Thursday, March 1, 2012

10 things that parents really fear (that aren't as serious as death)

Being a parent is an interesting prospect.  You never really are prepared for it, and once you've done it, the best you can do is look back and second guess most of the things you've done.  After all of it, we end up surviving our own parents.  As a parent, we have a lot of concerns for our kids.  Of course the worst fear you have is that your kids may die prematurely.  You honestly hope to be buried by your kids.  At times it happens the other way and that is tragic.  The following are fears besides that.

10.  You're WHAT?!?  -  That's right, pregnant.  Now most parents really long to be grandparents, they secretly feel like maybe they can get a chance to use their vast experience and knowledge in raising a new stock of youth.  All of this of course is if it occurs within it's correct sphere and time.  Sometime during your child's tenure in high school is NOT that time.  These days it only matters a little if you are a guy or a girl.  It used to be much more important.  The problem is, we know as a parent just how much we wanted to go down the trail that ends up in pregnancy, and we honestly don't think you have it in you to behave yourself.  We HOPE you do, but we really aren't sure.

9.  Those are your FRIENDS?! -  We really are afraid that you might fall in with a bad crowd.  We all know that friends are both a matter of choice as well as a matter of chance.  If there is not a good crowd to fall in with, then there is only a bad one.  What we rarely if ever think is that our kids are in fact the bad crowd.  If all of your children's friends seem like a good influence on your child, your child might be the bad crowd.  Sorry.

8. That's your signature? - The contract.  Binding to all responsible humans.  I remember my first contract.  It was with the Science Fiction Book Club.  Whenever I didn't send back one of their little book of the month cards, they would quickly send and bill me for whatever hack novel they could ink to pulp.  It only happened a couple of times, but when It did I didn't like it.  Later I would sign my name to things like credit cards and cars. An ever increasing array of responsibility.  My parents likely feared for my well being.  But I survived.

7. Oh, I'm sure my little darling couldn't have done that. - This one works both ways.  You see, we really fear that our little angels are going to somehow be the targets of mockery and derision because they are clearly superior to the other, we can be charitable and call them 'Children', in that sorry vignette from Lord of the Flies they call a school.  At the first sign of trouble we are likely to march right into the principal's office and demand satisfaction on behalf of our brood.  On the other hand we could also be on the other side of this coin.  It could be our own little Fauntleroy that is causing grief and anguish among his peers.  The principal is calling us because he has irate parents on the other side of his desk that would like to meet your child for a duel with pistols or rapiers.  In either case.  We don't want any part of it.  We would like our kids to just keep their heads down, do their studies and be perceived as somewhat above average.

6. People aren't as bad as you think - Stranger Danger!  We really have a lot on our hands with the news these days.  We really have a paranoia about our kids and other people in the world.  Is it valid?  In some cases yes.  But on the other hand I remember on more than a few occasions as a child coming across strangers that were very nice and mindful of me.  I've lived in a few places in the country and I never ran across an abductor.  Are people worse now than they were then?  likely not.  Is news more pervasive than it was then?  Definitely.  I'm not saying that there aren't dangerous people out there.  There are.  And we as parents have enough in the realm of irrational fears that if there is some rationality to our fears we will take it all the way.  Keep your kids safe, and remember, more people than not are decent and hopefully will help you and your kids watch out for the ones that aren't.

5. Their parent's were probably idiots. - Whew!  your kids didn't fall in with a bad crowd, that's a relief.  But next on the list of parental panics is that they fall in with a stupid crowd.  Stupid kids in groups are such a powerful force for the obviously stupid that they can be more dangerous than bad kids.  We just hope that our kids have friends that are roughly as smart as our kids.  Assuming our kids are kind of smart.  Unless they are the dumb ones, then you want them to tie in with a smart crowd and hope it will rub off.

4. If I wanted to look in the mirror, I'd go to the bathroom - Kids making the same mistakes you made as a kid are so horrible it's maddening.  How DARE they make the same mistakes?!  Showing you to be stupid while being the fruit of your loins.  You watch them do things in a similar manner and you start to feel uncomfortable.  You wish the event would just hurry up and be over so you don't have to relive your own mistakes in the vivid color of the current instead of the age stained monochrome of memory.

3. Plenty of fish in the sea - Oh that first heart break.  You don't want your kids to have to experience it, but odds are they will.  You hurt for them, but you know there is nothing you can do.  You can try to talk to them, you can try to reason with them, but the ache will still be there.  You will tell them things that were equally ineffective with you, but you will tell them anyway.  You wish that your own love would be enough to keep your kids from the pain of new love, but it isn't and won't ever be.

2. Wow, applied ancient languages with a minor in pet clothing design. - As your kids get older you try to help them decide on a career path.  You steer them towards professions that will give them fulfillment in both career and finance.  Instead their interests lead them to things that at best could be described as a hobby that might make money if good fortune breaks wind in their direction.   You see time wasted and financial struggles and there is very little you can do once they leave the starting gate but hope they don't run back into the starting gate and into their room.  At 32.  Still trying to find themselves.

1. You eat with that mouth? - This is really mortifying.  When you hear your kids swear it's like listening to an idiot with a large cat and a chalkboard.  The worse the swear, the more amazing the discomfort.  I have told my children that swearing is an adult game and should only be done by people that have had actual hardship in their lives, not just perceived.   Honestly, the situation doesn't matter.  You really can't stand hearing your kids swear.  Particularly if they can't do it right.

Well, That's it.  I hope your leap day was a good one.  It gave me and extra day to come up with this.  That will teach you to add an extra day to the year!

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