When I was thinking about becoming a mom, I knew that one thing I did not want to be was like my parents. My dad was a high school teacher and spent all day listening to kids talk. By the time he came home to us, he wanted nothing to do with kids. Years later, I became a standup comic that talks into a microphone so everyone can hear me. Coincidence? I think not.
My mom's first priority was taking care of my dad. Everything else, including me and my sister, came second. There were no heart-to-heart talks, EVER. When I got my period at the tender age of 13, she slapped me across my face. Said it was an old Jewish custom. Ha, I think she was really just taking out her aggression ahead of time, knowing full well I was becoming a full-blown teenager. The sex talk? I was handed a pamphlet my dad brought home from school.
There was no time-out when I grew up. No punishments to speak of. Take away the TV? Please, there was ONLY ONE in the apartment we lived in and we watched whatever our parents watched.
We were hit when we misbehaved, mostly with my dad's belt. He never really hurt us, he was just showing who was boss. It was what parents did in those days. There was no Internet, no iPhones, no one to tell them it was not a good thing to do. After we misbehaved he would start yelling "I'm gonna get my belt" and usually, we got in line. Until one day when he started to use the belt and me and my sister just started giggling at him. All the air went out of him; maybe he realized how dumb he looked. All I know is that after the giggle-fest, he never hit us again.
When I became a mom, I decided there would be no hitting, I would engage with my child, I would be there for him at every moment.
Turns out so did a lot of my generation of parents. We were so horrified by our own upbringing we did a 360 turn and became our kids' friends. And that's millennials in a nutshell. We were so busy asking them what they were feeling, we forgot about letting them live their life. We were so busy doing EVERYTHING for them that we forgot how to teach them how to cope.
Yes, we all want our children to be happy and safe. BUT if they live in a bubble of protection when something bad DOES happen, they fall apart. Does my son remember that I went to every Burger King in the Valley so he had all the Pokemon dolls in his collection? That I stayed up late fixing his science project so it would go off without a hitch? That my husband made sure he was his Little League coach so my son would be able to play every game? Nope, not at all. All that stuff we (and most parents) did was for ourselves. To prove that we were great moms and dads and not like our own parents. Thing is, even with their mistakes, we still turned out OK.
I take full responsibility for raising my son the way I did, but I do wish I hadn't been such a helicopter mom. Now when something doesn't go my son's way, he reacts like it's the end of the world. AND he still wants me to fix it. Now I love my son with every breath, but my mommy superpowers have faded as he's gotten older. What I could do with a simple kiss to take away the bad is no longer in my arsenal.
We have created a generation of people whose mantra is "Meh" when it comes to anything. Whose lives consist of selfies and Instagram. Selfies/selfish? Why it's just a keystroke away! It does kinda make sense. They've taken what we taught them all along. "look at MY CHILD, how great is HE?" and made it so the entire world can see how special they are 24/7.
So who's the reason for their apathy? WE ARE.