I’ve finally been promoted. After eight years (12 with their combined age) I’ve gained the rank of “Mean Dad”. Crash promoted me a few days ago when I wouldn’t let him walk to McDonald’s with the neighbors kids (as it turns out, the neighbors kids weren’t allowed to go either). He desperately wants to be independent and on his own and away from us parent types. However, he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of responsibility.
He’s asked to go to the store by himself. Occasionally Crash, Bang, and myself walk to the store for a treat. I have no doubt Crash could get there and back by himself. However, I’m not really trusting of others. He just turned 8. He’s allowed to walk or ride to his Nanny and Pop’s house by himself because we can see their house from ours. They are only three houses up on the opposite side of a rarely used road. If I could see the store from our house, I’d consider letting him go on his own.
Mean Dad won’t let him stay up late every night during the summer. Mean Dad knows how important it is to get enough sleep. Especially, when you’re a kid still growing up.
Mean Dad won’t let him ride his bike around town or the block by himself. Or with his older friends. Crash is only 8. There will be plenty of time of getting away from “the parents” later. Not now. Plus, his little brother is only four and will want to go with him. Crash hasn’t learned to be responsible for his little brother, yet.
Mean Dad won’t let him play on his tablet all day. He’s lucky he got an hour today. That only happened because he was playing at his Nanny’s house and I wasn’t there to tell him to turn it off.
Mean Dad won’t let him spend his birthday money because we’re going on vacation soon and I know he’ll want to buy something there. Especially if we go to the Lego store! It’s burning a hole in pocket but he knows there will be ample opportunity to spend it in a couple weeks on stuff he would never be able to buy here.
As a teacher, when my kids call me mean I take it as a compliment and I thank them. It’s a sign that I’m doing something right. I’m not their friend, I’m their teacher. Same idea as a parent. First, I’m their parent, then I’m their friend. If my kids think I’m being mean, I must be doing the parenting part right. My kids are protected. They are learning responsibility. I do explain (usually) why I’m tell them no. With a little luck they’ll take these lessons to heart and be the same way with their kids. So, really, I’m saving my children and my grandchildren.
*Note: I’m obviously not really a “mean dad”. Crash forgets about the times we go to the park and the splash pad and the birthday party he had and the vacation we’re taking him on and the plethora of other activities we do together. I equate “mean” with “awesome”. Hence, I respond with “thank you”.