My parents are visiting from Florida and staying with us. My step-dad is an Army veteran who spent a year in Okinawa during the Vietnam War. He has a thick, Jersey City accent and sort of reminds me of Ed Norton from the Honeymooners. His way of playing with my girls is to tease them, scare them and call them wimps. But I promise, he does it in a sweet and loving way.
It’s watching their interaction that makes me think I’m raising a bunch of wimps. Our generation of kids, at least my kids, think the bad “S” word is “stupid.” My girls gasp and cover their mouths when my Step-dad uses that forbidden word. Thank God that’s all he says around them. My mother has warned him that he can’t play with them, the way he did with me and his kids when we were little. He would put spiders in my bed, filled the shower head with ketchup (you can imagine my screams when I turned it on) and warned us not to give him any “lip, or else.” He told us to “shut it” when we were being too loud and once shoved a container of Cool Whip in my face at dinner. I loved it. We had a blast.
But I’m raising my girls very differently.
All according to the child psychology and education classes I took in college. I’ve never cursed in front of them. I tell them to use “an inside voice” when they are too loud, and I don’t even think to scare them or else I’ll suffer with kids who won’t sleep at night. My kids are wimpy and it’s all my fault. I’m not saying we should go back to child-rearing ways of the 70s. Carseats and helmets are important, I didn’t like being spanked or hit with the wooden spoon, and I think kids should be kids—innocent and not mini-adults. Still, I think I may have gone too far the other way.
Are we raising a bunch of wimps?