I’ve decided to rant today. It’s my blog, and I can do that if I want. Although I’m sure the ones I am ranting about will not read this. But bear with me.
Could all of you people who are NOT parents of teenagers please quit judging those of us who are? I am doing the best I can. We have tried to instill in our children the values and qualities that we feel are important in living a good life. We’ve taught them all the rules and lessons they should learn. But they are kids, and kids make mistakes and really, really, really stupid decisions sometimes. I did. My good husband did. Perhaps even you did. And I am not with them 24/7 to gently remind them that shooting paintballs at the building in which your underage friend is trying to pull beer is not a good idea, or to say “hold on a minute” when they think duct-taping a buddy to a skateboard and sending it down a hill would be “sick”, or stop them from putting their little brother’s bike, and that of his friend, in a tree in the park and walking away. I’m also not always there when they help a six-year-old at the rink who is crying because his friends are mean, or when they give their little cousins a kazillion piggy-back rides when they would rather be hanging with their own friends, or when they stay late after a dance recital without being asked!!! to help stack and put away chairs. (I know, I know, what are they doing at a dance recital?) The point is, they are making their own choices now, good or bad. When they were two and three, or even nine and ten, I knew where they were and what they were doing, for the most part. I was in charge, man. I’m not anymore. I really want to be, but I’m not. They do their own thing, and they take responsibility for their actions and suffer the consequences should the need arise. It may surprise some of you, but we do not sit around the supper table giving them ideas for goof-ball things to try, or high-five them when they carry out some bone-head plan. That’s so not us.
When I was a young, tired mom of toddlers, complaining about how my life was so hard (and perhaps about the irresponsible parents of the teenagers down the street) and thinking I knew it all, one very wise woman said to me, “little children, little problems; big children, big problems”. Of course at the time I thought she was off her rocker, and what the heck did she know, anyway. Hah! I think I should send her flowers when I’m done here. Or perhaps a bottle of something. Parenting has never been harder for me than it is now, and I guess it’s good that you don’t realize that when your kids are little, or you would sell them or even pay someone to take them. Parenting teenagers is exhausting, mind-boggling, bang-your-head-against-the-wall work, and the most difficult job you will ever, ever have. (I think. Maybe it gets harder. I better keep that bottle of something.)
My point is, and there really is one, if you’re still with me, is that it is wise to keep your mouth shut until you know both sides of the story (and even after, actually). A friend of my mom’s once said that she was lucky because her children didn’t smoke or drink. My mom’s reply? “You are lucky, because I don’t have a clue what my kids are doing when I’m not around.” Another wise woman. That makes two orders of flowers. You may know where your kids are right now and what they are doing, but you won’t always. You might think you will, but you won’t. And you might think that they are telling you where they went and what they did, but they are probably leaving out some, how shall I say, details. And that’s not bad parenting, that’s just life. Oh, and if you see or hear about my kids doing something they shouldn’t, the first person you tell should be me, not your neighbor. Teach them, love them, and then send them out to do the best they can. And then pray. A lot. Really hard.
OK, rant’s over. I think I’m going to have a coffee now, with a little something in it. Hey, come on, our youngest is just 11, remember?
Thanks for stopping by!