Friday, February 8, 2008

Four for Friday: What Moms Want, A Mean Mom, School Drop-Off/Pick-Up Madness and Toddler Beasts

Item #1: What Moms Want

That’s a question a blogger at the Babble web site tried to answer. Do moms want to work full-time, part-time, no time? No matter how moms answer these questions, Kelly Mills maintains, it doesn’t seem as though Gen X mothers feel fulfilled by their decisions.

Item #2: A Mean Mom (Who’s Not So Mean)

You’ve got to love a mom who sticks to her guns. Or at least I love a mom who, after she makes the rules and her teenager breaks ‘em, insists that the kid has to suffer the consequences. No wimping out.

Thus I was thrilled to stumble across this Huffington Post blog entry by psychotherapist Terry Real. He profiled a mother who gave her teenaged son a car and said he could keep it as long as he followed the agreed upon rules, one of which stated that there was to be no alcohol in the car. Long-story-short, she found alcohol. The kid said it wasn’t his. She said it didn’t matter because a rule had been broken. She sold the car.

Real applauded the mom and parents like her by saying:

“Too many parents faced with this situation would become mushy and capitulate. These are the same parents that say, ‘You’re grounded for two weeks’ and then step on the slippery slope wherein day by day the kid gets a few privileges back – a phone call here becomes, video game time there – a week into the punishment, he’s enjoying most of his amenities and scoring allowance.”

Item #3: School Drop-Off/Pick-Up Madness

I’ve written about this particular malady before, the insanity that descends over parental brains when they drop off or pick up their children from school. It can be intense.

A Parent Dish blogger, Trish Robinson, recently wrote about school traffic lines, lamenting the unvarnished aggression they tend to bring out in parents:

“ Ever since my son has been in elementary school, I have been shocked at how parents behave and drive in the school line. When he was in elementary school, there was a line of parents down the street in front of the school, slowly crawling around the circle drive to pick up the children. There was always an obnoxious parent or two would come up the left side of the line and try to cut to the front. I never understood why other parents would politely let them in the line, while the rest of us followed the rules and waited our turn patiently.”

Item #4: Toddler Beasts

Ever think that your toddler behaves a bit like a primitive beast? If you did, surely in these parentally correct times, you wouldn’t publicly admit it, but you might, in the safe confines of your home share your observations with a close friend or relative.

Well now a University of California pediatrics professor has released you from your guilt because he has told a national newspaper that your assessment was right on the money.

“In his latest book, ‘The Happiest Toddler on the Block,’ Dr. [Harvey] Karp tries to teach parents the skills to communicate with and soothe tantrum-prone children,” the New York Times said. “In doing so, however, he redefines what being a toddler means. In his view, toddlers are not just small people. In fact, for all practical purposes, they’re not even small Homo sapiens.

“Dr. Karp notes that in terms of brain development, a toddler is primitive, an emotion-driven, instinctive creature that has yet to develop the thinking skills that define modern humans,” the paper continued. “Logic and persuasion, common tools of modern parenting, ‘are meaningless to a Neanderthal,’ Dr. Karp says.”

Yup, you read that correctly. He said Neanderthal.

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