Times have changed.
We didn’t fall for that approach that many parents our age fell for, the “Love and Logic” thing. I have nothing against the phrase, but it seems that many young parents took it to mean there should be no boundaries put on their kids’ behavior. Supposedly, whatever problems the kid caused or trouble they got into could be discussed with them and their bad behavior pointed out be reasoning with them and demonstrating the logic behind the reasoning. I just don’t see how that flies with a two-year-old. Little Johnny probably hears, “Johnny, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Okay Johnny?” all the while wondering if he can have ice cream or not.
But this approach too, is quite a bit different than the parental approaches that were used when I was a kid. I’m not going to pass judgment on the overall approach to parenting in the 1960’s and ‘70’s (Horror of horrors! They spanked kids!), but in thinking back, I do wish I would have met that approach –and other aspects of growing up—in different ways. Like a lot of things, I broke it down by thinking what I could have done or said differently. And so we come to my list.
10 Things I wish I Would Have Said More Often as a Kid:
1. “I know you are, but what am I?”
2. “You’re being very rude (insert adult’s name here).”
3. “I can do that. No problem.”
That only instilled a decided lack of confidence in my own abilities and talents.
As a teenager, I wish I would have said it more, because I’d be asked to do some minor chore and I would whine, bitch, and moan about having to do it. And that was so unfair to my mom. I should have just jumped up and said, “I can do that. No problem.” She deserved it.
4. “Just because I’m young it doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
This ties back with the “I can do that. No problem.” thing. I actually learned things, formulated considered, valid opinions, and could express those opinions articulately. But I was often shut down because I was “too young” to possibly know what I was talking about.
5. “Yeah, so I enjoy writing. So what?”
6. “Nah. Thanks. I think I’ll take a pass.”
Peer pressure as a teen. I could find plenty of stupid things to do on my own. I really shouldn’t have allowed others to cajole me into doing more. ‘Nuff said.
7. “To be honest, I’m pretty uncomfortable right now.”
8. “I’m rubber and you’re glue. What you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”
9. “I really have no idea what I’m doing right now.”
10. “I love you.”
This simply didn’t happen in our house when I was growing up. Openly verbalizing your love was waaaay awkward. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that I finally began telling my mother I loved her, but I still didn’t say it enough. It wasn’t until my dad became ill with cancer that I finally got up the backbone to tell him I loved him. And it was awkward. But I didn’t care. He hemmed and hawed a bit, but didn’t say it back. Later on he did.
You can learn as you grow up, but how cool would it have been if I had only understood so many of these things when I was younger?
I probably could have conquered the world. Or at least many of my own doubts and fears.