I can't stop pondering an article I read yesterday about current parenting trends. The author suggested that today's parents are so stressed out that they seek solace in, of all sources, their kids.
In order to render the kids capable of providing such a service, stressed-out moms and dads have to simply pull out the wallet and buy a few bribes, the higher-tech, the better. It further behooves the parents to adopt a general attitude of laissez-faire to ensure the cooperation of the offspring. Additionally, any and all legal numbing techniques are advised; gorging on junk food in front of the TV is an effective tool for the whole family. The author stopped short of recommending Ridalin or Prozac.
Keeping the kids "happy" prevents them from being yet another source of stress for the parents, at least, even if they aren't exactly comforting. At first glance, the idea seemed absurd.
Yet I can't help thinking of my own situation. I constantly feel guilty for buying more "distractions" for my child than is reasonable. That's how I keep the peace. My life seems more liveable if I run a conveyor belt of bribes into my child's world. I'm buying time and sanity. If he clamors for fast food, I give in rather than live according to my values. That way I don't have to listen to his crying and screaming. The latest video game might occupy him for a couple hours tonight. Isn't that worth $50? And if I don't buy him a gift every time we shop, he might sulk. Heaven forbid. I seek solace, not sulking.
Just for today, I will refrain from buying any bribes. I will feed my child only reasonably healthy food. I will tolerate his inevitable whining and crying- in fact, I think I'll double up on my Holy Basil. When he says he's bored, I'll offer a trip to the library, a yoga session, reading, or a walk in the park. I will stick to my guns and go to bed tonight having been a Good Mother No Matter What. Please wish me luck.