Family News June – 2017

Parental Ponderings from a Concerned Dad

My folks had it easy! Only 2 kids, and clear, generally accepted truths about parenting. Common sense was pretty common back then, and nobody had to buy a book on how to parent or go to a seminar. Neighbours kept an eye on each others’ kids, and if a kid stepped out of line in someone else’s yard, the neigbour parent would flash their “parent union” badge, and take proper measures themselves if necessary.

So enter 2017 and the challenges to parents. Here are 3 examples that I have experienced:

1. A few weeks ago, we “grounded” one of our kids. Not a huge transgression, but big enough for consequences. As I informed other parents of this measure, some were not clear on the definition of the term, and for sure most of my kids’ friends didn’t know. And then the questions came that my parents never had to deal with. For example, if grounded, is the child still permitted to:

  • Text?

  • Text, if needing to communicate on a so called “group project” at school?

  • Communicate with friends in “connected gaming”?

  • Communicate on Facebook, Tweeter, Twitter, Snapchat, Snapshot, Bigshot, or whatever these new fangled sites are these days? What about if it’s youth group related?

  • Respond to email?

  • Respond to emails related to their sports teams?

  • Talk to their cousins, who also fit the definition of friend?

While I was still pondering this, another challenge arose…

2. I’m a little old school in my belief that “underwear” is a self defining term. It is meant to be “under” something, in this case, under clothing. Since when did underwear become outerwear? When I was a kid, if your Fruit of the Looms were sticking out from the back of your jeans (Big Blue, Seafarer, or whatever brand you wore), society self policed, and someone was going to give you a wedgie, and if they knew you well, it was going to be the dreaded atomic wedgie. Next time, you would make absolutely sure your undergarments stayed under. Why don’t we parents form an “Underwear to Stay Under” pact, and get back out there and bring about some decency? I’ll tell you why. Because even parents are breaking the code. Sorry to my plumber friends (you’re awesome and you get a “pass”), but if you Dads out there don’t have a pipe wrench in your hand, then cover up! Look, once you’re in your 40’s, nobody is going to mistake you for Marky Mark. So parents unite, just like our parents did to keep us in line.

While pondering this, still another challenge arose…

3. My buddies and I used to make money by weeding, mowing lawns, washing cars, and picking up part time jobs at Bob’s Burger Palace or whatever. I’m pretty sure that everyone of my high school friends had a part time job, and we still had “chores” to do at home. When asked by our Pops to mow the grass, it was not a viable option to reply “I can’t, I’m resting up for my hockey game,” or “I have to do online research for a school project.” Or when asked to wash and vacuum the car, we didn’t get to say, “Um, I’m going to Jimmy J’s to do a paper on the vanishing rainforests of Brazil.” Work first, study later! And if you needed extra motivation, Dad removed his belt, snapped it once, and you got the message. Or the classic ear pull produced the same desire in us kids to quickly perform our duties as requested. Most Dads my age aren’t wearing belts anymore with the introduction of “comfort pants” with elastic waist bands, and it’s hard to grab your kid’s ear these days because they’re all wearing toques even in the summer.

So on it goes with the challenges of parenting in this new era. But cowabunga! I eventually did discover the best parenting tool available. The ability to single handedly change the household WiFi password. Ha, you kids, who’s in charge now?

~ Steve Klassen

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