Originally created 02/04/01

Boomers get tough as parents



The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy.

- Margaret Mead

You've got to love us Baby Boomers.

While our parents were spoiling us through the 1960s and '70s with unprecedented affluence, we were growing long hair, playing loud music and giving their grandchildren silly names.

While they were pampering us and catering to our every whim, we were questioning their values.

While they were scrimping and saving to give us college opportunities, we were complaining about all their rules and making fun of their politics.

OK, so they won World War II and went hungry during the Great Depression. Big deal.

Why did that mean we had to obey when they ordered us to clean up our rooms?

Well, the years have passed, and now many of us are middle-aged parents in our own right.

So what are we doing?

How is the generation of free love, no rules and relaxed responsibility handling parenthood?

We are laying down the law, that's what.

Just look at the Capitol.

Flushed from his flag fight, Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes last week called for legislation that would restrict a teen-ager's right to drive in metro Atlanta.

Under his plan, 16-year-old drivers would have to be supervised by an adult when driving in 18 metro Atlanta counties.

"It takes experience to handle crowded interstates and busy streets," the governor said.

Yes, in Georgia we have sent our lawmakers to Atlanta with a mandate to protect our children for us.

Too many wrecks.

Too many accidents.

Too many fast lanes, they say.

Other lawmakers want to institute curfews for our teens.

Ten o'clock seems to be a favorite time, if for no other reason, because that's when we usually go to bed.

Well, why not?

We already took away their cigarettes.

We put rating guidelines on their music, movies and TV shows.

We put devices on the home computer to block access to certain Web sites.

We put health warnings on their snack foods.

All this, and we make them clean their rooms, too.

If they get really bad, we don't send them to jail - we send them to boot camps, where tax-paid corrections officers can yell at them and make us feel good.

And you know what? I have few problems with such suggestions.

A little tough love never hurt anybody that I know.

And at the rate things are going, I figure my son won't be getting a driver's license until he's 21, which just so happens to be the year I'll be eligible for Social Security.

He can drive me to the retirement home, let me out and get on with his life.

Maybe he'll start a family of his own. I hope he can handle parenthood.

We all have seen what happens if you go too easy on children.

They turn out like us.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 107.