MamaBlogger365 – You’re Only a Kid Once by Jennifer Covello
Recently my daughter has been struggling with some challenges with her friends. Petty disagreements, gossip, and just plain ol’ meanness have entered her tween world. Nothing new if you think about it. Kids have been mean to each other since the beginning of time. Anyone remember the story of Cain and Abel?
Among all of the things that were being said about my daughter (behind her back), this one comment hit home. It came from an older girl who stated that she thought my daughter was ‘baby-ish’. Hmmm. While this bothered my daughter quite a bit, I wasn’t sure I felt the same way.
Is my daughter considered to be a baby because I won’t let her wear makeup or dress like a twenty-something going clubbing? Is she a baby because I won’t allow her to date or use profanity? Maybe she’s a baby because she doesn’t have a Facebook account or a cell phone that can send texts. Yes, that must be it.
We all remember those awkward tween and teen years. The only thing we wanted to do was to be older than we were because being older held some sort of magic we wanted to be a part of. Older siblings could stay up later than we could or go out on dates or watch TV shows we weren’t permitted to watch. I can recall saying to my mother that I couldn’t wait to be 16, then it was 18, and then it was 21. She continually told me to stop ‘wishing my life away’. She was right.
I told my daughter once that she had her whole life to be a grown-up but only a short while to be a kid and that she should enjoy every bit of it. Enjoy the care-free days where the only thing you had to worry about was keeping your room clean and doing your homework. Enjoy the days when the worst thing that could happen to you was being grounded for telling a lie or having to do extra chores when you called your sibling a name. Enjoy.
It seems to me that there are no young girls anywhere anymore because they are all trying their hardest to be teenagers or worse, adults. What a shame. We go from the adoration of babies to wanting to turn them into adults before their time. Fashion, makeup, supposed ‘role-models’ on TV and in the movies play up how cool it is to act older and more sophisticated. What ends up happening is that young girls never appreciate where they are now. They never learn how to live in the moment. They never enjoy who they are but spend their time on striving to be something they are not.
I suspect many of my kid’s friends and parents for that matter must think me old fashioned, overprotective, and strict. They would be right. I wear those monikers proudly and I will continue to wear them as long as my children are under my supervision and guidance. That’s my job.
It’s not my job to be my children’s best friend. That’s what their school-age friends are for. I’m their parent, their coach, their guardian and whether they or their friends approve of this is of no consequence to me.
I know from experience that they will appreciate it and be thankful for it at some point before I leave this earth. They will look back and thank me for showing them the right path, for teaching them manners and respect, for always doing their best, and for being as nice to people as possible, even when they are mean to them. They’ll be grateful that they got accepted into college or got that first job because the people making those decisions didn’t see embarrassing pictures of them on social media.
It is a child’s right of passage to hate their parents while they are growing up. That’s ok. I wasn’t fond of my parents either in my tween and teen years. I’m sure fond of them now though.
My mother taught me how to love and care for others, she taught me perseverance and strength, and she taught me how to be respectful of my elders. My father taught me to work hard, to strive to be better, and to be proud of my accomplishments. Did they do it perfectly? Did they do it the way today’s “parenting experts” advise so many parents? Nope. They did it in the only way they knew how… with good old fashioned values, morals and common sense.
That’s what I’m doing. I take what I learned from my parents, coupled with the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met and admire, and parent my children the best way I know how.
So – go on. Call my eleven-year-old a baby. At least she’s acting her age.
Jennifer Covello is The Purposeful Parent, an award-winning author, blogger, motivational speaker, and creator of Frittabello baby gifts. With her unique perspective on parenting coupled with her sense of humor and vast experience, Jennifer is able to relate to a variety of women and the daily challenges they face as a mom and business owner.
Jennifer has been featured on both radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate “cubicle dweller” to “mompreneur” providing helpful tips and inspiration to moms and dads alike. Most recently she was on Better Connecticut Weekend Edition where she provided tips on overcoming SuperMom Syndrome.
Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.
Mamazina Magazine is produced by Mamapalooza, a mom-owned and operated multimedia organization focused on women-empowered, mom-branded, entertainment, education, business & activism, including supporting the Museum of Motherhood in New York City and it’s 5 Million Wishes campaign. Do you know what $1.33 can do?