I was talking with a friend who works in an orthodontist’s office recently, and the subject of retainers came up. I mentioned that Matt, my son, will get nagged to wear his retainers, which we picked up today. And then I said “but you probably hear that from all the parents, right?”
“You’d be surprised,” she said, and she went on to describe moms who say things like “Well, I can’t make her wear it. It’s her mouth.”
(Insert screeching-tire sound here.)
Wait a minute. Who’s the mom? Who’s the kid? Who is paying for those braces, that roof over the kid’s head, etc.? Who is supposed to be the mature adult who knows more and who is in charge of making good decisions for the sake of this kid’s health and future?
Do I sound a little fed up? Good.
I see so much of this in my community, and I can only assume that the “kids-in-charge” trend is spreading across the land:
“My kid will only eat fast food.”
“My three kids like three different things, so I have to make three different meals at dinner.”
“My kid won’t go to bed on time. I explain to her that she needs sleep, but she just won’t.”
Your kid has enough friends. He doesn’t need you to be his buddy — despite how much you don’t want him to be mad at you for acting like a parent. He doesn’t need you to never frustrate him. To tip-toe around and make three dinners every night and pay the ortho bill while that retainer sits on the bathroom counter.
He needs a parent. Be one. He’ll fuss and fight and complain. But secretly? He’ll be glad that you care enough to be the adult, the person who helps set him on the right path in life.
And when he looks in the mirror when he’s 25? He might even see straight teeth.