I know you all answered yes. And that’s great. I think we are all better parents than our parents were to us, mostly because we are just more conscious of what we are doing, the choices we make, and the research we do to raise our children. Our parents did not do all of the aforementioned because the times were different and they did not have to.
So you are a good parent, so what, who cares? For me, that is only half the job. The other half is marketing.
Does your kid know you are a good parent? What a waste if they don’t. I am a firm believer in the marketing method of parenting. When my son complains about my disciplinary procedures, I explain to him that he is getting a much laxer punishment than I received. In my heart I understand he would rather have no discipline, but if I explain the harsher discipline of the “olden days” I may get credit for being a better parent than he thought.
And sometimes I take it a step further. I have had instances where I have had to defend my child’s behavior at his school. Well, why shouldn’t I get credit from him for doing that? This is not like the highest level of charitable giving that our religious institutions raise us with that says anonymous giving is the highest form of charity. No, if I am going to work hard for my kid, he needs to know, I share with him what I have done. If he was there, I remind him of how defensive I got on his behalf. I want some of his self esteem to come from the fact that he had a parent who fought for him, who defended him, and who took the best care of him that he could have. Sometimes I have to make sure he knows this by selling myself, by marketing my work!
We went to the movies over this past weekend. My son loves the fruits of my blog labor. Sometimes he fails to understand that some of that labor must come from him. Just take the damn picture in front of the movie poster for my blog post! Just let me check my email to see if Alison or Adam wrote back to say where they were sitting! I had to go to the Javits Center afterwards and left my spouse and son to go home, I was furious the whole mile walk over there. And then I realized, my 9 year old’s behavior is not what matters here, it is my reaction. Holy crap, what a revelation. I know the relationship I want with my son, and I know only I can lay the groundwork to hopefully, if I am lucky, achieve that relationship. I may not, but at least I can give it my best effort. That evening we had a talk, I told him how I grew up, I told him how I wanted him to grow up, I told him how I wanted to have a different relationship with him than I had with my dad. I wasn’t thinking in terms of marketing at this point, I was just talking about my feelings and asked him to talk about his. Perhaps this was the most direct form of marketing that I could have done,
I want my son to grow up knowing that whatever happens between us, that even though I am the disciplinarian, I am also his biggest supporter and fan. I want him to know deep in his heart that daddy Mitch always came to his defense, always supported him and most importantly respected him enough to talk to him about any mutual issues that arose between us.
And if you think I have over thought this whole parenting thing, you are 100% correct!