So, I have been writing this and re-writing this and just decided it was gonna be what it was gonna be. By now we all have realized that life isn’t how we imagined it would be when we were kids. We had these magic ideas of life being somehow instantly fair and easy when we grew up. No one to boss us, no one to tell us no, we can do whatever we want………….
Then we get there and wonder what we were ever thinking. Why we rushed so fast to get here. We have more rules and obligations now than we did then. I think that may be a part of what is troubling today’s groups of teenagers. We make the gap between childhood and adulthood so HUGE, we coddle them and make sure that no “bad” enters their life if we can help it. We let them slide on important things like chores and responsibilities because they are kids and we don’t want them to “miss all the fun and experience” like we did. We are not realizing how big the impact is when they hit 18; they are now adults even though they haven’t been taught the right coping mechanisms. We have cushioned them so much that when they fail out in the real world and there isn’t anyone there to pick up their pieces, it begins a chain of poor choices in their lives.
It starts a poor me attitude in their hearts too. We have taken away the normal knowledge that comes with growing up, you know the one that teaches us life isn’t fair, life hurts, life is beautiful and in the end despite the pain, life is so worth it. It also takes away the drive to earn it for themselves. To know what their dreams are and to pursue them with passion and fire. They now expect to be handed a life and when it doesn’t happen they use it as an excuse to continue lowering the bar.
I watched my kids today as we worked outside. They have quite a ways to go, to be acting their age in certain areas. No joke, EVERY TIME I turned my back, the blond tornado (10) disappeared. And my 13 year old son kept sticking his hands down in the lumber we have stacked beside the shed. You know it has been sitting there at least 5 years and had scorpions, usually snakes (none this time) and copperheads at that. I repeatedly told him to stop. I told him why, he kept doing it. OrdinaryDad saw and again told him it would “hurt like hell” and he kept doing it. I’m thinking, seriously, I did not raise a stupid child, am I guilty of coddling my children?
The answer to that my friends is yes. I’ve argued that very fact with OD many, many times. I’ve told him he is wrong and called him an asshole for saying I “did something wrong” (brain translates – you suck as a mother) and you know. I hoofed so much of the work that my 13 year old should be capable of helping me with that I may have to read this paragraph to him and let him say I told you so. (I did) *he laughed* yeah well….
So 13 & 10 – is it too late? I don’t think so, I’ve seen what happens to kids who don’t have a good emotional base, who aren’t genuinely good people and despite what we have been through at least the worst I can say is that they are spoiled and I have to crack down on that. They love others with passion and open hearts, they are compassionate, they are smart and curious about their worlds; there are worse things I suppose.
But my daughter also has a little tiny issue with authority. Ahem. They call her O.D.D. I call her stubborn but not as stubborn as me. She lies though, I hate that. And she lies with details to back it up. Of course I’m one step ahead of her, I know her tells and her warning signs, I’ve studied up on the behaviors and for the most part I successfully manage this with her. I don’t talk about it because I hate the label and I refuse to ever let her use it as an excuse for mediocrity or failure in her teen rebellion or later in life.
My son is the epitome of the absent minded professor. Smart as heck, stunningly so sometimes. They tested him over it and he scored in his critical and spatial thinking skills at a level of age 13 and he was 7, but his ability to verbalize it was in the normal age. So we struggle with getting his head in the game. He will work and do it well when he focuses. He is soft-hearted and gets his feelings hurt easily, which as you know makes him a target at school. All the little country boys around here who grew up rough and tumble will make him feel like a jerk just because he is sensitive. I understand he needs a hard crust but I do not want him to turn into one of those unfeeling punks I see running around worrying about only themselves when times get tough. Who bail instead of fixing stuff. They need to know how to hang in there and make it work.
He was born 8 months apart from his cousin Garrett. He was a very special young man who went to heaven when he was 10. He has SMA which is a form of Muscular Dystrophy. It was different for my kids. They grew up playing tag on trikes and helping him sit back up if he fell over. It was normal, he wasn’t any different. They were cousins, inseparable. They grew up more tender. They grew up looking out for others and each other. A huge gap that my step-sons did not have. Their lack of compassion and communication is the direct responsibility of their mother abusing and neglecting them. She failed to teach them the things a mother and woman should. She did not give them that foundation stone. I did my best but I’m not sure it did any good. They don’t even look out for each other or their dad. Two of them are pretty much heartless assholes and one just thinks one day he will start caring. Like when he has a family of his own. They deliberately and maliciously use people without blinking an eye.
