raised by strangers and, sometimes even worse, their friends.

And that's part of the reason why I think youth violence and swarmings are becoming more and more common place.  People are entering into this life-altering stage of parenthood but they aren't altering their lives at all.  They make the decision to spawn with the same gravity they reserve to selecting either coleslaw or macaroni salad with their sandwich combo.  Without thinking reality through, they soon find themselves trying to guide these little lives in absentia.  When they actually see their kids for a few meager hours at night, many parents are just too tired, too worn down or too guilty to be tough disciplinarians.  So they capitulate to their every whim.

How can kids see their folks providing boundaries and structure if they can just walk all over them?

I asked my own mom about this last week, not expecting the tirade which followed:

"Jesus Christ, I see these friggin' people with kids nowadays and it makes me sick!  Asking a youngster what they want for dinner!  Ridiculous!  Maybe if they were paying for it!"

I struggled to interrupt her mid-rant.

"Okay, but what about me?  Surely I must have pitched a fit once and awhile..."

She paused for a moment of recollection.

"No, you really weren't like that.  But, I do remember one time you wanted a piece of a chocolate Easter Bunny when you first got up one morning and I told you that you couldn't have any until after you'd a proper breakfast.  Well, you didn't like that too much.  You started to whinge, fell down and started banging your heels into the floor."     

I winced, feeling embarrassed even thirty-eight years after the fact.

"Wow, what did you do?"

"What do you think I did?"  Mom replied.  "I pulled you up, gave you a good crack on the ass and put you in your seat.  It didn't take long for you to stop crying and eat your breakfast."

Yikes!  I wonder if it was too late for me to report this to child protective services, as some young commiserating schemers are want to do nowadays.  Sensing my surprise, Mom filled in the brief silence.

"Now, I never, ever hurt you.  The few times you got a whack like that it was more of a surprise than any thing else, but I'll tell you, it worked."

"Okay, so what's you're opinion on this new-agey 'time out' stuff..."

"Timeout!?  Why, that's the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard of.  Timeout.  What, so you can put the youngster back into their room where they already want to be?  Bullshit I call it."

Ah, Mom, sugar and spice.

And that's the thing.  Nothing makes me sicker than mealy-mouthed parents who tip-toe around their brood like that episode of The Twilight Zone where the freaky kid has god-like powers to do whatever he wants.

I really don't believe in corporal punishment, but I do believe that kids should possess a healthy modicum of fear and respect for their parents.  I loved my folks to death and always knew they felt the same about me, but I never crossed them because the thoughts of it alone scared the friggin' poop outta me.

Even if it's not implicit, little ones will eventually equate boundaries, discipline and consequences as a symptom of care.  What says love more than a parent that shows they give a shit about their kids by setting clear limits, punishing bad behavior and, most importantly, re-enforcing, recognizing and rewarding those times when they often do right by you? 

So, it's likely that even if I reconcile all these things and eventually produce my very own mini-me, I fear that the way things are now, the state would end up taking them away from me just because the neighbor saw me rap the kid on the knuckles with a wooden spoon.  

EPIC:   A classic and strangely prophetic...


Harvey Danger once sang:
I've been around the world and found
that only stupid people are breeding.

The cretins cloning and feeding
and I don't even own a T.V.

But I don't agree.  I know a lot of awesome parents that give me hope.  Please, for the love of God, keep out-breeding the stupid people! 

Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta
Uploaded by FabCure. - Explore more music videos.

EPIC III - THE REVENGE:   A refreshing moment of honestly from The Kids...

FAIL: I've been there, kid.  Keep your chins up!

1 comment:

Brodie said...

Kids in the Hall couldn't be more right - there ABSOLUTELY is a pressure for you to love parenting, no matter what!

Some of it's awesome, but some of it is definitely not. Parenting isn't for everyone, and no one should feel pressured into it.