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!


  1. Hi,Barbara region brown, this is Nancy Robbins,the reason I am commenting to your post about sharing, I started out reading about your husband thinking of you , as a witch, I am a wiccan witch , I think I was born to be one,white,one, not black you know there is a difference,( school of wicca)you have most deffinatly, made my day, after the week I have had , loosing my best girl friend from Dayton, Ohio to cancer,knew her 63 yrs., Pam would have enjoyed your story, can I joint you guys, as a friend,,I am a big coffee drinker,and my dad, was from the great state of n.c. I am a Triplett, I took care of a dear friend for 15 yrs,j.r.passed last yr. To cancer as well,he was a LaCroux, from the new Orleans clans,I am temp. Here in out skirts of atl.,ga.eeew hate it here, do not know what to do with my free time at the moment,go back to San antonio,tx. Go back to Ohio, or Sarasota fl.??? So I need you happy comments to purk me up, I hope I did not bore you.after my son was murdered, five yrs ago, I miss him a lot, he was my rock, I raised him very much like you have raised your son, so let the get off this band wagon, the view is giving me a head ache!!!!!!

    1. You have been through so much and still on top, that's what matters! I found when I was adrift that volunteering on Saturdays at Petsmart for adoptions helped at least give me focus. People always say to get a hobby, but that's ridiculous, you need to get out and do! Walk on a beack, hike in a park, breathe the air where you can appreciate the good things. Plant a tree for your friend and nuture it in her honor, choose something that reminds you of her. My husband says if I was a flower, I'd be a snapdragon and that laugh made me plant a whole garden full. As far as traveling, you have to pick the spot where you'll be surrounded by the most light. Laughter is the only thing that gets us through. Welcome and many blessing to you.

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