Mostly, I try to parent in accordance with GAPP. You know, the Generally Accepted Parenting Principles. The ones that dictate you don't let your kid suck on lead pipes (or tail pipes, for that matter.) The ones that require at least 20 minutes per day of book reading or junior will have a brain equivalent to oatmeal. The ones that require eating vegetables. The ones that require choices and consequences (not rules and punishments**.) The ones that require your child do a variety of well-rounded activities (music! sports! art!), but not too many activities lest your precious snowflake become overscheduled. The horrors. So, like most parents, I attempt to do my best. I am quite certain I will never figure out this parenting gig while my own children are around, but am quite confident I will get it right for when they have children, so that I can become That Grandmother Who Knoweth All. Because everyone loves That Grandmother, right? .
Anyway. I think I fail spectacularly in the Parenting Activities Standards Board (PASB) 242 - Grooming of of Self-Esteem. The other day I was talking with Monkey Dearest* about PASB 242:
I think there is WAY too much focus on self-esteem building these days. For example, moms who let their kids win when they are playing games. One of my friends actually tells her daughter there are TWO Winners. Are you fucking kidding? There can only be ONE winner and I don't let Arun win. Yeah, it makes him mad. Whatever, win on your own, dude. When we play Super Mario Bros on the Wii, sometimes he can't keep up and he starts whining for help - I kill him on purpose so he can just fucking catch up. Dude, you are messing up OUR game, get with the program, Nancy Boy.
Yeah, mother of the year over here.
After I sent the email, I thought that perhaps, I was too harsh. Maybe I should try to nurture my little budding gamer more. But then I realized that if my little guy ends up with self-esteem issues because I failed to let him succeed at some stupid games, then his problem will not be merely self-esteem. And no, I don't always kill Arun on purpose. And sometimes, just sometimes, I will point out the Sparkly Ginormous Coin is there for him to get. I also noticed that once I quit helping him over a particular hurdle and just let him die, that he actually figured out how to navigate the hurdle himself. Sure, there was whining, but I was too busy stomping zombie turtles to hear it anyway.
Truthfully, the look on his face when he does win and his little character gets the crown is a great expression. He earned that crown.
And he knows it.
* YES, I am a big believer in the fact that folks without children can have valid points about parenting. After all, everyone was a child at some point - everyone has that perspective. So yes, I do talk parenting with Monkey. Also, importantly for me, I like to hear how her parents did things because I like the Sub-Continental Asian Approach to Parenting (SCAAP.) In my 20+ years of experience with it, there are some valuable lessons to be learned and I want to hear as many examples I can. Monkey is willing to share and I appreciate it. In return, I make her listen to my childrens' heavy breathing on the phone, so things are not exactly fair, but she is a patient one, that Monkey.
**In our house, it is a RULE and a PUNISHMENT. Yesterday, Arun ran into his school parking lot without me - BIG TROUBLE. I was crystal clear that he was being PUNISHED. Sadly, my guy is so easy-going that he does not care that his precious items ended up on the fireplace mantle. Sigh. How do you punish easy-going kids??