He is saying all the right things, I’m going to change, I’ve learned my lesson, yada yada yada. He is a living example of why every parent or parent to be should read this article by Cassy Fiano. My nephew was raised by a mother who loved him too much to say no. She wasn’t lazy, she was just a poor misguided hippie. Don’t worry, if she ever read this–she won’t–but if she did, she has come to agree with me.
Jamie was a good kid at first, but he always got his way. First born grand child and great-grand child, he was spoiled mercilessly as a child. Trouble at school? It must be the teacher’s fault. Pulled Uncle John’s hair? Don’t you DARE pull his hair back to show him how it feels! I tried to warn my sister that she was spoiling him, but she didn’t listen. It was not out of laziness–that is the only thing that I would take issue with Ms. Fiano’s article–but because she loved him and thought she was doing the right thing. But “love” isn’t all a kid needs. He grew up and began smoking pot and drinking (OK, I helped with the drinking part) and doing drugs. He began to fight and to party and to womanize. I tried to be a good example, but I was only around on vacations or special occasions. In short, Jamie got in trouble, got into car wrecks, received permanent injuries, and became hooked on painkillers. While drugged up on painkillers, he fell asleep, crossed into the oncoming lane and almost killed himself and two people in another car in a head on collision. FINALLY, on his third DUI/driving under the influence of drugs charge, he was put in jail. (He is 33 years old.) And the jailers made him quit his several year dependency on pain killers cold turkey. He had tried with varying degrees of seriousness off and on for years but to no avail. I hope he has learned his lesson. But I doubt it.
I went to the opposite extreme with my kids. I waited until I was thirty to have kids. And I was very strict with my kids. Spanking? Check. Monitor TV and internet? Like a hawk. Send them to public school? Hell no. Ok, let me back up, it was my wife who deserves all the credit for raising our children right–but you get my drift. They both turned out nearly perfect. And it isn’t like I am special, or like I my wife did something that you can’t do. But you have to do it. It is hard. It is much easier to let the kid have his or her own way. Oh, why make them eat broccoli if they don’t like it? blah blah blah. BECAUSE mommy or daddy said so, that’s why!
I’ll admit it–I was brought up all wrong, too. I was allowed to do almost anything that I wanted, when I wanted it. Stay out all night long? Yup. Lie about where I was going and who I was doing it with? And not have anybody check up on me or care? You betcha. So those of you offended my my language or my spoiled little brat behavior, now you know a little bit about why I am the way I am… Hey, at least I was smart enough to realize it and to change the way my kids were raised. That is about all the credit I can take for two great kids. That, and marrying a wonderful mother for them.