Friday, February 10, 2012

Raising Responsible Kids

I saw a post on YouTube today which probably would piss a lot of people off.

I loved it.

See, I am one of those parents. I have really high expectations for my kids. Rules... yeah, we have those. In our house, my kids are really familiar with me saying this:

Your job is school. If you are failing at school, you aren't doing your job. If I don't do my job, I don't get paid. As a kid, your pay is going places, hanging out with friends and getting the random crap you want. As a parent, I am required to provide food, a roof, clothes for each day of the week and that is it. Everything else-bonus. If you want the bonus, do your job.

They aren't fond of that particular speech.

Another wild and crazy thing I am fond of reiterating in my house is that my kids should do chores. Back when I was a kid, we loaded wood for our wood burning fireplaces. We planted corn when our parents bought the farm. We cleaned out cow shit from the barn. Most of those jobs sucked ass.

I expect my kids to clean their rooms. If they have an F on their report card, they get dish detail. (Since one or the other kid usually gives me an F, I haven't had to do dishes for awhile.) My middle son is on garbage duty once a week. I expect them to put away the clothes I clean and fold for them. Once a week, we clean house. I expect them to vacuum and such.

I think that doing chores around their house teaches them to respect their belongings. Perhaps that is wrong. Maybe I am mean.

I don't care. It is the value system I was raised on. I have grown up to be a self-motivating person who wakes up and is driven to succeed. If I can instill some of that in my kids, awesome.

They think I am really mean. I chatted with my sons teacher today on the phone and explained that although I would love him to intervene and help my son, if my son doesn't clean up his act grade-wise, there will be repercussions. No movies, no slumber parties, no camp this summer if he doesn't fix it before break.

Someday, I hope they will thank me. Maybe they won't. But I want for them to grow up and be able to survive in a world that isn't going to hand shit to them just because they walk in the room. I want them to know how to work hard and that working hard will get you what you want. I want them to respect their possessions and respect themselves. I want them to understand the value of learning, so learning reaps rewards in my home.

The video that spurred this blog was from a man, self proclaimed hard worker, who has a teenager who went to the internet to rebel. She was complaining because he expected her to be a responsible child, much like I expect my kids to be.

His response was beautiful.

If you haven't seen it, check it out.

It may piss you off.

But I gotta say, in my opinion, if more people stopped worrying about being judged...if more people just did what they knew was needed even if it wasn't always the popular thing, we might not live in a world so easily swayed by the popular opinion. I have often faced censure from various members of the family that didn't agree with how I choose to raise my kids but my answer usually annoys them further. You raise your monsters your way, I will raise mine my way. You see, my kids might grow up to be axe murderers. Or cure cancer. Or be hobos. I have no way of knowing if my way of doing things will work or not.

But the people in my generation, raising kids around the same age as my kids, don't have any idea if their way is going to work either.

And having met some of the kids that are my age... well, dammit, the generation before was kind of hit or miss as to whether their method worked as well.

So, judge me if you will but at the end of the day, they are my kids to mess up. I am the one who is going to have to pay the bail if my way doesn't work. And if my way works, I am the one who gets to be proud as punch.

And although I can't afford to do what this guy did... I gotta say, I liked his method. And my kids did not. What are your opinions?


  1. On an interesting side note:
    One of our teen girls said that this girl was probably a rock star when she went back to school and probably everyone felt bad for her because her dad was so mean.
    I pointed out ooor everyone realized she was an ungrateful, disrespectful child who deserved what she got. If nothing else, this video has opened up fantastic discussion in our house and I hope that maybe it does the same for some of you reader folk :)

  2. I do agree with most of this video...I wouldn't have shot the laptop, though! What a waste!

  3. You ought to read what his comments are now! His daughter has such a wonderful sense of humor over this whole incident. Apparently, this has become bigger than he ever intended:) His follow-up comments(and his daughter's) are absolutely incredible!!

  4. Yeah, but the shock value of it. It was probably the last thing in the world a teenage girl would expect her dad to do. I have seen some discussion online suggesting that this was the adult version of a temper tantrum and that it taught the kid nothing.

    Raising teens, I gotta say that they really do come to think that all they have to do is get some sympathy from the world around them and that their parents are going to back down. This was a parent taking a stand and saying, "Hell no. I don't have to back down. Look, the thing you take for granted-gone. In a way that is irrevocable." Which is why it was sort of awe-inspiring impressive to me.

    It is really easy, as a parent, to cave to peer pressure. "Awe, you should let Sally go to the dance. She won't have another homecoming. Are her grades really that important?" Or, "Really? Just for talking back? I mean, couldn't you take a stand when they come home from camp?"

    And we don't just have peer pressure, we have our own parents and elder generation (Who wouldn't in a million YEARS have let us get away with this crap.) who ask us to cave, the kids asking us to cave... it is like an avalanche of people telling you NOT to punish your kids.

    That he said, "Nope. It stops here."

    Dude, whoever you are... applause. lol

  5. I agree he did a great job getting his message across and I don't think he overreacted at all. My oldest teen forwarded the article on the dangers of spanking earlier this week to me via email. I laughed and responded that she is just fine and now knows the consequences of her actions. There have been very few times I've regretted punishing my children when it was deserved.

  6. It's a fine line - between escalating anger and a proper parental response.

    I suspect there is a deeper problem in their family, a short video hardly tells the whole story.