Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here's Where I Try My Hand at Raising the Children of the World

Let's just say I'm a woman who knows her own mind. Being fully convinced of my position usually eliminates any possibility that I might be wrong. *insert eye roll here* Observing something that is clearly wrong and being unable to fix it drives me up the proverbial Wall.

Take my clients for instance. They come in telling me about all sorts of things in their life. Relational issues with their spouse and behavioral problems with their kids. Since I consider myself the cheapest therapy they'll ever get, I avail my services to them and tell them how to fix that child that just won't behave.

Hey, I have a captive audience.

Yesterday, I was cutting this dad's hair. I've been doing his hair for years. The whole family has been in my chair at one point or another. His wife passed away unexpectedly several years ago and he has since remarried a great lady. He has a teenage daughter and son. The daughter will be a senior next year. The son is a couple years younger.

The daughter got a car for her sixteenth birthday--a tradition I cannot fathom. ("Let's give an immature teenager a powerful machine and turn them loose on the streets!") She is pretty free to come and go at will, but has an 11(!)pm curfew. (What 17yr old needs to be ANYWHERE except at home after 9:30 at night?! But I digress) So the other night, he watches the end of the news and his daughter still isn't home and he calls her and asks where she is. "Oh, I just stopped by to see this friend, I'm on my way home." He said, she wasn't in trouble, he just wanted to know where she was.


What is the point of the curfew if it isn't enforced? He talks about how she does pretty much what she wants to do and she's not a bad kid so...???
What? Are you afraid you'll hurt her feelings if you get on to her? She's playing you like a fiddle, man. She doesn't follow any of the rules you set up for her because they are all a sham. Nothing happens when she breaks one! There are no consequences for her actions and she is going to be hit smack in the face with a little reality discipline when she hits the real world.

She does not respect you because you are not a man of your word.

Unfortunately, I can't fix that.


hepsmom said...

This would definitely not have flown in the house I grew up in.

BUT. . . How do you know she doesn't respect him?!? That is kind of harsh. She may not respect his curfew, but that doesn't mean she doesn't respect HIM.

Sometimes, parents are too tired to discipline. I see this every day at school. It's not good, but after a full day of work, people are tired. You know how this is. It's sometimes tiresome to discipline. I know that you choose to discipline when you are tired, but he's been doing this a long time and parents do seem to be a little more lax today than my parents were.

Maybe you need to re-address this when your precious girl is seventeen, though it sounds as if she won't have a car.

P.S. The last 17 year old who had a 9:30 curfew was Laura Ingalls (or maybe you?).

P.P.S. Hope my response doesn't seem harsh. I don't mean it that way!

angeljoy said...

Um, yeah. About my curfew, I don't really remember what it was because they let me use it so seldom. :)
Yeah, it was harsh and assumptive to say she doesn't respect him, but this was more of a rant than an accusation. I'm frustrated with parents who aren't consistent with their discipline.
Heaven knows, I get tired of dealing with the same issues with my girl. It will wear you out being consistent and I don't always do it.
Like I say. I'm really good at raising other people's children. It's really easy to see what other people need to fix in their lives.
(Reminds me of the analogy in the Bible about having a log in your eye while trying to get a speck of dirt out of someone else's eye.)