I cannot recall my mother ever telling me or my brothers what to do with ourselves during our summer vacation; especially not at age 15. My mother never made me a daily list of things to do. She never required proof they had been done. Hell… she never even knew where we WERE most of the time, And we all turned out JUST FINE!
Yet somehow, as I sit here watching my son clock in another hour of ps4, I feel guilty, like somehow it’s MY fault that he is wasting his summer.
Why has my generation of parents decided that it’s our job to make sure our children’s lives are a never-ending amusement park of memories? Why do we now label parents as bad or lazy if they are actually letting their kids figure shit out on their own? Every time something negative happens that involves a kid, the world swiftly responds with, “WELL WHERE WERE THE PARENTS!?” We have completely absolved our children from any sense of responsibility, autonomy, or morality, and yet expect them to magically become responsible, autonomous, moral adults when they turn 18. When I was growing up, summertime was me out and about in the neighborhood learning life lessons until the street lights came on. If I did something wrong (and I certainly did!), blame wasn’t placed on my mother, it was placed on me; where it belonged!
In truth, WE are the bad parents. We have created children that have no idea what to do with themselves when left to their own devices. We are creating kids that leave home at 18…19….29….. and are immediately reduced to puddles of anxiety because we haven’t let them figure anything out on their own!
The solution? Hell if I know!? If I knew the magic answers, I probably wouldn’t be getting angry side-eye right now because I told my kid to turn off his ps4 to do a french lesson and some laundry.