Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Parenting Advice

Pithy parenting advice is interesting to read but more difficult to put into practice . . .   except when you can direct the advice at other parents.


This homily is cute and concise and sounds helpful.   It reminds me of the one about packing half the clothes and twice the money when you travel.    Parenting is a difficult job;  I think most would agree with that . . . all parents, surely.   Advice abounds, but is it always welcome?

Some parenting experts will counsel that it is unwise to be a 'pal' to your children.   There should be boundaries and your children should respect you.   What then does 'spending time' mean exactly?   Being in the same room while they play video games?   Driving them to and from part time jobs, music lessons, football practice?    What exactly does 'twice as much' mean?   Twice as much as your parents spent or as the neighbours devote or the father who's a regular at the local watering hole?   Should a parent decide how much time they will spend with their children and then double it?   No cheating now.   You can't commence your calculations with a  number that is fifty percent.

What about time you owe your employer?  Even though a parent is advised to only spend half as much money, it must be assumed that the 'half' still includes clean and safe accommodation, healthy nutritious food, a minimal wardrobe and a modicum of entertainment.  A certain number of hours at paid employment will be necessarily for those not already independently wealthy.   Then there's your spouse.    What about 'happy wife, happy life' or 'happy parents have happy children'?   Some/many women prefer a life that includes activities/employment outside the home.    

Financially, it is difficult today to have one parent at home beyond standard paid maternity leave, even assuming that it the mutual wish of the parties.   Your children may do fine with half the money but your mortgage company and utility company will not.    Also, half the money may mean skipping music lessons or sports teams or family journeys to foreign lands.   

I suppose my analysis demonstrates that I could never be an advice columnist.

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