Saturday, January 28, 2023

Being a parent; Dry January

Wife and I happened upon a TV show recently, the concept of which I still do not fully understand because we have only seen two partial episodes. 

From what I have seen, however, it appears to be a sort of debate among parents who use different styles of raising their children. Helicopter, traditional, negotiator, child-led, strict and new age are some of the labels I remember. There are different scenarios the parents, with their children, are placed in, and all the parent teams watch the footage, then critique each other. It appears there will eventually be some type of vote, and a winner named.

Obviously, as you can see, I have seen only enough to give this cursory description, and I am sure there is more to it than what I have just recounted. 

The last time we watched, the families went to a zoo where the children handled snakes. The point was to help children overcome their fears, and different parents had different ways of doing it. 

There is a zero percent chance I would have ever participated in such an activity. 

Watching has caused me to think back on how we raised our children. I guess we were what you might call traditional. I don't think we were overly strict. It would not have occurred to me to be "child led" and I don't believe adults negotiating with children is feasible. We probably crossed over into being helicopter parents every once in a while, but I tried not to. I wanted my sons and daughter to learn the hard lessons on their own. 

In short, we weren't perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But by God's grace, we managed to rear humans who today are well adjusted, responsible adults. All three own homes, hold down good jobs (as do their spouses) and are married, and two have children of their own. To be sure, those are not necessarily measurements of success or character, but I hope they are indicators of responsibility. (And I am pleased to say, with all humility, they are in fact possessed of good character.) 

Maybe each generation of parents says this, but I believe it is more difficult to raise children today. With all the electronics, the internet and everything available at one's fingertips, I would think the job of achieving balance is harder than ever. 

I am happy to help with the grands as much as I can and spend time with them whenever possible, but I am grateful not to be solely responsible for them. 


For the past several years, I have engaged in "Dry January" in which I refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages for the first month of the year. This year I started January 2nd, as we had friends over the night of January 1st, and I wanted to toast the new year with them. Certainly, I could have toasted with anything wet, but since I get to make the rules, I chose the second as my start date. 

As it has been each January I have done it, I don't miss the drinks at all. I think it was late February last year before I broke the alcohol fast. 

My drink of choice is beer, with an occasional glass of wine or a rare cocktail. I have what is affectionately called a "beer fridge" in the garage with an assortment of offerings, and there is a craft brewery not far from my home that I enjoy visiting on occasion. 

But no, I don't really miss it. I won't wake up February 1st (or 2nd, since I started a day late) counting the minutes until Happy Hour. In fact, I'm sure I won't even imbibe that day. 

But neither do I have any convictions that I should permanently abstain. My alcohol consumption is in moderation, and a day will come after February 2nd when I decide a cold beer will hit the spot. 

Until that day, it's Cheers with a Diet Coke. 


Kelly said...

There is no such thing as a perfect parent. I believe of lot of one's parenting style is gauged to the individual child. All three of ours were different and required different approaches. End the end, we did the best we could.

As for making a toast, give me sparkling grape juice any day in the week. I much prefer it to champagne. They offered mimosas at a church brunch recently and all I could say was, what a way to ruin a good glass of orange juice!

The Weaver of Grass said...

As I so rarely drink I don't need to have a dry month. I had a sherry with a friend couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it but can't remember when I had one previously.mostly decided we will not make the same mistakes our parents did - and we usually just make different ones - none of us are perfect. Love, kindness, affection - these are the things which make for 'whole' children as they grow up.

Ed said...

I too am a more traditional parent. I have no regrets, especially when seeing some of the behaviors shown by some of my children's peers whose parenting styles differ.

I used to drink a lot in my 20's through even the early 30's. Not a lot by social standards, but a lot compared to myself now. After getting married and having kids, I just didn't drink very often. I went through a phase probably in my late 30's or early 40's where I would occasionally have a drink, mostly to be sociable in groups, kind of like cheering in the New Year's for you. But the last perhaps three years, I can count the drinks I've had on maybe two or three fingers. Not quite completely dry but for all practical purposes I am. I don't know why that is. But I have always considered it a blessing because it certainly is cheaper than drinking water or diet cola and I know a lot of people struggle with alcohol.

Jeff said...

I think I'm a traditional parent, but I haven't seen that show (but don't watch much TV).

As for Dry January, I decided to make it dry until Robert Burns birthday on the 26th, when I raised a wee dram to his honor. But it was more than that, as my "dry January" started on December 21, when I was diagnosed with COVID. So I made it 35 days, but then I have gone back to the dry January.

Becki said...

Not a perfect parent here. I have some regrets, but I take solace in that someday, if my sons become parents they will probably understand more fully that we weren't all that bad. They were good, easy to raise boys, and Hubs and I have different relationships with them as adults (I imagine that is the case in many families). They talk to each of us about different things. I'm okay with that. I do think it looks a lot harder to raise children in today's world, than the one we raised them in (90's through the 20-teens). OTOH, our grown children probably have a different perspective on that since their view of the world was formed when it looked to me like everything was turning upside down. What I see as upside down is in many ways their normal.

Debby said...

I don't think any one of us is a perfect parent, but I think that we all did our best. I think that it is harder to raise children these days. The world has changed dramatically since the raising of my own. My grandson is navigating a world I barely understand. It's a little frightening to me.

Andrew said...

Yep, I feel like my kids were the last generation to miss "social media" and a lot of the modern parenting stresses.

Terra said...

I like your comment on Weaver's blog today and came over to say hi. I don't see a link or a way to become a follower of your blog, did I miss seeing a link/follow gadget? I read your post about books you read and we have some similar reading choices.