I was going to post on culture, I want to post on culture, but the soap opera angst of being a parent wins over. Why does Bill Murray’s Ground Hog Day seem like real life to me? Maybe because my husband and I keep hitting the same old road bumps.
This is especially true of our parenting journey even though we have vastly changed many things. We are loose, less demanding, we listen more and criticise less…. but does this get us the home pass free? No.
My husband, dipping into a now well berated woe-is-me why do we go through this mode, got some things to truly feel woeful about after I “explained” why I feel like I’m the only adult in the house. Although, he was good about it and explained back why that wasn’t so…. and I did end up giving him good advice which I intend to take myself: instead of concentrating on what you’d like not to be as a person, why not concentrate on the person you’d like to be? That way your actions and intentions are more likely to accomplish something. There’s something about the backward look that can be less than educational when it comes to making the positive changes. It doesn’t seem that is the way it works, but it does.
Must have something to do with what we fill our minds with….
Anyway. Parenting. All of our older set of children felt we were too restrictive. Fair enough. So on our younger set we have been both more lenient and encourage the usual social activities.
We have chauffered and made accomodations for numerous teen activities for numerous teens… no problem right? Right. So long as we always say yes. But today we said one no, and the whole teen contingent went slightly …um… emotive. Except the one who gets to go on said outing. We said no to one child , who at 13 seems young enough that there will be other opportunities, and we felt ( we felt, but I was handed the message decision “Go ask your Mom”) that maybe she should slow down some of the social schedule. At least for this one social event.
Tears, talks, my husband going very cave-like in that miserable state that men enter . I explained in my unrepentant self that you weigh things, you make the decision, you take the fall out, that is what mature responsible people do. You can’t please everyone. Very hard for my husband who wants to buy that book “Approval Addiction : Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone”. I tried to get him to buy it couple weeks ago “Oh, there it is, why don’t you buy it now, isn’t that the book you were talking about” “Yeh, later, I have too many things to do, I won’t have time to read it” . Well, now he’s mentioned that he needs to read it.
I don’t know. I don’t think understanding this personality situation takes away the pain. And it is painful to have to say no and get the responses that no oftentimes brings.
With raising teens, it is hard to know just what works for the longterm goal. The Mature Responsible Person. The person who can make their own happiness and come through dependably for those dependent on them. Those kind.
Like we try to be , but often fail at exemplifying.
Sometimes I, the one who usually has had strong opinions and convicitons on just about anything…gets throughly confused. I mean, sometimes I just want to say, “I don’t know anymore, leave me alone”. But I just go ahead with the information at hand, and do what seems to be best. What else can you do? You pray, you want the best, you’ve gone to the parenting seminars, and read the Bible studies. You absorbed who knows how many parenting articles in any number of Ladies Magazines. Talked with parents who have been there and those in the middle of….. but all is not clarity and light.
Talking and tears is what it is. I’d cross my fingers at this point if I thought it would help. But instead we just tread on through, hoping we hit the higher ground.
[And those experts who are so very sure that everything works out if you just do this and just do that? That give the Bible 1,2, 3’s on how to raise the perfect person? I have my doubts about them…. I have my real strong cynical and sceptical doubts….]
And the husband who looked like he wanted to bang his head on the wall? Do almost anything to just make the pain stop? He did probably the most useful thing of all: the private, sympathetic, Dad talk.
Whew…. good thing for Dad’s. Dads can be the best fixers, best shoulders to lean on, best lots of things I can’t think to name. We each have our place in this moving experiment called “family”. Ever changing ever challenging…ever humbling.
And tomorrow is another day.