Parenting isn’t about being your child’s friend. It’s giving them the tools they’ll need to survive in the world they will face.
Our grandson has a 2-hour video game limit on weekends—and no games during the week. We listened as he explained the specific guidelines. Yes, we’d been told AND we knew better. But since we were taking care of him for the day we broke the rule anyway. Besides, Papa was having just as much fun playing video games as our grandson.
Then came the dessert rule. Only one popsicle-per-week. Broke that rule too. Then the bedtime rule was broken. We were not obedient grandparents. Rule breakers make it harder for those who obey—and for parents trying to set good boundaries.
I should respect the rules. They're not easy to make nor easy to enforce and maintain. It comes with some grief too. Especially after one of our visits. Which is why I'm probably feeling guilty. Parenting is tough in this world of gadgets, gore-filled games, and the gastronomical grief of junk food.
In a nation with plenty of failing students, youth obesity, and disrespect for authority, my grandson is blessed with parents who are choosing to instill good boundaries. It’s not just saying “no”. It's about saying “yes” to playing outside, reading books, and exploring. He’s learning that his parents are the boss and right now his job is to do as they say.
Some families have fewer rules and life seems more fun until it's time to demonstrate character and responsibility—but they didn’t develop those critical qualities. Maybe that's why our nation has some young adults without the age-appropriate boundaries who want to keep playing games, eat whatever they want, and have someone else pay for it all. Fortunately, my grandson has smart parents. Next time I visit, I'm playing by the rules.