Saturday, November 10, 2007

Postcard from the edge of "Nanny-dome"

I love being a nanny. I really do. Sometimes, it drives me up the wall. The hardest part, by far, is being helpless when you see your "family" steering into the crazy skid.

As faithful readers of this blog know, my 'family' is currently dealing with some issues with their girls. They have 3 of the smartest, talented and beautiful (inside and out) girls ever to walk this earth. (I might be slightly biased, but not by much.) But there are problems o'plenty. The oldest girl, M, is bulimic and has cutting issues. She's just a few months shy of her 16th birthday now, but I can remember when she was 12 and she would ask things like, "Is this healthy?" "How many calories are in this?" "Will this make me fat?"

The only 12 year old I knew who would ask those things. And I remember telling my mom that she was on the fast track to an eating disorder.

The hardest part of what I do is not being able to help sometimes. I HATE that because I don't have children, my advice is rejected out of hand. If there is one thing in this wide world that will send me so far out of this galaxy that NASA can't track me, is being disregarded. Drives me NUTS!

No, I don't know what it's like to raise a child. But I do know what its like to have to deal with that child when the parent is off doing whatever it is that they do. I do know what its like to have to teach obedience to children who run their households. I do know what its like to teach respect to impudent children. And I do know what its like to teach children about kindness and gratefulness... qualities that are sorely missing from children today.

From this side of the fence these are the most important things parents can teach their children:
Respect
Kindness
Obedience to those in authority
To be appreciative

Trust me on this... life is hell for those of us charged with taking care of your children when they don't know these things. And it shouldn't be up to us to teach them. It should be the most important task of the parents. Because, if you don't get those traits into your children, then what the hell was the point in having them? I mean, really?

And let me tell you, the best time to teach those qualities is when they are still in nappies. Because, when they get completely mobile & good with their vocabulary... game over.

I am over the top done with parents who insist on giving their kids "choices." GRRRR!!!! Little kids (most kids, truth be told) DO NOT NEED CHOICES! They need to know what is required from them & what will happen to them if they don't follow through with their tasks. They need structure and they need clear guidelines.

Kids need to know what to expect. Kids don't do well with life's little surprises. They must learn cause and effect when they are little.

Do kids need time to run and play and be kids? Yes! Of course they do. But the only way they can have that time is when they are allowed to be children, not forced to be little adults. Children need discipline, guidelines, clear expectations... they need parameters. Will they try them? Well, duh. But that's how they learn what behavior is acceptable and what's not. That's how they learn what they can and cannot get away with.

Is this any easy job? Hell, no. This is the hardest job, parenting. (Just ask my mom, I was a hellion. But she did the hard work & I thank her for that.)

If you want something low maintance and easy to take care of, get a turtle. If you are not willing to do the hard work, then you need a kitty... not a child. If you want a friend and companion, get a dog... don't have a child.

Anyway... sorry for the rant. Just needed to get that off my chest.

1 comment :

Mom said...

I see you did absorb a few things from you formative years. You are so right sweetie.........too many choices in the world today for us. If we are on overload, imagine what a child will feel with too many.