Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The New Rules Of Sharing

My 17 year old had a friend come over and I heard loud voices, then the friend left.  Curiosity led me to his room so I asked, "What was that all about?"

"DJ wanted to borrow the pool key."

We live in a neighborhood that has a community pool.  It's not very big, always overcrowded and I think in six years I sat out there once, never putting foot in the water.  It's got a fence with a locked gate and only homeowners have a key.  A key.  One per house and they change the lock annually.

So I pause then say, "If you don't get the key back, there won't be another one."  I could care less, but my son goes down with his friends occasionally...

My son likes to share.  Although I should commend his generosity, it bothers me.  When he was old enough to hold something in his own hands, if another kid wanted it, whatever it may be, he'd give it up.  Happily.  A gentle soul that was often taken advantage of and other parents of bullies knew it, encouraging their kid to go get whatever he had.

Where I've been touted for raising such a gentleman, I cringed inside believing he'd never stand up for himself, but let me go somewhere else first....

What right does any child have to ask for something that belongs to my son?  What right does another mother have to expect my child to hand over something that doesn't belong to her child?  "Oh just let him see it for a minute."  Why, because your kid is throwing a tantrum?

No.  Go buy your kid their own!  So I've lost a few friends over the years because of this, but I don't agree with this new generation of entitlement.

Gimme.  I have never seen such spoiled brats demanding more and more without earning it.  You shouldn't get a pay raise just because you showed up for work.  The squeaky wheel sometimes needs to squeak because it's not working properly and it should stay a reminder of that fact.

My son has a lot.  Every video game system, every game he's ever asked for, a big screen TV, he has the big recreation room over the garage as his bedroom with a leather sofa, papasan chairs, marble topped tables, book shelves and his bedroom set. His own bachelor pad.  BUT, he's never received anything without earning it first.  If he gets straight A's, he's earned that all on his own (no, I don't do his homework) and I reward his hard work with whatever he asks for, within reason.  The honor roll gets him a video game.  One per report card.

This year he's had straight A's the entire year as a Junior in high school, with honors classes, and I told him if he stays on it until summer, I'd buy him the one thing that eludes him:  the WiiU.  One B and he has to wait until Christmas.  I think that's fair.  He works extremely hard and he earns his things.

He has a friend that gets stuff just because my son does, he's a C-D student.  Another friend, is failing school, smokes marijuana and gets everything because his parents are divorced and they feel bad.

I have three rules in my house, I've repeated them like a mantra over the years:

1.  Never lie to me.  Always tell me the truth and you'll never get in trouble.  I may need to take a breath and walk away, but it keeps him honest.
2.  Ask me anything, no matter how awkward and I'll always answer honestly.  If I don't have the answer, I'll find it an get back to you as soon as possible.  And I do.
3.  Your only job is the make good grades and go to college, a real one.  I don't care if you're a hobo after you graduate, you'll have that degree when you're ready.

Rules 1 & 2 have kept an open line of communication and trust.  That I'm proud of every time he uses them.

Rule 3 leads back to my point.  He works hard, he gets rewarded.  I don't just hand him something because he wants it.  That's not how the real world works.

When I was a kid if I messed up, I got spanked.  I also got grounded and told "NO!"  I'm sick and tired of the not-my-kid parents and their weird system of if their kid wants it, then go take it, and it's ok!

Because it's not.

I started with, "You might not want that, my son has some virus they haven't identified yet."  Which worked wonders with the germaphobic era of kids being allergic to everything.

Then I eventually turned into, "Nope. Get your own," after things either came back broken and I had to buy a new one because the other parent claimed it came that way or it never came back at all with parents denying their kids ever had it.

You didn't like discipline so you thought spoiling your child irrevocably then defending their poor decisions and bad behavior would be a better way to go?

I surround myself with like-minded parents and avoid it all together, because sharing is not caring, sharing is a pain in the ass saying that parents of spoiled children created to justify their actions.

In the end, that kid brought the pool key right back.  That was what the arguing was all about.  My Bear cub has turned into a Grizzly and I couldn't be more proud!

My Zimbio
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