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Fifteen years of raising offspring have led me to believe that a certain level of superhuman capability in a parent, especially mom, is required nowadays in order to successfully fulfill the demanding needs of our children. I make no attempt to imply that mom should possess the ability to leap from tall buildings or have x-ray vision, although this would definitely make life with children easier. I simply mean to suggest that children today seem to expect more from us than back in the days when I grew up.

Times have changed dramatically since I was a kid. Respect for others and accountability for one’s own actions was always expected. For instance, if my mother told me to do something, the mere thought of ignoring her or talking back was unheard of. “Clean your room,” she would say, and I did so without hesitation. To question such parental authority most often would lead to disciplinary action-a spanking or grounding was certainly efficient. Unfortunately, with children today, the topic of discipline has become taboo. Forms of discipline, if there are any, consist simply of a ‘time out’ or an occasional reprimand. Is there any question as to why these young people have become so demanding?

No longer are parents in control of their kids or their actions; instead, it is now the children who are attempting to take control of the parents. While I have made a valiant effort to instill in both of my children the same manners and morals that were bestowed upon me as a child, the obnoxious conduct of other kids their age and parents who just don’t give a darn have presented me with an overwhelming struggle in accomplishing this feat. With single-parent homes and blended families becoming more common, the typical mom has had to ultimately transform herself into ‘Supermom.’ Parenting your own children is difficult enough even under the best of circumstances; however, trying to raise the children of your spouse or partner from a previous relationship is a trial by error task at best. Since my own divorce, I have watched my once well-mannered children take on the ill-gotten behaviors of my current partner’s offspring. The differences in child rearing and lack of discipline between these children are quite evident in our home. I am often left wondering who the parent is and who the child is.

Forget the fact that Supermom must not only work, maintain the home, and care for these demanding children, but she is expected to carry out every needy request and employ all of her extraordinary skills at a moment’s notice. In our home, I am summoned to listen with bionic ears to the insistent, trivial demands of our children and no matter how busy I may be at the time; I am expected to drop everything in order to serve them. These same individuals remain under the impression that I should magically conform to their own unique set of rules. Whatever! In the snap of a finger, this Supermom is expected to travel aimlessly around the globe to simultaneous destinations. With the blink of an eye, I must heal wounds and solve all problems. Yet, whenever these same children are asked to do (or not to do) something, they seem to think that they’re exempt from doing so.

“Go clean up your room,” has vanished from this life and has been replaced with disrespectful replies of, “I don’t want to.” My personal favorite, which I hear most often, is “I don’t have to; you’re not my mom.” The concept of cleaning your plate during dinner has now shifted to dumping food outdoors to the family dog. Once upon a time, the statement: “Keep your hands to yourself” meant just as it implied, “If you do that again, I’ll whip your behind.” Kids today falsely believe that pounding on others, including adults, is perfectly fine; however, dare not strike them for you, the parent, will be committing child abuse. Directing children to adapt the appropriate behaviors of yesteryear is nearly impossible with the uppity attitudes of today’s society. Whatever happened to ‘Respect your elders’ or ‘Do unto others’?

Times may have changed but our responsibilities as parents have not; and to meet the growing demands of today’s youth, it is our duty to introduce into society well-equipped and upstanding adults. Children are, of course, just children and nothing more. They must be taught to accept accountability for their actions. They must be raised to respect the rights of others as well as respect for authority. Combating changing times as well as irresponsible adults is now our new villain in raising children today. Who will win? Hopefully, the superheroes of our generation.