Had a little drama on my other blog last night.
A mother recently left a comment on a blog post sharing about the heartache she has been going through with an older son….well, Son got onto the computer that was still logged onto my post her comment was still visible.
He was not a happy camper.
Having personally experience 18 years of parental hell myself, ( it started when our oldest was about 14..and is only just now tapering off 19 years later as child #4 is finally getting his bearings) I have some perspectives on parenting I wish I could have tapped into so many moons ago.
So for what it’s worth, if I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with this distraught mother (and her slightly dysfunctional son) here is what I would tell them…
First to the Young man.
I would sit across the table , look him in the eyes and say.. ” It’s time you grow up. You need to move out and get a place of your own. It’s going to be tough…financially and every which way..but the truth is, you do not appreciate what your parents have been doing for you and you need an attitude adjustment. I might (might have) considered letting you stay here a little longer if you had been willing to play by the rules of our home..but as it is, the drinking, smok’n and blatant disrespect for your mama is the last straw…. You need to be out by the end of the week. period.”
“Mom…I know you love your little cub.. you love him dearly..unfortunately, at this point, he doesn’t feel it. and he will continue to disrespect you and break your heart until he comes to his senses. and that may take getting to the end of himself. When that finally does happen. he’ll be back and you’ll have a new son.”
Parents..(especially moms) have a tendency to short circuit the natural consequences of of poor life choices ..the result is, our children continue to flop and flounder and get into all sorts of heartbreaking situations…heartbreaking. and we keep bailing them out... you need to stop. if they get busted, let the natural consequences of their choices unfold…period.
When I was in the middle of it all, there was a time when I felt like an elephant was stepping on my chest…the stress and pressure was crushing. I told someone yesterday, I felt like I went through an emotional wood chipper.
I am not the same dad I was going into the parenting gig, 30 plus years ago.
I’ll never forget the time I sat across the table from my 14 yr old daughter who I had just brought home..she’d ran away for 3 days, had no intention of coming home..( I knew where she was, it was just a matter of reeling her in)…
I sat across the table looking @ her …anger, defiance rebellion,contempt written all over her face
She was our strong willed one….that rebelliousness needed to be broken… to break the rebellion but not break the spirit.. you can do it..in fact, if you don’t you will never have real peace… so I gave her two options…put her in a girls school, or spend a week @ my cousins and his family..(which she really , really did NOT want to do either,for reasons I am not @ liberty to tell you)…. It was a watershed moment in our relationship. She is still a strong willed young lady. Yea, we went through a lot more after that, but @ least she knew if push came to shove, I was not going to back down.
I taught a high school shop class for a year…I discovered the same dynamics that made for healthy relationships with my older children also made for healthy relationships in the class room with a group of rowdy young men…
First they needed to know who was in charge…call it what you want, respect/ fear..maybe a little of both…
Secondly…love..they needed to feel that I genuinely liked them… and I did..
Once in a while, they would test me just to see if I was still in charge….
Here’s how it works in Realville :
teacher first- friend second..
Parent first- friend second.
boss first/ friend second.
Feel free to do otherwise ;-) DM
This post is still in a rough draft form, but wanted to post it, so I could get some initial feedback. DM