Seymour! Do You Want Me to Tell You When It's 7:30?
I was watching the old ABC show Dinosaurs last night when I heard one of the greatest lines ever. Here it is, slightly paraphrased due to my imperfect memory: “One of my responsibilities as a parent is to wean you from the joys of life to prepare you for the marathon of heartbreak that is adulthood.” This occurred in a conversation after the teenage son legally became the “dominant male” in the family and discovered how tough it is to provide for a family and maintain a home.
The sad thing is that there’s a lot of truth to that statement. Everything parents do is geared toward helping their children achieve independence. As a result, parents occasionally have to sit by and watch their kids make stupid decisions. We all hate parents like Agnes Skinner from the Simpsons, who cling desperately to their children long after they should be leading independent lives. So where should parents draw the line between control freak and no-discipline beatniks?