Bestie:Tell me if I'm wrong on this: I don't feel like teens should have a cell phone until they are driving age. Even then, no web capabilities.
Me: Agreed. Nope. No texting either.
Call us "Nazi's" (like her husband does) but my bestie and I are in full agreement when it comes to our parenting styles. And even though my mom has warned me (lovingly, as she too was a "Nazi"): "They'll hate you!" I still fully intend on sticking to my guns, hate me or not.
The above is just one example of many conversations Kay and I have had regarding the rearing of our children. She is a mother of two, a 6 year old and a 1 year old, and ever since I first observed her in full "parent" mode, I've been a fan. Also having previously been a single mom, I have a high respect for her. While she reigns in her household, she does it with love and her children know this and respect her and her authority. She's one of those moms that doesn't even have to say anything, just one look of disapproval and the misbehaving is quickly grinds to a halt.
As previously stated, I had a mother like that. I was raised in what would be known today as a very strict household I had rules I had to follow and behaviors I could not engage in. No if's and's or but's. Crying and throwing tantrums got me no where nor were they tolerated. If I whined to my mother, her response was as follows, "I can't understand whining." If I was told to do something, I knew my mother meant it and therefore I did it. If she said "Sit here and be quiet," she meant, "Sit here and be quiet." She didn't mean, "Continue to run around screaming while I continue to repeat myself and then eventually give up and let you run and scream." Failure to do what mom said was immediately addressed and dealt with. There was none of the infamous counting, ("1,....2,....2 and half....2 and three quarters....Leslie, I said sit down. If you don't sit down by the time I get to 3 you're going to be in big trouble!") there was no bargaining, ("Leslie, if you sit down and stop screaming, I'll give you a cookie.") and there were no alternative options, ("Okay, if you're going to act like that just at least go do it in your room.") Despite those things, I tell people I don't remember being disciplined often and I don't. Why? Because I knew who was the boss by the time I was two and it wasn't me. One might question whether or not I was simply a meek child. To that I say, HA! There is still a book in my mom's closet entitled, "The Strong Willed Child."
Some people will say that I was scared of my mom and that's why I behaved. But that's not true. I wasn't scared of my mom. I was scared of the consequences of disobeying; just as it should be. As I grew older the fear of the consequences turned into a respect for my mother and for her rules. I knew what was right and what was wrong and I knew, above all, that I didn't want to disappoint her. It was that respect that kept me from doing anything illegal (i.e. drinking, smoking, etc.) until I was over the age of 18. I respected my mom for teaching me the right way and didn't want any of my actions to fall on her should I have been caught. I knew at 18 I would be legally responsible for my actions, not my mother. It was also that respect that kept me alive on several occasions. I doubt if she or anyone really knows this, but I came very close to taking my own life on several occasions in my teenage years. But what always stopped me was my mom. After she had done her very best to raise me and give me a good life, I could not bring it upon myself to do that to her.
There are many philosophies on parenting, but I will always be a firm believer that children NEED and DESIRE rules and boundaries. I've heard parents say that they're worried their children won't "like" them if they discipline them. Newsflash, your children aren't your comrades. They're not given to you to be an approval source. They're given to you to RAISE. To teach right from wrong, acceptable from unacceptable, manners, life skills, etc. If you don't, who will? They certainly won't learn much in schools to that regard. One teacher teaching 10+ children how to be functioning, productive members of society is unreasonable and frankly, it's not their job; it's yours.
Of course there is a difference in being harsh and being firm. I cannot stand being around parents who do nothing but yell at their children. That's not discipline, that's laziness. True discipline takes time, energy and above all, consistency. It's not a one time fix, it's not done overnight. It's done day in and day out, repeating over and over until finally, one day it clicks.
Children are "new" to the world. They have no clue what is good for them or bad for them. This doesn't end in childhood either. Tweens and teens also have issues with judgement. Not because they're dumb or stupid, but because they lack life experience. Heck, even grown adults (myself included) make choices that are wrong for them at times. The difference in adults and kids is that as an adult you're the only person that is solely responsible for your choice. But as a parent, you're responsible for that child, no matter their age (up until adulthood.) Granted some tweens and teens will rebel and at that point, it becomes on their hands. But you have a responsibility to teach them what is best for them and do your best to enforce those rules and boundaries in your home. That's why my child won't have texting capabilities on his/her phone while they're a teen. According to the Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts, 11 teen deaths occur daily due to texting while driving. So is even having the temptation to text something that I think is good for my child? Not at all. Will they "hate me?" Probably. But they'll get over it. And besides, I would rather them feel a temporary emotion than to experience a permanent consequence.