One thing I wasn't prepared for when I became a parent was how hard it is to discipline kids if you're a person who is slow to anger.
I could never be a child abuser, because kids just don't make me that mad. That also means I'm not a great disciplinarian, because I find it difficult to care very much about things like wire hangers.
In some families, a mother who lacks that school-marm instinct is balanced out by a dad who is scary. Or vice versa. In our household, both parents are laid back.
I find myself having to fake it quite a bit, and wondering how other parents find their anger so naturally.
When I'm in a great mood, and the phone rings, and it's one of my kids' teachers saying my child is talking too much in class, I know the expectation is that I'm supposed to go from copacetic to irate in two seconds flat. I wait two seconds, but I'm still in a good mood. So I sternly say something like, "Well, there will be consequences for him when he gets home!'' And that makes the teacher happy.
I found a helpful column about the seven signs of laid-back parenting, which I'll post on the jump. It's frightening, really.
Life would be so much easier if I had a deep well of Parent Anger to tap into, like my own parents did.
David Riel of Helium.com offers these "Seven Warning Signs of Laid-Back Parenting" (click here for his full column):
1. You don't know where your child is right now. Could you tell someone where your children are right now, without having to look into it? You should be able to. The questions are going to get harder.
2. You can't name three of your child's friends. So if you have three kids, that's nine names. If you can't do it, ask yourself why not.
3. You don't know the names of each of your child's teachers. Unless it's summer holidays, you get a failing grade.
4. You don't know what time your child left the house this morning. If you don't know this, and your child left the house before you did, mark this answer wrong.
5. You don't know what time your child went to bed last night. You fail this one whether you were home or not, if you don't know the answer.
6. You don't know what your child had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner yesterday. There will be things your child may have eaten without your knowledge,but you should know what your child had at each of these meals.
7. You don't know what your child wants to be when he or she grows up. If you can't recite your child's hopes, goals and dreams without having to ask, you get this one wrong.
As I have always said, it's very easy to be your child's friend. It's much tougher being your child's parent. ...