I was flicking through the Sunday paper today while I was sipping my coffee and chomping on my scrambled eggs and an article by Angela Mollard titled 'growing up on the fast track' caught my eye. The basic premise of the article was that our kids have to many external pressures and are growing up to fast.That our kids are no longer being given the right to be kids, they are engulfed in technolgy, swamped by media influences of what is ideal and have to many pressures to perform at a peak level so as their parents can brag about them around the water cooler.
Cmon parents what happened to talking about the footy or what movie you have seen lately? To me it seems a lot of parents are trying to have a second childhood lived through their kids and child rearing has become the next extreme sport. It is not how to keep up with the Jones in the parenting stakes these days, it is how can we blow them out of the water...little Summer Lee Tulip has commenced an advanced philosphy class for five year olds did you say? I was looking at a baby product website favoured by the celeb brigade, several friends had liked this website via a social media forum, bibs for $40.00ea and feeding cloth's for $35.00 each, now do not get my wrong i am not a tight ass, but surely even rich people would have more sense than to spend $40 bucks for something that is going to get spewed on!!!! Is this the next frontier? Or will the competition be who can obtain the first Versaci spew rag for when you feed little Angus? Seriously folks, me and the good wife just loaded up the bag with the boring old white cloth nappies from the hospital as we were on the way out the door after each visit, served us fine.
Now as a kid, which is a few years ago, I could not wait to grow up and get out into the big wide world, "what do you mean i cannot stay at the backpackers in Bourke St with my friends to see Morrisey, I am 14 for gods sake" was one pearl of wisdom I put to my Mum..Now as a parent I can see where her reply of "over my dead and decaying body" came from, even if she did suffer a major cerebral aneurysm I would still have to wait for her to decay into dust before I could get out the door, bloody parents.
When I had kids I swore that I would not be like my parents, I would raise my children in a blissful environment of free choice, an endless supply of toys and dispute resolution would not be needed as we would be best friends and never have any confrontations....what a misguided fool I was! I still wish I could do some of these things but the advance of society and technology into our every day lives has left me in some instances sounding like my parents, bloody awful isn't it. Some friends look at me like I am a freak because our five year old does not have a Wii or DS, he actually goes to soccer training twice a week, plays outside in the dirt, reads stories and enjoys school. I am not saying he will never have one, but I will try and hold off as long as i can. For his next birthday which he shares with the middle child they are getting a trampoline, sandpit and a guitar hero game for family nights on the playstation. This last choice coming after much debate with my wife. I find as a parent it is that hard to find the balance between your kids being left behind in the schoolyard by there peers, or growing up in a "Call of Duty" technological induced coma.
I hear of kids that are in primary school that have mobile phones to stay in touch with their friends, what happened with jumping on you pushie and going for a ride to see them, or am i being too nostalgic? I used to have to wait to get to school everyday to see my mates, then weekends were filled with footy/cricket and jumping on the pushie with fishing rods in hand. I cannot remember any of my teenage mates being depressed, lost or struggling with a major identity issues, or was I just not looking hard enough? I get scared when I read/see the news and there are stories of young kids assaulting each other, their teachers and family members for no apparent reason, where have we gone wrong as a society that peers, family and authority are no longer held sacracent and respected. Do not get me wrong, issues like this have always been around through time, but it just seems so prevalent these days.
So i guess it comes down to us as parents to be strong and realise that we are parents first to our kids, not best friends or buddies. I do hope that my boys will develop the bonds of mateship with me, but I hope more that they will respect my role/duties as a parent as I begrudgingly have done to my parents as I look back. I remember my folks saying that balance is the key, on that note i would like to thank you for reading my first blog as I stagger forward on the knife edge that is parenting, wish me luck and hope that I do not slip and end up with that vasectomy that my wife is talking about.