I saw the movie Parental Guidance last week..

Posted Friday, February 15th, 2013. Filed Under My Daily Dose

Before I launch into the movie I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and surrounded yourself by people who love you. This includes your love for you. Did you do something nice for yourself yesterday?

Back to the movie. My sons, boyfriend and I went to see the movie Parental Guidance. I was told it was funny and I like the actors in the movie. The movie was funny. I laughed at many parts. I also cried. You ask why, what would make me cry? I found it sad that the daughter, played by Marisa Tomei, left for college and never came back to see her parents. They had no relationship. Only by necessity did she turn to her parents to watch her children when the other grandparents were not available.

The comment on different parenting styles between the parents and grandparents is so relevant for what is happening today. I was talking to my sister-in-law Sharon and we were talking about this. She shared a story about her mother, who by the way has 5 children. Sharon is the only girl in the family and the youngest. One day she is over at her mother’s house with her son, who at the time was a baby. My nephew was not a happy baby and so she did what she could to calm him. She found the soother helpful. On this day at her mother’s house, my nephew kept spitting out his “choochie/soother” and Sharon turned to her mother and said, “Can you boil water we need to sterilize the “choochie”. Her mother looked at her and said, “Sharon, we do not need to sterilize the “choochie”, it is fine”. Sharon turned to her mother and said something like, “Mom you have no idea how to raise a child, this is what we need to do”. I don’t know if these are the exact words but it was something like that. Sharon and I are having this conversation 11 years later and she realized that not only did her mother know how to raise a child, she raised 5. She was being ‘overprotective’.

Today we have become a society fearful of everything. We cater to their every whim and need. We do not let them make mistakes, explore, fall down, or dream. We want to make sure that everything is perfect. With the high rate of divorce, there is often the feeling of guilt that we let our children down so we have to make up for it. I know I am divorced. I have since altered that thinking. We are the helicopter parents that are pushing our children, enabling our children and giving them no “boring” or downtime to explore and create. I took my youngest son’s computer away as a punishment. Oh boy. He did not like that. He had a meltdown and in that meltdown he said without it he is so bored and just can’t go on. Drama, drama. He finally calmed down and guess what he survived.

There is a scene in the movie where the grandparents and the two boys go outside. The grandparents want to play a game called ‘kick the can’ with the kids but they have no idea what this game is. The kids resist at first because they are taken out of their norm. They don’t play outside unless it is organized and it seems boring. What starts as this becomes the best day of their lives. They see that this game is fun. The sister, practising inside for her recital because she must practice, decides to finally come outside when she hears so much laughter. The 5 of them have so much fun that when it begins to rain they continue. This scene is not only about bringing back ol time games it is also a comment on how we interact with one another, how controlled our lives our, how we distract ourselves with things that are not that important. This game brought them together and connected them on a human level.

The parents of the kids didn’t allow them to eat sugar, there was one activity after the next, we taught to only learn to use your words passively but didn’t really empower the kids to stand up for themselves, where there was a stuttering issue rather than working to correct this they enrolled their son in a program that had him not speak so he’d feel good about himself. Now I understand that this is extreme parenting. Oh and I almost forgot, the father designed a prototype house where everything was computerized. Computers are great as a tool. It does not replace the human connection.

In the end what did this movie say. Well, the grandparents with all of their antics and craziness did end up uniting the family in a way that the parents could not have imagined. The daughter declared that she did not want to change schools again and go to this prestigious music school. She just wanted to be with her friends and be a normal 12 year old. The son who stuttered found his passion and no stuttering in announcing baseball like his grandfather. The youngest son finally let go of his imaginary friend and found his own strength to speak his voice. The parents found that they have been intense as parents and need to back off a bit and bring in more fun to the family. Marisa Tomei’s character reconnects with her father again. Her parents have their own awareness that their daughter and the husband have done a tremendous job in raising her children.

I realize that this is a movie, however when are we going to come to our own awareness and start to step back and allow our children to be who they are, make mistakes, learn and grow. The controlling ways of now do not work. To change something you need to shift it up. We need to bring back some of what was – the carefree way of being along with today, and seeing the world as one. I am not suggesting letting all the rules go. No we need boundaries. I am saying that a world entrenched in fear and guilt and anger is a world that will only see suffering. We need to reconnect once again and begin to see each other as human beings; full of love.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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