White Knuckle Parenting: 10 Things Parents Know (That Kids Don't Want to Hear)

Parents have decades of hard-won experience and knowledge, yet our kids seem to think we know nothing at all. Here's what we know, kids. Here's what we know.

I had a little mental scuffle with my oldest son last weekend. I was trying to impart wisdom to him and he was emphatically doubting my ideas—with tears. I lost the skirmish; it turns out that his ironclad grip on delusion and his sad little face were stronger than my years of experience.

It got me thinking though about the things that I have learned over the course of my many years that my kids are convinced they know better about. I made a handy little list that I can stow away and pull out in 30 years to show them that I was right all along.

1. Being edited makes you a better writer. Being edited can also feel like the worst thing in the world, but it almost always improves what you produce. This is the scuffle I had with my son last weekend. I'll give you one guess as to who was editing whom. 

2. Sleeping in is awesome! One of my kids sets his alarm clock for 6:30 on weekends so he won't accidentally squander valuable lying around time by sleeping. The other two have no need for alarm clocks, waking naturally at ungodly times of the morning. I don't know when kids finally learn that it is a crucial part of life to pursue sleep at all times and all costs, but I wish it would happen already.

3. Napping is awesome! See above.

4. We know you're awake in your room after bedtime reading with a flashlight. We're okay with it. In fact, as long as it doesn't go on too long, we encourage it.

5. Time goes too fast; don't try to rush it. Even if you want your birthday or Friday to come faster, you should enjoy being young. Trust me, you'll be an adult before you know it and you will miss all of those random Thursdays that you wished would go faster.

6. Even if you are given the opportunity to eat a whole bag of cookies, you probably shouldn't. There are very few instances where an entire bag of cookies is a good idea. To be honest though, it took me a long time to learn this one.

7. Enjoy school. My youngest son gets sad a lot because the school day is so long. If only he knew how much more fun school is than all of the stuff you have to do as an adult.

8. You will grow up to shake your head in embarrassment about the silly things you are doing now. I hope my kids' future selves don't feel too silly though because they are the most charming human beings I've ever met. (What they should really shake their heads in embarrassment about is the way they are going to act during college.)

9. It is worth enduring discomfort to experience something wonderful. That photo up there is of my husband trying to explain this to one of my sons. The something wonderful was a walk around Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay. The discomfort was a gale force wind. My kiddo eventually agreed to go for the walk—after I gave him my coat. Proving my point, I still had a lovely time.

10. How can I be so old and wise and yet they still get their young and adorable ways more often than I care to admit—but I am willing to let them hate me for my decisions when it really matters? Oh, that's right, it's because parents will do everything in their power to make their children happy and successful.

Jean, a.k.a. Stimey, writes a personal blog at Stimeyland and runs an autism-events website for Montgomery County, Maryland, at AutMont. You can find her on Twitter as @Stimey and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Stimeyland.

Jean Winegardner February 27, 2013 at 02:46 AM
This is fair. I guess I'm thinking more of college. The school I would never redo is middle school. And high school. And, yeah, grade school *was* kinda rough, now that I think about it. But college...college was awesome.
Luna February 27, 2013 at 07:48 PM
K-12. I hated it. LOVED University though. Oh, that was wonderful. So much so I spent 4 years getting an MA after the BA. If the kids would be self-sufficient, I'd go back now. ;)
Delora February 28, 2013 at 06:36 AM
I KNOW you shouldn't eat an entire bag of cookies at a time, but that still doesn't stop me from doing it. Even though I know I'll regret it when I'm done, and I DO regret it, I STILL do it. Regularly. Clearly I need you as my mom.
Barbara Quintin February 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM
I disliked school from the beginning to the end. I lasted 2 years in college until I failed physics andI learned I would have to take it again with the same boring professor. I had an A in lab. and an F in theory. LOL I could do lab but didn't know why... Called my mother to come and get me and I went off to work which I loved. My mom so wanted me to go to college as she and my dad never had the chance. My dad died when I was 17 and so I went. I did meet my bestest friend in the whole world... 57 years ago and we still are... so I guess college was good. ;-) I am trying to cut off my diet soda also and buy a 2 liter bottle that has to last week. Very hard but am doing it... I drink a lotion water and iced tea.
Barbara Quintin February 28, 2013 at 11:53 AM
*a lot of


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