Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. I hold no designations in politics, economics or medicine. I am retired from the mental health field and I am a humanitarian and speak from that viewpoint only. Whether you agree or not, at least I hope it makes you think. Today I look at some of the things that I thought were common child rearing techniques from my own childhood. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…!
I find that Quora is a spot where there is a variety of information, yet not all of it is appropriate and some only use it for long winded circular arguments or to try to circumvent parental decisions (at least that is how some of it feels) and often don’t answer the specific question. I had read one that made me kind of sit up and notice. The question seemed simple enough at first glance…how to convince a 15 year old that they should spend less time on cell as parents wanted to restrict their time on it. The answer gave some kind of long winded answer to do with restricting someone’s childhood and all sorts of disaster came from it. I kind of shook my head. It seems there is a lot of parental abdication of responsibility because they don’t know what to do. All this media and kids have access to it all makes some people believe child rearing is different nowadays. I’m not sure whether it is because the kids are successful in arguing things like “but so and so’s mother/father lets them do it”…that only got me a strange look as a child. Usually the talk ended with, “I’m not so and so’s mother, I’m yours”. The other thing that took my attention is that the parents were talking about ‘convincing’ a fifteen year old to follow their rules. This was kind of weird. I might have been an odd child, or my mother had sufficient parenting skills to discipline us. By the way, my mother never, to my memory ever laid a hand on us. So, I know that discipline doesn’t always or necessarily have to have corporal punishment. She did however, use grounding and reduced privileges.
So, my surprise was twofold. One that a parent had to convince a 15 year old to follow some kind of boundaries and that someone made a huge story up to convince parents not to parent their child because they were being excessive. They seemed pretty hands off to me. So, just to make things a little clearer, here is how it worked at my home as a child. I did not have a cell phone. We were raised before cell phones were used widely. We had one landline. This was the emergency phone, communications device that was used for work, home, family, and friends. If someone had an important call coming, we were to stay off of the phone until it happened. Oh yes, and we also had party lines until I was a little older. So, you got to learn what your phone ring was so that you weren’t picking up neighbor calls. By the way, some people did…listen in on calls. They were called snoops. Anyway, that aside, the rule was simple and enforced. No one was to call out before 9 AM (though I’m a bit sketchy at the exact time so I use 9AM as an example). It ran by business time. If businesses were open then likely people would be up). There was no one to call out of the house after 9PM or 9:30 PM at the latest as people had to go to bed to be at work and some were early to bed. You didn’t want to wake them up. You could get away with the odd time outside those hours if someone was expecting you to call for whatever reason or it was an emergency, but you were to be in bed on week days by 10PM (for teens as a younger child it was earlier). If we went out somewhere, we had to say where we were going, who we were going to be with and a home time. If out to town, as we got older, then we had to have a dime or as pricing increased the coin increased, to have the proper coinage with us to call home in case of emergency. How did we survive??!! It’s hard to say, we didn’t spend our time on Twitter, hacking stuff, or annoying the elderly. Strangely enough, even when my parents weren’t home, we didn’t sneak in calls that were prohibited. We had learned to respect our parents.
My mother was a teacher and thus she was working during the day. As we turned teens, being as it was a college, she got two things. One was that she sometimes had to work in summer and the other thing was that when she didn’t, she was upgrading her skills to try to keep on top of things. So, we were at home alone during the week days at least part of the day as teens. During that time, part of what I did was keep the house clean, sweeping, dusting and such. Sometimes we wrote letters to friends and family, read and watched a bit of TV. You see, there wasn’t the Internet, YouTube, Netflix and such. Again, how did we survive?! Admittedly, I was an easier child to raise. I was told this by my mother. I only had to be spoken to and I internalized things. In other words, I was a quick to understand. By the age of 12, I was mature enough to get myself and my brother home and get supper started. I was in no way damaged by this responsibility. I was the one that asked for it. I liked my one babysitter. She was smart and pretty and knew how to even sew clothing for my Velvet Doll. But, by 12, I was outgrowing this and I think she had gotten a boyfriend. So, I started to pester my Mom and Dad to let me do the home routine.
