My daughter is ill with pneumonia. She has been home for nearly two weeks, and is popping some very expensive and modern antibiotics that appear to be working, albeit slowly. Yesterday was report card/parent teacher conference day at her high-school, as well as the day to reserve commencement tickets.However, at the insistence of the high school secretary who told me- in no uncertain terms- that I would not get tickets to my daughters graduation in May if I did not attend a “graduation seminar” with her, I was forced to drag my daughter out last night.
My goodness. Apparently, parents are so retarded these days that after sitting through 45 minutes of PowerPoint nonsense,we were forced to print, then sign our names, alongside our son/daughters, and check off the little boxes indicating that we had listened to all their warnings and that we understood what graduation was all about. What is going on?
The vice principal and another fellow stood before all the parents and kids packed into the cafeteria, and guided us through what was unacceptable behavior and what were punishable offences regarding grad. The sad thing is that throughout it all, it became very apparent to me that many of the parents really needed to hear all of the items that I had wrongly assumed parents would consider common sense.
We heard about the mom who called the school on Friday afternoon to find out more about the school grad trip to Whistler last year. The administration told her there was no school trip, that he had heard about some kids planning to go up and party, and that she should keep her kid home. He thought the kid was busted.
Nope. Said mom still allowed her kid to go,knowing that there was absolutely no supervision, along with all his friends – drunken fights ensued between warring schools and injuries were along them all. These weren’t poor ‘Surrey’ kids either, rather well-heeled and monied brats. Same goes for the alleged ‘school’ trip to Mexico, unsupervised, or the fellow who lost his free ride to UBC because of a grad prank that sent someone to hospital, caused thousands of dollars of damage and resulted in criminal charges. Apparently his parents felt he should get an exception,and not be punished, but the school stands firm and he was banned from commencement, as well as the festivities afterwards. Sucks for him, because you only graduate once.
Throughout the night, I heard young men laughing at the pranks we were told about, and I saw parents laughing too. Most seemed to think the school was too harsh, but it speaks to what a good majority of parents find acceptable in teen behavior, and why I sometimes don’t get along with other parents. I believe in guidance, love and discipline. Freedoms are earned through good choices by my teen, and she does make excellent ones. She is responsible and mature in her actions and activities. Some other kids in her graduating class? Not so much. Far too many are spoiled rotten twerps, too much money and not enough parenting leading to an extremely distasteful attitude of self-entitlement that will not get them far in life.
Another funny thing that I noticed throughout the night -and this is not a new occurrence – is that some parents seemed to be giving me the evil eye. I was dressed business casual, very respectable, nothing untowards. After mentioning this to my daughter, she informed me that some of the parents disapprove of my “age”, because I look younger than 37. She said one mom in particular thinks I must have been a “teenage slut” to be such a young mom and what kind of parent must that make me? Holy crap. I’ve noticed in the past how rude people can be, and some parents have actually asked me my age- to which I tell them none of your business. Funny thing is, although the above mentioned mother has 20 years on me in age, it certainly didn’t assist her parenting skills, as her son is one of the worst in school.
Times have changed, and I don’t think it is for the better. Kids need love, and sometimes that means being the tough guy( or gal).Giving a kid whatever they want, letting them do what they may, is not good parenting.You really don’t need to be 56 to know this. It creates a spoiled adult with no concept of how life actually works. The really sad thing is that I see so many of these young adults still hanging on to mommy and daddy after grad, because without them they cant bankroll the lifestyle of the young urban idiot.
I’m not saying I’m a perfect parent- far from it.We all make mistakes because there are no manuals and you learn as you go. But the mark of a good parent is learning from the mistakes you make, acknowledging them and moving on. My kids all know, even the 4 year old,that money does not grow on trees and has to be earned. They all know that each person in a family must( no ifs, ands, or buts) contribute to the household chores and maintenance or the family doesn’t function. The result is well worth it.There are no free rides in this house, and even the 4 year old helps out with his laundry and puts dirty diapers in the garbage for me. if you parent well and teach value and integrity while they are young, it will assist them when they reach their teen years.
We left the seminar arm in arm last night, thinking about the bittersweet year ahead.My baby is no baby anymore.She is a gorgeous young women whom most mistake for my sister and I’m so proud of her, and who she is. I know she has the ability to make choices that will guide her well through life. I also know that so many of her class will not have the same shiny future, and that’s a shame.
Being a parent is the most important job I will ever have – it’s just too bad so many others don’t share that opinion.