Monday, January 7, 2008

Lazy Parenting 101

I am not a disciplined parent. I do not mean to say I am not a disciplinarian. I am that, for sure. Sometimes, especially during extended periods of time when the kids are not in school, it seems that all I do is bitch at the kids. I feel as if I am forever intervening, primarily between Youngest and the Daughter. Eldest, not so much. Then, again, Eldest toes the line. It is his nature.

It is Daughter’s nature also, but the constant cries for attention from Youngest drives her batty. She is on the short end of the stick around here. It pains me when I step back and look at what I make her do. I make her play with Youngest so he will stop the incessant whinging. [“Whinging” is the British equivalent of “whining.” That extra soft “g” really seems to better define the behavior.]

At 11, Eldest is too old to play make believe with Youngest. He is content to roughhouse with him for brief periods of time, but then it’s back to his interests, few of which meld with Youngest’s.

At 9, and skewing a year or so younger, Daughter is prime playing material. But she never instigates playing with that thing called her younger brother. He is the instigator. And her distaste for him – his neediness, his interference, his demands, his screams, his drumming, his core being – nearly always overcomes her eagerness to please me.

I think she truly does hate him at times. He is the one who usurped her familial position. He knocked her from the baby of the family. And such a needy baby he was.

On the other hand, Daughter can play by herself for hours on end. It is a talent she has had since she was a little toddler. No parental stimulation was needed. She was a loner. And than Youngest arrived.

A better parent would find ways to distract Youngest. A better parent would not sacrifice the happiness of one child – even for a few moments – in order to make another one happy. A lazy parent does just that. And I do it nearly everyday.

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