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Do you play with your kids?

Categories: Bad Parenting, Guilt Inducers

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There’s only one game I remember.  We called it “Mixer.”  We’d run in circles on our parents’ bed while our mom turned on and off the vacuum cleaner, making the sound that we thought was similar to the Kitchenaid stand mixer that we were pretending to be inside as we ran in circles. Thinking back, this was incredibly forbidden. Not only were we in our parents’ room, but we were on the bed. Standing. Running!  The impeccably-made bed with the blue-green bedspread.  With our bare feet.

That was the only game.

My kids have had it different.  Until I started working from home and my Macbook became permanently attached to my lap, we played.  Every day.  Different games.  Many games.  I prided myself on being a different parent than mine, who were strict and unemotional.  A better parent.

But is it really better?
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Family bed: yea baby or no way?

Categories: Bad Parenting, Push my Button

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Half my kids spent a significant number of years sleeping in my bed. By the time #3 and #4 came around, I was convinced that AP parenting was the way to go. I carried them around in slings all day, breastfed until the cows finally came home to replace me, and welcomed the little buggers into my bed.

It took forever to get them out again.

Right now I’m wondering by how long I shortened my life span from being forced for years to occupy an 8-inch swatch of bed-edge by a two-foot tall torture expert with sharp pointy toes and kicking legs.
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Santa: myth or magic?

Categories: Bad Parenting

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The Santa thing was more or less ruined for me when I was about five and caught my parents wrapping stuff in the livingroom one night when I couldn’t sleep and heard suspicious noises. A couple of years later I found out where they stashed the goods before wrapping, and that pretty much finished things off. I peeked ONCE, and only once, but that was enough to kill the magic.

I wanted things to be different for my kids. I wanted them to feel the magic. I am still not quite positive that my 13-year-old son has figured out that Mama is really Santa, because we’ve never talked about it. Oh, he smiles knowingly at me over the heads of his younger siblings when we talk Santa, but I can’t quite be sure
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How much do your kids know about your money?

Categories: Bad Parenting, Guilt Inducers

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Is anybody else a little freaked out about headlines like, “How to Stop the Looming Depression”? Somehow I don’t think that’s just me. And when I read stuff like this I’m caught between the denial of my own financial situation—I’m doing okay and I have this Pollyanna belief that somehow I’ll always be okay—and fear mixed with hope for all the people who aren’t doing okay and who won’t be doing okay. And I think about how much my kids should know about their world, their neighbors, and their family. What do your kids know about your family’s money situation?
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When do you stop being a mom?

Categories: Bad Parenting

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I talked with my daughter last night. We don’t talk often; we haven’t been truly close since she left the house at barely 18 and an awkward wall of silence grew between us as a result. So when I woke up in the morning remembering the dream I had been having that featured her prominently, and when her name flashed in my IM list late last night, I knew something was up.  It was time to go into Mom Gear.

But how far do you take it? When can you stop being a mom? When do you let go?
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Do you swear in front of your kids?

Categories: Bad Parenting

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Growing up, the worst word I ever heard my mom say was “rat-biscuits.” When I was eight my mom cried when my older brother and I wouldn’t stop uttering made-up possibly-sex-related words, enjoying saying them for the sheer scandoulousness of it. She cried, we stopped. Later on I was exposed to real swearing; some words made it into my vocabulary and some did not.

When I had kids, everything changed. Like crying, the swearing I did was a part of me that I wasn’t sure I wanted to share with my kids. I’m by no means a sailor or truck driver (unfortunate characterizations, to be sure, but you get the idea) when it comes to swearing, nor am I a total prude, but knowing that my behavior provides a model for my kids put a spotlight on it. Do you swear in front of your kids? And when? And what qualifies as swearing?
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Kids and alcohol: do you or don’t you?

Categories: Bad Parenting

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When I was a kid, I was offered a glass of wine with dinner whenever I wanted one.

OMG.  That phrase struck you with, what, disgust?  Disbelief?  Discombobulation?  I get the feeling that most parents today, thinking about the possibility that Evil Alcohol might sully little Isabella’s or Ethan’s lips of purity, would swoon.  But I think that offering alcohol to kids is perfectly fine.  In fact, I encourage it.
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