July 6, 2015, Prescott- I read this morning about the “rising phenomenon” of children bullying their parents. Then, a short time later, a friend wrote me a message that her parent was referring to her in the most vulgar of terms.
This goes back to how I was raised, and how we tried to raise our son. No two people always get along, and the permutations of social discourse get more complicated with three, four, or ten, in the mix. The bottom line, though, is respect, Golden Rule, “how does the shoe feel on your foot?”
It’s a given that children regard having limits set as part of their safety net. Limit-free kids are scared, more often than not, and fearful people strike out. We raised our son with what common sense we could muster, encouraging his curiosity and exploration, and discouraging any tendency to view, and treat, us as eyeball-to-eyeball peers.
I would not have my wife be subjected to abuse, nor she, me. Son is a fine human being, and I don’t think he would be comfortable with being able to give too free vent to negative attitudes. In fact, he has said that, all in all, we set reasonable limits. Likewise, we did not ridicule or catcall at him, something that I have seen far too many people my age do with their children, in the name of “honesty” or “free speech.”
Millennials speak of “adulting”. I love that generation dearly, and certainly expect that acting one’s age will be de rigeur for them, as it should be for us, and for “Generation X”. Perhaps the term is natural, though, as we witness so many, from ages 21- 90, indulging in unseemly public behaviour, again in the name of “self-expression” or “my rights”. For the adult in the room to have plenty of company is a fine thing, and since it happens more often than the media would have us believe, it should be contagious.
My feeling is that, if children see adults being adults, consistently, and if they feel well- and fairly-attended, which means having limits set for them, then there will be less bullying, in either direction.