Ugh. I'm so sick of this question. Some of our most common answers: "No." "Not yet." "We're trying." "We'll take them when they come." "Shove a stick up your ass I hate you." (Ok, so obviously not the last one. But I sooooo feel like it with some people.)
Mike and I had a long conversation with some new people. We'll call them M and L. They were in their late 30's and had older kids. They had grown up in New York City and were discussing how different it is out here. They said that the drug availability and use here is rampant. I really don't know. I can't get a prescription for pain killers when I'm having a miscarriage, much less a headache. But these people work in a much different industry and say that drugs abound. I don't doubt them. I know a few people in my life (unfortunately) are druggies. Whether this is because of the ease of getting them or that they just have the contacts, I don't know. Then, we moved on to talking about kids.
I had told them that I was a teacher. Since I teach second grade, my kids are pretty good overall. Most of them still like school and want to learn. They still love their teacher and most of the drama can be smoothed over pretty easily. But it's scary how little the threat of calling home makes. I would have been begging and making deals with my teacher if she threatened to call my mom. We all came to the conclusion that we were all scared of our parents. We started talking about how we had been punished as kids and what happens nowadays. Not that any of our parents abused us. We all agreed that anytime we truly "got it" we totally deserved it. (I had thrown a brush at my mom. M had thrown curse word after curse word at his mother. L had been caught smoking. Those types of things.) Now, it seems that kids have no fear of their parents. As if their parents are not really in charge. In this age of child abuse charges and everyone being in everyone else's business, it seems like parents are unsure of how they are supposed to discipline their child. I don't have any wonderful revelations except this: consistancy people. Whatever you tell your child you're going to do, do it. If you start it, follow through. If it's taking away the computer, take away the computer. If it's no TV, then no TV. No playing outside for a week, then no playing outside. On on and on. Then they ask, "do you have kids?" And this is where I have to bite my tongue.
No. I don't. And not from lack of trying. And I know that the next words out of their mouths are going to be "well, you'll understand when you have kids." I understand where you're coming from. I understand that it's hard to do. And I understand that you can't always do it. And I understand that if you don't, you sometimes feel like a failure because you're not being a "good parent." No. I do understand. I teach a very large group of seven year olds every day. But if I ran my classroom the way some parents run their homes, I'd be insane and we'd have absolute Bedlam at school. Not that I'm saying that you can run your house the same way you run a classroom, but similar principals apply. Main thing being, kids need to know rules and consequences exist. They need to know, for example, that whining and crying and pitching a fit in the store about a toy that they're not getting, but they want, will NOT get them that toy (this was one of my biggest pet peeves while I worked retail). If you give in too many times, that becomes something your kid is going to do over and over and over. Now, as for the consequence for that, I leave it to individual parents. But whatever you do, do SOMETHING. Positive reinforcement for bad behavior leads to that bad behavior continuing.
I just hate that because I don't have kids, any ideas I have about children is discounted. And I know that things will change when we have kids, but I know that I can think logically now about what I would LIKE to put in place. Rules and consequences will be one. And I understand that there are grey areas and some things slip by. This happens more often than I'd like in my classroom. But still, the rules are in place and the kids know that they're just lucky if they don't have to deal with the consequences. It's not a given or expected result.
Alright, I'm stepping off my soapbox. To all of you out there in internetland, what do you think? Am I completely off the mark? Are rules and consequences unable to go along with parenting? What are some struggles and surprises that you have had? Help me out here people.
And to my fellow infertiles, do you come up against this too? Do you have anything that you want to have in place as parents that you think people with kids would laugh at you for?