Every so often, I stumble across people who are raising their kids, inadvertently, to turn out to be assholes. Not in the typical attention-starved/bought-love/no-rules kind of way. In the too-many-rules/smothered-love/attention-hogging kind of way. These kinds of parents don’t even consider themselves as doing more harm then good, because it’s all done for the sake of their child. They’re also the first to declare that their perfectly precious child could never turn out to be the asshole.
Just as much as there’s not enough of a good thing, there’s also too much of a good thing, too. I’m not one to judge someone’s parenting techniques when it comes to their choices in gear, clothing, feeding, discipline, and sleep methods. I also understand that every situation is unique and everyone has a rhyme and reason for choosing what they choose in the name of the parenting game. It does angrivate me enough, however, to cast a questioning eye at those who feel the need to create a little adult out of their child, as if it will actually save them from becoming an asshole, one day.
I think that there’s two types of assholes in the world. The first type are the ones that are genetically predispositioned to be assholes from the get go or are predestined to be assholes due to the family circumstances that they’re born into. The second type of asshole is generated because they’ve been flooded with so many adult-world type expectations and been given too much of everything that’s supposed to make them the greatest human being possible. It’s the parents of those kids in the latter type that don’t impress me much. Not one bit, actually. These parents spend a lot of time worrying about what kind of assholes their kid might grow up to be if they don’t keep tabs on everything. They’ll be the first to mention when they think someone else’s kid has the potential to grow up to be that dreaded puckered-up hole deep in the crack of a donkey’s rear end.
What really gets me is the air of superiority that these future asshole’s parents have over their parenting style. They don’t openly and outright make you feel judged as inferiority, but they’ll definitely leave you re-thinking that, maybe, just maybe, they might actually be right- Nothing but their method of madness will prevent their beloved child from such a horrendously shitty future. They love to remind themselves of their parenting greatness by occasionally posing a simple question regarding their child in a passive-aggressive tone in a public forum. If you read carefully between the lines of the details given for background, they have either answered their own question or, more often than not, made statement that they aren’t willing to budge an inch on their methods or ways. They only want to boost their ego with everyone’s encouragement and advice, which will never measure up.
No one can tell them enough what a great parent they are or how great their kid is. These parents fish for compliments, constantly. You know all of the efforts they put into Future-Asshole-Prevention-Squad better than your own, because they might as well be walking billboards for their cause. No matter how tough a particular aspect of their “perfect” parenting may be, they’ll never heed the bountiful wisdom of others who’ve been there, done that. Even when the wiser are much older and have proven not to have raised total assholes.
In my lifetime of experience, you have to build a good early foundation for your children, but you can’t force it by instilling adult-like expectations on them from the get-go. That’s an asshole-in-the-making guarantee. Once they go out in the real world, their strive for perfection will fail them, especially here in the United States, a country built around total imperfection. You cram so much learning and structured activities at the poor kid, that they are bored out of their mind in school and likely to be shunned for being a know-it-all. They’ll look for ways to entertain themselves outside of the bubble they’re locked in at home and those parents are never going to know it until it’s too late, and their once attached-at-the-hip child will be more of a stranger to them than anything else.
Every time I run across a parent like this, I just wanna grab ’em up like Homer Simpson does to Bart and ask them:
“What in the world makes your head so closed up to the reality of the situation you have made! Let your kid be a kid for Geebus’ sakes! Do you not see the doom ahead for your child if you keep down this path of structuring their entire life minute by freaking minute!?!? Give them a childhood, NOT an at-home toddler/preschool reform school! They. Are. Just. Little. Kids! Eff this craziness you’ve got going on!”
Then I want to grab that kid, take it to McDonald’s and buy them a Happy Meal and let them play all over that germ-infested, noise-deafening, wild hooligan filled PlayPlace.
Afterwards, we’ll hit Dairy Queen and fuel up on candy-loaded Blizzards, followed by a shaving cream fight in my backyard, and lastly a game of 52-Pick-Up in my living room. We’ll also have a sock fight with my basket of imperfectly unmatched socks, while screaming out loud and jumping on the furniture…..because you can raise a child to know there’s a time and a place to do everything AND a place in time for everything normally not to do!
Then I’ll lock the kid in the basement playroom with a box of juiceboxes and bag of Doritos for an hour. They also need some time to themselves, just like I do at this point in our freedom to take back our childhood adventure, to learn to fend for themselves, without mommy or daddy overseeing and giving step by step instruction all the way. We need to have a mind of our own and be able to think outside the box, and raise our child to be the same way. They need to be confident independent in life, but not so sure of themselves that they cannot be humbled or humiliated.
If any of those Asshole-Prevention-Squad parents wants to tell me that I’m wrong, that it’s MY children with their over an hour a day TV-viewing time, mature-rating video games, access to unstructured play time without me, and occasional junk food treats that will grow up to be a general, all around, asshole, I’m gonna laugh. And laugh, and laugh, and laugh.
I know how assholes are made, and I’m quite sure, that we don’t fit the bill in either category. Even if my chances were higher for my kids with my parenting methods, I’d be more than willing to take that risk, because, quite frankly, my life would be TOTALLY boring without my rambunctious, mess-making, occasionally backtalking, but totally respectable to everyone else, kind-hearted, book and street smart, independent, and overly compassionate children.