Don’t let the title deceive you, I’m not going to make my child a slave or something, relax.
When I was younger, there are a million and one things that my parents made do that I never understood, and surely did not appreciate. A curfew, for instance, was World War III in our house. “I’m 16 years old, why can’t I stay out until 2am?” (It was worth a shot, right?) Now that I’m a little older, there are things that I am happy my parents enforced upon me. What once was frustrating and stupid, now are the lessons I cherish and want to pass on. Even though I don’t plan on having children for quite some time (which I’m sure my boyfriend is stoked about), there are things that I’m 100% going to make them do. Whether they like it or not.
I am going to make them play sports.
Or participate in some kind of team/activity. Dance, art lessons, music, student leadership, yearbook- I don’t care. Shit, I was on the mock trial and debate team, and my Mom loved it. Activities outside the home teach you multiple lessons that maybe I wouldn’t be able to teach as a parent. Hard work, accountability, teamwork, understanding, winning and losing with dignity- some of the many things you gain from being involved. I think my parents literally put my siblings and I in everything: piano, soccer, water polo, swimming, student government, track and field, ceramics, the list goes on. Sure, I was slower than molasses on the track team, but it sure did teach me how to persevere.
I am going to make them mind their manners.
Now, I’m not the most ladylike or etiquette based person you’ll ever meet, but I know to always call someone who is older than me Mr. & Mrs. Whatever, until they tell me otherwise. I say “please”, I say “thank you” and I hold open doors for people behind me. People remember those simple manners, and appreciate them.
I’m going to make them turn off the television.
Ugh, the argument my little brother ALWAYS lost. Read a book dammit, paint a picture, get off the couch for god’s sake. I actually think that previous line was a quote by my mother at some point.
I’m going to make them be nice to people.
If my parents ever, I repeat EVER, got a phone call from my school principal saying that I bullied another student, I would have been in EPIC amounts of trouble. I don’t even want to think about it now. The thought, it still scares me. Never will I ever raise a bully, or someone who treats other people with less than the utmost respect.
I’m going to make my children take school seriously, but not too seriously.
I’m not going to be a tiger mom, but I’m also not going to let them slack. If you get a C+ on that chemistry test, that’s much better than I did, so good job! But if you blow off school like it’s worthless, then we have a problem.
I’m going to make my children like each other.
Okay maybe “make” isn’t the best word. I’m going to very strongly and openly encourage that my children like their siblings (that sounded better, right?) I fought with my sister all the time when we were younger and my Mom would always say “She’s going to be your best friend when you’re older.” SPOILER ALERT: She was right.
I’m going to make my children take care of themselves.
Teeth brushed, showered, room clean, and (in the case of my little brother) deodorant on. If something in the room smells like rot, it’s gotta go. I’m not going to make them wear designer clothes and wear pounds of make up, but I’m going to make them be hygienic. One day they’ll have to live with someone besides me, whether it be a roommate or a significant other, and one day they will thank me for this.
As you can see, I’ve put a decent amount of thought into this. Props to my parents for upholding standards that made me a better person, ya did good. I can only imagine how hard it is to be a parent, and how it can be a shitty job when you have children getting upset with you for having expectations. However, I hope that when they are old, they realize why certain things are done, just like I did.
I hope that one day I never have to make my child be happy, I hope they just are.