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Friday, November 23, 2012

How did we ever raise our kids? "Parental Guidance" sounds like a page from real life

Marisa Tomei, Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Tom Everett Scott and kids in "Parental Guidance"
So. I was sitting with a bunch of friends my age - all of us grandmothers. We were talking about old-school punishment. One woman remembered being advised to spank with a wooden spoon that had a hole in it "to cut down on wind resistance."
The conversation evolved to today's parenting styles.
One person in the group told a story about being corrected by her children re: how to handle the grandchildren. "They told me not to praise them," she said. "That's a bad thing now."

We started laughing, and the examples flowed from there.

"They say the kids are 'challenging' instead of 'naughty.'"

"We're supposed to say 'Be a good listener' instead of 'Obey me!'"

"My daughter tries to never say 'no' to her kids. You should see the contortions she goes through!"

"Use your words."

"Make good choices!"

That one brought down the house.

I recently saw a trailer for a movie that must have evolved from a conversation like this one: "Parental Guidance" with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as the grandparents. In the trailer, their daughter (played by Marisa Tomei) lectures them on proper parenting techniques.

I remember my parents and parents-in-law laughing because my husband and I insisted on using car seats and, later, seat belts, for our kids.

How clearly I remember my baby sister Sally sleeping in a little bed on the floor of our moving car.

My mother once told me that when she was in labor, she never rushed into the hospital; she just "sat in the car in the parking lot and smoked" until it was really time to go in and have the baby. (She had five of us.)

How does anyone ever raise kids?

My mother used to say, "Kids grow up in spite of their dumb parents." She had a point there.

Anyway, can't wait to see the movie.

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