Now though, before they leave this house I have to teach my kids the other half. How do we do that? How do we teach them the rough stuff without bruising them? They for sure are going to start carrying a fair share of family load. I have to stop the habit of getting frustrated and doing it. It is hard for me. I always have to have that control over the chaos of life at least in my house. I don’t feel that it is too much to ask that they help clean the home they live in. And it is a once a week chore that they had. They are needing to pick up the slack of their bathroom – Mr. BBP used to have that as his chore. And I fought those boys the whole time over 1 chore, 1 time a week. Had I my druthers, they would have helped a LOT more, they think I’m mean for what I did ask.
I have to fight the bad example the boys showed my kids over the last five years. The back talk, disrespect, half-assing a job and calling it good, the attitude. I tried to speak up about them being an example to the kids but they didn’t believe me, they didn’t feel it was their “job” and that nothing they said or did affected the kids. But I am fighting some of the same things. I admit to going off yesterday something to the affect of ” I have taken care of you and poured out my heart, blood, sweat and tears for your whole life, I am your mother and you WILL be respectful of me”. I’m up for advice from any of you that have older kids.
We will NOT repeat the mistake of pampering his boys and providing all their wants, needs and desires their whole HS years. Not a one of them held a job before the age of 18 and their dad admits that he should have enforced that. If they had been paying for dates or fun themselves maybe they wouldn’t be running off to freeload off people. Instead Mr. BBP followed his brother down to his papaw’s house who doesn’t care where they go or what they do. The funny part is that man doesn’t cook for himself, so they are most likely not eating at home. He is also not the most pleasant of people to deal with, not quite all there anymore (forgets when to take his meds) and lets not forget bitter, gossipy, hateful old man. Then they sit down there gossiping and talking shit about me and OD, to cover their guilt, to make themselves feel better, because they have nothing better to do and because this is a small town in the South and Hell hath no fury like someone who can blame their problems on someone else around here. (Look back into my past posts for the ones called Banjo Music in Our Backyard – for that story).
We even went as far as buying their supplies of Axe and face wash etc. Not once did we ever ask them to rent their own tuxes, or buy their own corsages for their dates. Hell we had to TELL them they needed one. My husband tried his dammedest to change their minds and hearts, to teach them how important these things are. Two of them play the game so well that up until the point of betrayal we had little to no suspicion, the other has been a much more crushing blow. In all honesty we kind of knew those two were jerks, but Mr. BBP, well we thought he was different. He put actual effort into the game and when he bailed the only words were “It’s not important”. My husband is naturally crushed that nothing he taught the boys has been listened to. He feels like he poured 22 years of his life into a dark abyss. He wants to know what he did wrong and I’m not sure what to tell him other than I know he is a good father. I KNOW it. He did his best and at worst was guilty of being too soft on them at times.
My kids will be inheriting the family business. And so I’d really like them to start with little things now so that we don’t have anymore of this ungrateful throw everything back in your face attitude. I want them to know the pride they feel when they work hard. I want them to have projects that they can see stand the test of time and benefit their lives. I love my daughter’s 4-H project. The chickens have forced her to start following a schedule and she feels powerful taking care of them. Win-win there.
Again, still searching for ways to bring them up to speed, to fight this entitlement attitude that today’s youth has. They will have a job when they are 16, there will be a LOT more spending time with the family doing cool trips and stuff together and less time running off alone with buddies who aren’t doing anything smarter than the rest of them are. There will be less drinking and drugs that way as well. These parents around here think it is okay that nearly half if not more of the girls here are pregnant, have had a kid or marry straight out of HS because of babies. I want more for my kids than running off partying at the lake because you want to “be free”. There is much more to life than drinking, drugs, and sex.
But first they have to love themselves, my step kids did not, so they could not love others. Mine do, but they spend so much time goofing off. I know no parent is perfect but surely there is a better way to do this than I saw with those boys. I want better for my kids. They deserved better than how they have been treated. In fact they have been told by every single one of those boys that they aren’t family because they aren’t blood. I teach them that the family you choose is more powerful than those that destiny or genetics chooses for you. But they have learned caution as well which is sad. They have already learned that the people closest to you can hurt you the worst, that family can betray family, that life isn’t all love and communication and they aren’t sure what to think of that.
Teaching them to understand the hard half of life sucks. It hurts my heart. It brings up bad childhood memories. But it also shows me how important this is. I am hoping not to screw this up. I want so bad for them to have a better adult life. We hurt that the boys won’t. They chose the hard path. How can you prep them better? What can we do. I know that even if you are a “perfect” parent you can still have kids who go wild. But I see kids in worse “circumstances” than ours making wiser choices. `So what gives? *sigh* Hindsight is 20/20 but surely we can tip the odds in our favor somehow. I’m feeling like I’m fighting the tide. And politics and society keep swamping our kids with things that conflict with building a healthy, mature, responsible adult. Are we strong enough? I’m still trying my friends. I’m still hoping.
Until we meet again, stay safe and be blessed.
if I learn from it, it isn’t a failure….