So today (actually it wasn't today, but these sort of reflective stories are always better in the very near past), when I was working at the Jumping Bean, a father and his pre-pubescent son walked up. The boy was standing at an awkward distance from dad, obviously not the "hey dad lets go fishing and spend the weekend together" kind of relationship. His dad, curtly, and not lovingly, said, "you want anything?" (Perhaps his love language is gift giving, but he should pursue a few others, like, kind words, tone of voice, and overall demeanor towards his son).
The boy replied, coldly "Yeah, but you won't let me have it...I want a white chocolate mocha."
The dad said, "You can have anything without caffeine" (An appropriate, father-like answer. I wouldn't want my kids hooked on the stuff either).
The son glares.
The dad says, "I'll have a white chocolate mocha, please." (I'M PISSED at this point. Really, Dad, really? You're gonna drink a white chocolate mocha, the one drink your son wants?)
The child angrily grabs a jones soda.
Parents, I don't know how many of you read this, maybe I'm just typing this to myself to read someday, if I'm ever in that role. Never, FRICKIN, NEVER, tell your kid they can't have, say, or do something, as if it is wrong, and then do it yourself. Because, let's be honest, we don't want him getting hooked on caffeine (if one white chocolate mocha can do that to you), but we also don't want ADULTS hooked on caffeine either. It's not a necessary evil. It's not. Also, we don't want children hooked on television, highly processed foods, or high fructose corn syrup either, but they are because its convenient. No doubt that father takes his child to McDonald's because its more convenient for him sometimes, or lets him sit in front of the tv for hours on end so he doesn't have to play ball in the yard with him. That's not good either, but its sure easier. Just like its easy to deny kids something and exercise your own power, to feel like you have some, or like you are good dad. Get over yourself, dad of the boy who came into the jumping bean (today).
Sidenote, I find this to be much akin to situations in which: parents cuss and tell their kids not to, parents get drunk and tell their kids not to, parents tell their kids to not lie and then divorce their spouse. Stop it parents. Stop saying one thing and doing another. Kids get confused. And angry. If I were that little boy, I would be angry, and I wouldn't understand. And the answer "because I said so," or, "because I'm your father" would not work. Its a cop out, just like the addictions you DO allow to tv, high fructose corn syrup, and highly processed foods.