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The parent children cycle(4 posts)

The parent children cyclecarnageasada
Nov 1, 2002 5:05 AM
Riding yesterday, I had several thoughts that I wanted to bounce off other people. I'll quick ramble into some background. Like many people, I grew up with a loving but strict mother. Her love for my sister and I were never in doubt but her methods of mothering . . . well, just the usual stuff. Curfews, one hour of TV a day, eat all your vegetables before you leave the table., etc. Horse whippings.
But I did hate vegetables. When the corn or beans got cold and I was sitting at the table and everyone had left I would have preferred a horse whipping to eating. Anyway, like any child I promised myself I would never, ever make my children have to eat their vegetables. And I don't. By God if they don't want to eat their broccoli, so what? But one thing I noticed is that to cope with my mother's strict ways, my sister and I developed a little sense of humor. Here I'd like to throw in that I remember reading somewhere that Jimmy Buffet was brought up by strict nuns. Coping mechanisms, it's all about coping mechanisms isn't it? Those nuns probably helped Jimmy develop a little humor and hedonism.
Now that I'm a relatively easy going parent. We do have rules but I don't make my children eat their vegetables I'm finding something strange happening. My oldest son is turning into a disciplinarian. Maybe it's genetics? He's six but he gets upset if 'I' don't finish my food or his brother doesn't finish his food. He gets upset if 'I' don't buckle in before I start the car. And honestly, I love the kid but he has no sense of humor. He doesn't even like knock, knock jokes.
I'm wondering if I'm stunting his coping skills by not being more strict. Or maybe he's just filling in my parenting gaps by being strict on himself? Has anyone else out there struggled with these thoughts?
Environment versus Geneticssn69
Nov 1, 2002 6:41 AM
Senior C. Asada, (prefer machaca myself), I'm not a parent--yet (that clock is ticking loud enough in my house right now to rattle my fillings), but I've been closely watching all of my peers who've squirted kids in the past two years. I am a firm believer that evironment will affect a lot, but a certain percentage of who we are is nonetheless determined by how our brains process information and manage emotions.

Again, with the admitted humility that I'm not a parent, perhaps the more important question to ask is if your eldest boy is happy? I would think that would be more important that a sense of humor or type-A tendancies. It's probably worth remembering that his neuro-pathways are still forming (literally), and his perspectives on his surroundings and his behaviors will continue to change and evolve as he gets older.

FWIW, my mom was a Transactional-Analysis-Age-of-Aquarius-Self-Aggrandizement type. Thus, I was raised as a "small adult" from the start, always encouraged to share my feelings and to express myself. ...And, accordingly, now I hate it when someone asks me to share my emotions.

...Especially after I endo on a gnarly patch of down-hill.
=)
re: The parent children cycleMcAndrus
Nov 1, 2002 7:26 AM
Assuming the kid is otherwise well adjusted then it may just be his innate personality. Let me give an example.

My oldest - now 19 - constantly stretched the rules and tested her ol' mom and dad. My youngest - now 16 - looks for rules to obey and if she can find them she makes them up - honest! The oldest will pull the ol' Detroit stop at a stop sign (a slow roll). The youngest comes to a complete stop, looks both ways, signals all turns, etc.

Same parents, same household, just different personalities.
Don't forget the normal cycles of development, either...cory
Nov 1, 2002 8:48 AM
I'm an expert on this, of course, because I have two kids of my own (22 and 17) who aren't in jail....
Kids go through normal cycles of development, doing all kinds of weird stuff, just figuring out how things work. Also, their personalities are innately different, even if their environments are identical. You'd hardly know my children were related, if you judged by their approaches to life. Things tend to even out in the end, assuming a relatively normal, loving upbringing, and it's nothing to worry about.
If I could just make one tiny paternalistic point, though: Make them eat the goddamn vegetables. There are real, serious, life-affecting reasons for doing it (cancer, heart disease, lifetime problems beginning in their pre-teens). Check any source on nutrition and health, and you'll see that American kids are showing signs of heart disease even in elementary school. Be a man. Set an example. Eat a carrot.