There are two types of parents, those who tell the kids to "do as a I say," and those who tell the kids to "do as I do." At least, that's what I always thought until I really started thinking about it. When a national morning news program aired a piece this week on moms who smoke marijuana, I wasn't making an opinion one way or another, but I was wondering if they're the first or the second. Will they tell their kids to "do as I say" or to "do as I do"? And the more I thought about it, when it comes to my own girls ages 7 and 4, I realized that I'm a little of both. I'll give you some examples:
Do as I say:
I cheated on a first grade math exam from the girl sitting in front of me and I was nabbed because she got the problem wrong in the same exact way. I grew up to know cheating is wrong so in this case, it's an easy "do as I say" for the kids. Don't cheat.
Do as I do:
I pay my taxes on time, have never gotten arrested and graduated from high school and then college. See, this would be an easy "do as I do." Girls, you're going to college.
Do as I say:
I skipped high school one day to go see U2 at the Boston Garden and ended up being written about in the Boston Globe. The article went out to millions of readers -- including the teachers at my high school. I know the girls shouldn't skip school, so this would be a "do as I say".
Do as I do:
I slow down for people crossing the street, give money to random panhandlers at off-ramps (because if they're willing to stand there, they really must need it) and I donate to charity. This would be a "do as I do."
Don't make out in my house is a "do as I say."
Don't ever drive drunk is a "do as I do."
Don't overeat is a "do as I say."
Don't ever get expelled is a "do as I do."
Don't be a distracted driver is a "do as I say."
Try and be a generally good person, flaws and all, is a "do as I do."
In the end, I'm a flip-flopper. Maybe I'd make a better politician than a parent.
In some cases with my daughters, I'll clearly be a "do as I say" parent, and in some other cases, I'll be "do as I do." I know at some point, my past will come up as a point of argument. When the girls ask how my friends and I were able to convince our parents that we should be able to drive to Daytona Beach in high school to spend a week riding motorcycles, riding jet skis, bungee jumping and everything else we shouldn't have done, I'll tell the girls there is NO WAY I'm allowing them to do that. And I'll be satisfied to tell them that sometimes they need to do what I say, and sometimes they need to do what I do. There are two types of parents... at least. Which type are you?
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