Thursday, June 9, 2016

Kids these days

You get what you get and you don't get upset.

The first time I heard this statement was as a parent with young toddlers.  I have to admit I was slightly thrown for a loop because I thought this was implied.  No one ever said this to us growing up because it was a well known fact and if you did decide to get upset, you knew you would be sent to your room with the promise of something to really cry about.

Rich and I are both Gen Xers.  This means we ate what was placed in front of us, we wore the clothes our mothers picked out for us, we played the sports our parents decided to sign us up for and we didn't complain about any of it because we knew those complaints would fall on deaf ears.  Whether it was a conscious decision or not, Rich and I are taking the kinder, gentler approach to parenting.  For better or for worse, we've given our children a voice by parenting this way.

Side conversation here but isn't this one of the major differences between Gen Xers and Millennials? Millennials have a voice and they aren't afraid to use it.  There are employers now who have committees specifically designed to attract and keep Millennials.  A co-worker and I were discussing how we are of the generation of no negotiation.  We accepted job offers without complaint because any attempt at change was met with rejection.  Employers would just move on to the next person.

So not too long ago, Allie asked if she could have some of her hair colored purple.  Apparently this is a thing now amongst elementary school aged children.  I'm fairly practical and do the opposite of the Joneses so my first thought was that colored hair is completely unnecessary.  I don't care what others do but you don't need to do this.  As a kinder, gentler parent, I said, "We'll see, maybe later," instead of just saying no.  That's the 'hope they forget about it' approach.

The request for hair color made me think of my NKOTB story, a true parental lesson.  In high school, I was obsessed with New Kids On The Block, specifically all things Joey McIntyre.  Obsessed may not even be a big enough word to describe my feelings either.  I believe I was a sophomore when this happened.  It was a Saturday and I was invited to a concert that very night in Boston with one of my friends and her friend.  Originally, my friend's older sister was supposed to go as a chaperone but at the last minute, the parents decided they could be dropped off/picked up alone.  My parents flat out said no. No negotiating.  Nada.  Why? It was really going to be a big inconvenience for them logistically speaking.  There was also the issue of being alone at the Garden but seriously, there would be thousands of other teenage girls as well.  Needless to say, I was beyond furious and refused to speak to anyone for days.

Years and years later, the concert I wasn't allowed to go to came up in a discussion with my parents.  My dad said, "I should have let you go to that.  You were a good kid.  You didn't ever get into trouble.  You could have been a huge headache drinking or doing drugs but all you did was like that music group.  I should have let you go."

What would be the harm in letting them add a little color to their hair?

Allie and Anna have hair appointments in a few weeks and they both plan to have more than just a trim.  Allie is actually leaning towards a bob.  I gave in to the hair coloring with Kool-Aid (it cost me $1) with the agreement that only the ends would be colored.


The purple is somewhat subtle but this isn't the greatest photo.  In real life, you can see that there's color.  


Anna was a tag along in all of this.  As I was leaving for the grocery store, she blurted out, "I want to color my hair too.  Pink."  Emily didn't want to.  Some may say they are expressing their individuality and while that may be, they really just want to be trendy.  Some may say that allowing them to do this is a set up to have to give in to more.  Nope.  For example, they know not to ask for smart phones but they tell me about the kids in their classes who have phones and how kids were exchanging twitter user names.  That's so far in the future, it's not even on the radar.


Kimberly said...

Have you tried hair chalk? It washes out in the tub, and adds just a wee bit of sass! Your girls are adorable--good job raising why seem to be smart and kind little ladies.

Tinkerbellemommy said...

Love this! I too grew up in a similarly ruled home, but my mom was always ok about letting me experiment with my hair, because it was only hair and could always grow out. My oldest did the kool-aid thing last year, ending up with 6 inches of beautiful Ariel the mermaid color red, and she loved it! And I got to be the cool mom for saying yes lol.

Sarah said...

We do have hair chalk but "it's not the same." You know how that goes.

DaddyBites said...

I LOVED NKOTB. Sarah we're the same age so went through the same things at the same time, and I would have been devastated if I couldn't go to that concert. My mother ruled with an iron fist. I too was a good kid who never did anything.

We also take the gentler approach with parenting. The 3 Fs: Friendly, Firm and Fair. I know that seems un-parental, but think about it. We keep things calm and pleasant and only get tough when the situation calls for it. If kids want to colour their hair, it's just hair. It'll grow out. If we give in on the less important stuff, hopefully they won't act out on the more important (or impactful) stuff.

Please don't tattoo until you're in your 20s. You may change your mind.

I think way too many parents say no by rote. No, no, no without thinking about it. Is there a reason for saying no, or are you just saying it out of habit?

When Janet Jackson got pregnant, one of her brothers said she'll be a great mom because she's really strict. That REALLY bothered me (me, raised with an iron fist). Because strictness is NOT parenting. Being overly strict is about control and dictatorship, plain and simple, and the kid will likely rebel.

My husband and I negotiate and reason and explain. And my kids are 13, 11 and 9, and are very, very well-behaved. My 13 yr old boy is getting a little too talk-backy for my liking lately, but we're handling it and he's getting to understand that we're reasonable and mouthing off is unacceptable. He just got his first phone by the way, at the beginning of the school year since he was traveling to school by public transit.

Friendly, Firm and Fair. We don't ground or do time out or god forbid, hit. We just talk to them.

I can go on forever about this!


Sarah said...

Kim - Love that you're also an NKOTB fan! I agree that being overly strict with parenting can lead to rebellion. The 3 Fs is a great way to approach it.