Five years ago when my children were four and six years old my spouse and I bought them iPads. They didn’t receive them as a gift for an occasion, it was simply that we spent too long in the Apple store waiting for a genius to repair my phone. While we waited the children played on the iPads and were smitten. When I think of it, the store concept is quite ingenious from a marketing and sales perspective. As parents we told ourselves that we would be doing our children a favour by giving them access to countless educational apps and getting them a head-start on becoming tech savvy. Retrospectively of course we were ridiculously delusional for ever thinking that way.
Fast-forward (do children now days even know what fast-forward means?!) five years and my children are entitled assholes. Monsters even. Their patience is non-existent. Want that new game? You’ve got it in seconds. They can’t spell, that’s what auto-correct is for. Their printing is virtually illegible because they usually type. Imagination is a thing of the past, they watch adults on YouTube opening boxes of new toys instead of playing with their own toys. They are lazy from spending all their spare time in a seated position. I can’t blame Apple exclusively, after all, I bought those iPads.
You might be wondering how all of this has any relevance to my own happiness, well friends let me tell you. Every day my household is a battleground. It’s parents vs children in a war for respect, cleanliness and completion of basic necessities of home management. Today for example I asked one of my children to shovel the snow. That simple request was replied to like this: “WHY DON”T YOU DO IT YOURSELF?” and continued on from there for longer than I care to admit. Had I ever spoken to my parents in such a manner an ass-whooping would have been imminent. Living in a war zone where every request is an argument and no one helps anyone with anything becomes exhausting. The heaviness of negativity is weighing down our house. I am tired. I am unhappy.
So what’s a parent to do to undo five years of entitlement? Take hold of the wheel and steer that ship straight into the storm. It’s going to be exhausting for awhile and quite honestly very unpleasant but it needs to be done. The children will need to earn their privileges through respectful words and hard work. We’re going back in time to farm-style. Do you want to eat? Then you had better help with the preparation. Do you want to play with your friends? Then you had better make sure the house is clean. Do you want to watch tv? Then be respectful and do as your told. Sadly it’s come to this and it will surely be met with resistance. I accept the blame for being too accommodating and accept my punishment. It will be misery for everyone but in the end I will be happier when they start to listen and they stop being assholes. One day they will speak to me kindly, in full sentence form and do chores without being asked first. At least that’s the hope.
I wonder if this happens to every generation of parents. In 1880 did conversations go like this?
“George, I really want to get electricity because it will make things so much easier for us.”
“Martha, I’m sorry but the answer is no. If we get electricity the children will forget how to light a lantern and start thinking they can stay up past sunset”
I have an old iPod touch that hasn’t gotten much use in the last 3 years that I’ve had an iPhone and last year one of my kids left it outside in the rain. It’s been sitting around collecting dust so today I took it apart.
I watched a YouTube tutorial on how to open it which showed where the clips were and used a putty knife. I was too lazy to look for a putty knife so I tried a tiny screwdriver instead. This happened.
Look at that, my laziness ruins shit again. I found a putty knife and did the job properly. Here are some pics for the curious.
Annnnnnd my end result:
I always thought I was a decent enough parent. Like every parent I wanted my kids to have the things growing up that I didn’t. For me that meant hugging them and telling them I love them. That meant ever so occasionally buying them things when it’s not their birthday or Christmas. It meant buying them new clothes instead of used ones. It meant buying them good quality running shoes. Don’t mistake me, I have no problems with buying used clothes but I do have a problem with paying a school friend’s mother for their old clothes that they don’t want anymore. “Why yes, I am sporting Trish’s wardrobe from last year, thank you for noticing”. I also have unpleasant memories of my parents buying me these horrible cheap hard plastic like running shoes which cracked the first time the weather got cold. I know these are superficial things, but these are things that still stand out in my mind and I don’t want those to be the memories my children have of their childhood.
I haven’t spoiled my children. They have many toys, movies and electronics, but I say no very often. Somehow despite my best intentions of raising thoughtful, caring and helpful children my oldest (8) has turned into some kind of pessimistic, self-centered, angry and whinny monster. I don’t know how it happened. When he was 4 we had our first talk about homelessness and he decided when he grew up he wanted to build houses for the all homeless. Now at the old age of 8 if I ask him to do anything he doesn’t want to he rolls his eyes and then when I call him on his behaviour he yells “I HATE YOU!” and stomps up to his room and slams his door. What the fuck? What the actual fuck has happened?!!! I’m not sure what I’ve done or what I could have done differently. i genuinely don’t know if he has some kind of mental health issues or is just being an asshole. In a desperate attempt to alter his behaviour I bought a book today called “Have a new kid by Friday: how to change your child’s attitude, behaviour & character in 5 days” . As always I bought it online so I’ll have to wait until it arrives. Presumably by the title I’m meant to begin on a Monday. I also bought him books geared toward his own age about being kind, materialism and self-esteem.
My second child (6) brought home a letter yesterday from school to notify me that she is being placed in a special reading program (the word “intervention” was actually used). I know she is behind where my son was at her age. I am now questioning whether or not I spent as much time with her reading as I did with my son and if I have now put her behind all her classmates. I’m certain that this is my fault and I feel guilty about that. I bought a shit ton of practice books online for her. So many in fact that she will probably hate school and learning in general.
I wonder if it is my fault or if every kid is actually just a little fucked up you just don’t really know it. If every kid could just wear a little sign advertising their deficits it would really make me feel better as a parent. I think this is a good idea. Maybe some signs would say “poops in bushes” or ” scared of mirror monsters”. Knowing someone else’s kid is more fucked up than yours would be really helpful.
I had two bottles of Pepsi today and it sent me into a Pepsi rage. Do you know what makes me mad as fuck? When someone doesn’t want to take on a task and is happy to have someone else do it until they realize that that someone else will be given a reduction in another area to make up for time spent on said task. Then all of a sudden someone gets pissed off and wants to do that task because they think it’s easier. I know this makes no sense and is vague as fuck, but just have a Pepsi, rage out and agree with me.
Do you know what else is makes me mad as fuck? Apple. Apple and their itunes. Also phone companies. After carefully monitoring my phone companies price on the iphone5s and waiting for it to drop after the iphone6 announcement, do you know what they did? They raised the fucking price instead of dropping it! Jesus fucking christ. That is bullshit. I called them and after significant negotiation received a reduced rate that i could live with. Bastards. I went in tonight to pick up my beautiful 32 GB space grey iphone5s and assumed they would just transfer all the old phone data. They didn’t but I was advised that it was as easy as just plugging my new phone into my computer. This was a lie. A bullshit heap of lies. itunes is completely fucking stupid and not user friendly at all. It took at least 3 hours to get it sorted out and included switching back and forth phones numerous times and googling for help. I had two phones in front of me and was getting texts from different people on each phone. Oh, and think all those texts that you have deleted in the past are gone? No they fucking well aren’t because the texts on my new phone are all from the winter of 2014. Anyone want to relive the past?! Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Goddamn it apple you are bullshit. Then when I finally sorted it all out (more or less, 600 of my songs are still missing) I went to try my new phone and guess what? It didn’t remember any of my user names or passwords for my apps. I had to enter them all again! Jesus, who can remember all that shit. Well apparently I can but it took me a very long time. I’m going to start a “suck a giant hairy cock list” and Apple can go right to the top.
I think I should implement a one Pepsi/day limit.