So I thought I was a good parent . . . until a few minutes ago. Ironically, I even got up early this morning and started a blog post about some parenting advice I had to offer which I thought was pretty good. I mean it wasn’t my best advice. You can read that here. It was my second best but, still pretty good, I thought.
Then my friend Lisa sent me an email and totally blew away my parenting illusions.
I am a bad, bad parent!! Or at least when it comes to “parenting” dogs.
Yesterday was my first day home alone with Lacy, our fairly newly acquired, furry, four legged, first ever pet in our married household. Although up until now I have had a child home to care for her needs, I thought I was up to the task. After all I grew up with dogs, and anyway, how hard could this be? Right?
But it was a miserable day. And I didn’t get a thing done because I was always having to play with, chase, clean up after, or walk the dog.
I called my husband for moral support and he just laughed, and laughed, and laughed—loudly.
So I called my daughter, a proud owner herself of two dogs. She also laughed and then told me I had to learn to be “Alpha Dog”. Huh?? I have never even heard that term before, let alone know how I am supposed to do that.
So, I emailed my good friend Lisa—also an owner of pets, and she wrote me back this morning. She didn’t laugh. She was mostly incredulous that I had allowed the dog to control my day like that. (Sorry, Lisa, but until your email I didn’t know I had a choice!)
She quoted back to me my email, " She kept snapping at my feet and arms, so I would take her outside and run her around--in the terrible heat--and then bring her back and a few minutes later, do it all over again." Lisa added---“Basically what you did was teach her if she snaps at you, you are going to take her outside to play. So of course she snapped again, she knew you would take her out.”
Apparently I was rewarding bad behavior.
Lisa went on to quote, "And when I tried to eat my lunch she went crazy for my food, so I had to lock myself in the office to eat," She then asked why I was the one on lock down and not Lacy. Good question.
It was at that moment I realized I was just like those indulgent parents I roll my eyes about. You know, the ones who think they have to give in to their children’s every whim out of fear their child will either throw a tantrum and make everyone miserable, or be ostracized by their friends because they don’t have the latest and best version of every form of technology.
I was being an indulgent parent.
So, thanks for the wakeup call, Lisa. And now I am off to learn how to be “Alpha Dog”.
Wish me luck!!