Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Which Comes First... The Child or the Ego?

As parents, it should be an impulse to consider our children and place them first in many, if not most, situations. They need us and not for very long so we should take this as a golden opportunity and not a chore.

With that said, do I have to even tell you how many parents I would love to ask "Why the Hell did you have kids?" Kids may seem to be the perfect designer accessory when creating that quintessential white picket fence family, but they're not a pair of shoes or even a purse dog... they're people! You have to play with them, teach them, talk to them, show interest in who they are. You can't just take them out of the closet for the company family picnic, in an attempt to present a vision of familial bliss. Considering the little people in your house only as "your children" and not as Tommy and Mary, is the quickest way to raise children who treat others like property, and that includes you. What comes around goes around. What an incredibly lousy example you've set.

[Now for the purposes of my blog, I use the words my daughter and my husband and my blah-blah-blah. But I can assure you, those words feel alien to me to type or speak or even think and I do it only for security reasons.]

Likewise, there are the parents on the other side of the equation. The ones that have nothing but praise for their perfect progeny - and, of course, the way they've raised them. So blinded by their own creation they can't see the immense flaws in their "perfect" children. Unfortunately neither can the children whose heads are so full of baseless compliments, they wonder at the age of 20 why no one claps and says "good job" when they remember to wash their hands after using the potty. What relationships will this child form if their only goal is to be constantly bathed in false praise?

In both cases, though seemingly on opposite sides of the equation, the children are ultimately treated like possessions born solely for the purpose of making their parents look better. How sad. Some self involved parents, now clearly defensive about what I've written, may ask me in rebuttal, "Why did you have children?" To which I am quick to state, because I couldn't wait to meet the little person who would be born of my husband and I. Maybe to right some wrongs in my own childhood. Possibly to meet the challenge of parenthood. Definitely because I knew I loved her, as herself, before she was even conceived... and you should know that that all comes from a person who in her teens and 20s thought seriously about never having children.

So who should come first - the child or the ego?
The answer is clear. It is, for the brief moment while they are children, the child. Ego has no place in parenthood. Treat your children more or less than who they are and you will have very little to brag about anyway. Treat your children as individuals with their own special personalities and be praised for your role in their upbringing each and every day.

6 comments:

  1. I agree with you Bonnie. Raising children is not something someone should go into without thought and consideration. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it. Children need all kinds of things, both physically and emotionally. You have to try your best to provide everything they need - but mostly the emotional support and guidance that comes from a responsible respectable adult. Well said B.

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  2. Excellent statement, "Joe"... "the emotional support and guidance that comes from a responsible respectable adult". Very well said.
    You are your child's own best example. Rise to the challenge!
    Thank you so much for commenting, Joe. It means a great deal to me coming from an amazing parent like yourself.

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  3. I couldn't have said it better myself. I think some people should stop and think before they have kids. There would be less broken families. Four out of my five closets friend have divorced parents or beyond lame people who don't really care but continue to have kids. Sad really.

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  4. Too true.Well done for speaking your mind on this issue which is obviouly close to your heart.Having children is a massive responsibility.Im thankful each and every day that the ones I got are mine.
    Smileyfreak :)x!

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  5. First I just wanted to thank you for your kind word and encouragement you left on my blog! Secondly, I would like to say thank you for speaking your mind regardless of the possible reactions. This is a subject that should be close to all of our hearts. I, at 25, still feel to immature and naiive to share my life by creating a being. I would like to be as prepared as possible when I make the decision. And at my age, most of my peers either have children, are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy. And sometimes I wish I could tell them just what you have articulated. And ask them to really consider why they want this and if its the best idea. So cheers to you, Bonnie!

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  6. Firstly, thank you to all my new readers for your wonderful comments. I really appreciate them. And it's been a pleasure learning more about you. For those of you new to my blog, and my sense of humor, you should know that I write the way I speak. It's done less out of anger and more with passion, not to mention big hand gestures... though not when I'm typing ;-). So don't ever take me to be standing on my soapbox preaching. I'm more the sarcastic friend at the dinner party making observations on life. Consider me Jerry Seinfeld with an attitude.

    But in all seriousness, parenthood is a job I take very, well, seriously. And when I see parents - and I'm not even talking about the worse case scenario parents, but the ones that run in my little suburban circles - treating their children like charms on a chain, it makes me want to cry foul. Whew! OK. That's enough ranting for one day ;-).

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