I'm going on a "work vacation" this week. I promise to explain what that is when I'm back. In the meantime, I'd like to introduce you to a guest poster: my very own husband, Coach T. I hope you enjoy a new perspective from the "10 to Twins" household. -- Jessica T
In general I don't agree with the philosophy of Lucille Bluth, the acid-tongued alcoholic matriarch from TV's Arrested Development. I did agree with her, however, when she declared, in reference to her cringing youngest child, Buster, that "a child should be neither seen nor heard." In fact I was so taken by this pithy summary of my own feelings toward bedtime, that I couldn't help myself: I stood up and cheered.
Okay, a child can be seen and heard. But not after 7pm.
Forgive me, but I believe that it's a good thing for children to go to bed early, and it has nothing to do with the value of a good night's sleep. See, the Coach and Jessica T are adults. We do adult things after the kids go to bed, among which are drinking, swearing, and taking off our clothes, and the sooner the kids go to bed, the sooner we get to do these adult things. Also I don't believe there is anything wrong with making our kids go to bed. Some days I have spent twelve or more hours with my children, helping them grow up happy and strong (etc.), and I feel that by 7 or thereabouts, my job as a father is done for the day.
Because the Coach is not just a father: the Coach is also a man.
Why don't more parents feel this way about bedtime? It's simple. We live in the era of the Wuss Parent. So many of our contemporaries seem to think their job is to be their kids' best friend. That's wrong. We are supposed to be their parents, not their friends, which means among other things that we must set limits for them. Not all limits you will set for your children have tangible benefits for you, but bedtime absolutely does (see above). Maybe your children don't want to go to bed. I didn't when I was their age. But guess what? Tough. I'm sure your sons and daughters can find something lovely to think about while they are lying in bed wishing they weren't lying in bed, wishing they were playing with their friends, and in particular their best friend. Who is you.
How lame is that? A kid whose mother is his best friend! That's the part of Lucille Bluth I just can't support.