I might have been somewhat unusual. My mother and I would have Mom and Daughter time when we did the dishes. She would wash and I would dry. She was a multi-tasking parent. During that time, we could discuss the day. If I wanted another privilege, such as the aforementioned get ourselves in the house and start supper routine, I could ask about it then. We could negotiate. My mother knew what she was willing to allow and what would not be acceptable. Now, dear readers and listeners, do not presume that this started out on day one. She was a mother first. She developed these routines, she developed discipline since we were babies. It doesn’t develop overnight. I would suggest if you want to develop a good bond with your children, this has to start at day one. If it does not, then I suggest that you find a good therapist to help to develop these routines and it’s a bit late in the game so will be tough. The sooner you start good healthy routines the better.
I do realize there are some children more easily trained than others. Not everyone is easy to train. Much like with dog breeds, some are easier to train than others. No matter what type of child yours is, consistency and starting early are paramount. As Anne Frank is quoted as saying, “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” So, it is important to recognize that sometimes, even with the best training and the most loving discipline, you may have to call in help. This is not a failure on your part or the child’s. This is admitting that there is something that you are not sure about and you need to get someone outside to look and see if there is maybe something that might help the situation. Also understand that no two children are alike. Some families may have a child that is hard to raise while another is easy to raise. There are different reasons for that. Some children have different personalities than others. Some children have different challenges than others. Getting help dealing with your child is an act of love.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is credited with saying, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” I think this makes an important point. If we do not raise our youth, if we allow media, their friends, TV, internet to raise our children, we are going to have a lot of problems. It is this parental abdication of power that creates some issues. The uncertainty and telling them that it is different nowadays. Kids are still kids. They will still test boundaries. What I mean is allowing the media etc. raise your children is not improving our world. It is not improving theirs. If we hand children everything, they expect everything. In the end, we cannot give them everything. So, what we end up with is unhappy children who go about trying to be happy by getting into trouble of all sorts. It is a cry for help. They have lost their boundaries. When I was a child, my Mother and I used to go out shopping sometimes. I once said I wanted something that was a brand and expensive. My mother looked at me and said something to the effect of, sorry, that isn’t going to happen. It’s way too expensive. We cannot afford that. When I objected, I was told that when you get out on your own and get your own pay check you can buy whatever you want. She did make the assumption that I had some knowledge of reality of paying bills first as she had taught me some of maintenance of life. I had to save up allowance to get things that my parents weren’t keen to buy me as they were unnecessary. I remember carefully looking at make-up kits because I was 16 and could buy make up if I so chose, but they weren’t going to pay for it as they didn’t think it necessary. So, I looked through the store selection of make-up kits and found one with all that I needed for a reasonable price. I had an understanding of boundaries, of cost, worth, and of reality. If we don’t give our children some understanding of reality, then we may have trouble down the road. I know we want our children to have everything that we didn’t have. This is not a possibility. The important things that you can give your children are: Love, discipline, acceptance, sense of reality, and your time. You have to feed and clothe them…but this doesn’t mean they get everything they desire. An allowance was given to us as children (my parents gave both of us an allowance). I liked to earn mine and willingly did chores. Like I say, I was a weird child. I loved to read, to think, to be busy. I was somewhat demanding in wanting to go places with my mother. She sometimes found herself having to get away for a few hours. That is acceptable too. She also knew that when she was away for a day, she could come back to the same house she left…maybe a little cleaner depending.
The following article https://www.verywellfamily.com/why-it-is-important-to-discipline-your-child-1094790 gives a view of why it is important to have discipline with your children. Again, please understand this does not mean corporal punishment. I don’t condone striking a child. I follow this more civilized definition of discipline in relation to child rearing which appears in the following article https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/discipline-and-children. Part of it states: “Disciplining your child means teaching them responsible behaviour and self-control. With appropriate and consistent discipline, your child will learn about consequences and taking responsibility for their own actions.” This is the best definition of discipline that I can find. They do a lot of explaining in the article and it is a good resource. You are teaching your child right from wrong. There is no child who cannot benefit from caring teaching. So, having been brought up with this sort of method, I can say that I benefitted from this. It was a different time and place. A lot of our family were in the area. My mother was a teacher. If we misbehaved, my parents knew about it. Sometimes after the fact. I tended to have pretty minor things compared to a lot of kids. If I knew something I did was wrong, I would change it. I had a good relationship with my mother and still do. This is not the case with all children, yet they can benefit from both being caught being good and consistent boundaries and discipline. It makes the world a safer place for them. They know what to expect. Children that have boundaries know that there is a real world. There are real consequences and there is real love from their parents or guardians. Whether you agree with me or not, I hope it makes you think.
Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
The Retro Child – E Jean Simpson, BEd, BA, MA Author A & J PEI Treasures
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