Recently trying to console a longtime friend, a parent with heart broken by repeated misbehavior of a child old enough to know better and do better, reminds us how extremely difficult it is to raise children in this mixed up, messed up world.
"Things are not what they used to be," may be the understatement of the century. Both parents and grandparents scratch their confused heads and ask: "When did children begin to think they were supposed to run the world?"
I do know, in another time, I never had the slightest idea of removing control from my parents. One reason was that my father had his own strong opinion on what was meant by "rearing" children.
Although not always as effective, the method of "parental permissiveness" came along after I married and we had children of our own. This child-rearing philosophy does not always work, with parents who say to children: "Listen to me! No! You are not going to do it! And that's my 'semifinal' word on this matter!"
President Harry Truman, who had one child, Margaret, said: "The way you get along in raising children is find out what they want to do, and tell them they can do it."
Strong, fearless leader of the free world that he was, this hardly seemed consistent with President Truman. But it does show that when it comes to raising children, usual logic goes out the window.
Picture that first big date: Dad gives teenage son the key to his car, a bonus allowance, let's him wear his new sports coat, but he can't tell the boy, "Son, have a good time!" The boy would probably say, "Don't tell me what to do!"
Posted in Times Herald