January 21, 2010

In Accordance With GAPP

Please note!  Important!  I like my crow served warm, with a dash of Cholula sauce.

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??


Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Addendum: I like my crow served warm, with a dash of Cholula sauce.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

For posterity's sake, I should note that I wasn't talking to Cagey about childrearing techniques (hers or anyone else's) but that I mentioned how I'd read about overpraise in Nurture Shock, and how believing you are intrinsically gifted (as communicated to you by your parents) actually sort of limits you from working hard. And that I sort of applied this to myself to get through the last year of 24/7 work.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

True - I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth. ;-)

Dee said...

There have been many arguments over the Mario playing in our house since Christmas. Hubby and I have different views on this. He chooses to ignore the fact that Zach is playing with him and just go on about his game. I play the game my way, but also stop to give Zach tips when he gets stuck. There is a lot less screaming and 4-yr-old frustration when he plays with me, so I'm voting that as the better way in our house.

But, yes, I'm dying to get my hands on Mario when I'm home all alone...not that that ever happens.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

My email and post was a bit sarcastic and tongue in cheek. You know that, right? ;-)

Often, I will wait for Arun to catch up, although sometimes I don't. And I have tried to be patient in TEACHING him the game because I realize he is not just going to pick it up all on his own.

Flybunny said...

Wii playing is cut throat at our house and the look on Audrey's face when she finally beat Dad at tennis last night was worth every tear of frustration that she has shed trying to do it.

Of course, if they want an easy win they play Mom because I am the family Wii whipping boy :)but no one has yet to touch my Super Hula Hoop record.

These a great life skills you are teaching!!!

Flybunny said...

Oh and regarding your tweets last night about pronouncing Anjali - my 2 yr old can pronouce it easily as well!

~ifer said...

I think there is a lot to be said for letting kids figure things out on their own, and supporting them when they need it. In many ways, kids today are way too pampered and privileged.
And on another note, I love the sarcastic tongue in cheek email. That part made me giggle the most out of this post

Moderndayhermit said...

I heart you.

The end.

stephanie said...

As a kid (and still now), I would get MAD at anyone who let me win! It implied that they thought I wasn't capable of winning on my own. I think I'd get more upset at that than actually losing.

On a related note, one time I caught my dad cheating while we played Old Maid... he could see my cards in a reflection in the window. I learned very early to be careful at hiding my cards. :-)

jodifur said...

I recently watched a video about how giving your child an inflated self esteem is one of the worst things you can do as a parent. So basically, you are doing the right thing. I'll try to find it for you.

LuAnn said...

Marano's A Nation of Wimps, anyone?

Bethany said...

As I just spent 6 hours doing Intermediate Financial Accounting homework, I almost had a fucking stroke when I saw the title of this post! "I want simian snaps and she's talking GAAP, WTF??"

I never just let the kids wins. You build character and learn from failure not from wins you don't deserve.

Mamma Sarah said...

I think letting kids win is not a good practice. I hate this whole kids need to have a fair shot. Yeah, when I was a kid I hated the fact of being picked last because I sucked at certain sports and the team I was on always lost, but it was good for me to realize I wasn't good at everything. Kids these days think that things are just handed to them. I am now struggling with hiring staff that believe in this entitlement factor. IT SUCKS. You work for what you want and it all begins when you are a kid!