FREEDOM

Even though I am one of the most liberal parents I know, with no hard-and-fast rules regarding snacks, treats, chores, vegetables and other issues known to burn fiercely in many households, my children have been heard to cry out every now and then “I can’t wait until I’m an adult!!”

One of the most memorable occasions occurred a couple of years ago, when I announced that we were going to Iran for summer. Instead of the anticipated cries of joys, the Princess threw me a bitter, if not hostile look and said “How come YOU get to make all the decisions?”

And the Golden Boy, upon being informed a few days ago that he would not be receiving a cellphone any time soon in the near future, announced his intention to run away and become an adult with his own cell phone when he was fifteen.

Adulthood. The glorious promised land of freedom, where there are no random, stupid rules about what, when and how to eat, when to see your friends, what to do, where to go, and what happens next.

I cannot remember if I ever yearned for adulthood or that I was so conscious of the tyranny of parents when I was a child, but I can see it clearly in my children now. No matter how many times I tell them that being an adult is no picnic, that they have to work, earn money and pay bills, what they see is me twirling the car keys, planning and organizing everybody`s day, telling everybody where they are going and then taking them there. And they want in on it.

I suppose this is one of the many contradictions of modern middle-class parenthood. Even as we strive to keep our children innocent, protected and happy, as we rush around waiting on them hand and foot so they may feel the harsh cold winds of adulthood later and later, they are growing more and more resentful of our management and order.

But I don`t care. I will do things my way, for my children, until the day I die. Then, they can think about how they would like to do things.

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One comment

  1. Thats so true. Sometimes it helps to give them what they want, but let them feel every consequence. U recently had a business trip to Japan, I thought would be a brilliant idea to take them family with. Our son spontaneously complained, since it was a week where he had school holidays and his birthday, and he wanted to run a party with his friends, instead of going to Japan with dad and mom. I said “O.k., your decision. Stay here, look after the dog, and grandma will occasionally come around to cook some food.”
    Than I launched the information (4 days before departure) that we will fly to Japan on a 787 Dreamliner.
    This made his jaw drop open. He envisioned the chance to send all his Facebook friends status messages from the run-way, like “sitting in a Dreamliner with on-board entertainment system of hundreds of movies, Tv channels, games and free drinks and foods by Geisha like stewardesses”. So after an hour of politeness he “generously” offered us to join us on the trip. I knew this will happen, and you can imagine what was my reaction: I said “Sorry, but everything is booked out already, and it is too late now. And also, we have not organized a dog-sitter and therefore he has to stay at home.”
    Of course, one day before departure we showed him a ticket on his name. And in fact the flight was 2/3 empty. For him to learn to tell what is important and what is not, the 2 days of uncertainty were an important lesson (http://brokenradius.com/2014/02/27/consistency-is-hard-business/).

    best regards,
    Michael

    PS: Btw, the childrens idea, that adulthood bears absolute freedom, is very similar to what people believe happens once you became a boss. This is anything else freedom, but more constrains and limitations than before.

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