children's playgroundAs is often the case, Fox News is messing with my mind, but this time, not for the reason you might think. It’s about a story that says parents are fed up with summer vacation in less than two weeks 13 days – not their vacation, their kids’ vacation! Actually, it wasn’t the 13-day thing that got me, I’m pretty sure my mom was fed up with summer vacation the day before it began – there were just going to be too many feet underfoot. She had a right to be fed up, especially when all seven of us were in school. But we made it as easy for her as we could.

We all had friends. We all had things to do and places to occupy. I spent just about every day of summer vacation out of the house, usually at the park playing baseball with my friends. My brothers were also out and about. They weren’t into sports the way I was, but for one it was bicycles. He liked to take them apart and put them back together again. My sisters weren’t out of the house as much as the boys were, they usually spent some time helping mom with some of her chores, but they also had their own groups of friends they spent time playing dolls and house and corporate finance with.

What messed with my mind was the reason parents today hate dislike summer vacation. It’s because they take it upon themselves to be their kid social secretaries, event planners, and strategy consultants.

The study mentioned found that “three in five parents worry that their summer plans won’t live up to their kids’ expectations.

What !?

No wonder kids these days are so surly, selfish, and generally inconsiderate (not all, but many, too many). The reason is that their parents are STUPID!


After all, it’s their vacation. It’s their time to have all the fun they’ve wanted to have for the previous nine months. If the parents want to plan a weekend activity as a family bonding event, that’s up to them, they should not feel compelled to plan any activities for their kids. If the parents do plan something – a picnic, an excursion, an overnight camping trip and the kids don’t like it, too bad. They don’t know it now, but when they become adults it’s something they’re likely to remember with fondness and if they don’t that’s their problem, not the parents.

“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.” ― Dorothy Parker

This is what one of my aunts did. Every morning she fed her kids breakfast, then she opened the back door and told them all to go through it. They spent the morning outside. Then she called them in for lunch. After lunch, she again opened the back door. The door was locked after they left. They did not come back in until she called them. If it was raining they spent the time on the carport, otherwise, they found someplace to play, to explore, to learn. That was all the planning she did. Breakfast and lunch. I spent a week there and thought her technique was a bit drastic. We had to make sure we went to the bathroom before we went through that back door because we were not getting back inside for anything: bathroom, sick, bored – do it outside.

Here’s something else that shocked me: “Throughout the entire summer, parents will shell out an average of $7,333.80 on making sure their kids are having the time of their lives.”

$7333.80! What are they doing, spending every day at Disneyland?

Times have changed, indeed. I’m glad my parenting days are far behind me. We planned a few events for our daughter – summer camp, some trips, maybe a picnic or a trip to the zoo, but we also let her have a lot of her own time, time to do things on her own or with her friends. Sure she got in trouble a couple times, but we dealt with it. We helped her learn from it.

Mostly, I don’t remember either my wife or I ever expressing the opinion that we couldn’t wait for our daughter’s summer vacation to be over.

The Fox News story ended on a good note, though. Some parents have a handle on the parenting job and have a good idea of what they’re doing.

“Taking them to the movies, going to the zoo, bowling, and going camping or sending the kids camping were just some of the many other ways that parents were able to get their kids out of the house during the summer.

So why are parents choosing these types of activities for their kids? It turns out that the most important factor for parents was having quality family time.”

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