Sunday, February 04, 2007

When you just don't want to know

Family members are having relationship issues. One couple on Mr. Malaprop's side and one on my side. In both cases, the conflict revolves around a step-child. In both cases, the step-child is a problem kid, high school age, with little or none of what I would call good Christian morals/values. One is a boy, one is a girl. In both cases there are younger, second-marriage siblings being influenced. In both cases, the birth father is not a part of the older kid's life, and the step-father has been kicked out/forced out of the house by a mother who is blind to the faults of the older child. Well, not blind exactly, but maybe "in denial" would fit. The mothers both think of their older child as "oh, poor kid" or "going through a phase". In one case the mother works, in one she runs a daycare in her home. In both cases, when the step-father tries to limit/change/redirect the bad influence of the older kid on the younger (his) kid(s), he has zero support from the mother and is accused of being unreasonable. Perhaps he is untactful or uncouth or uncompromising, but unreasonable? All I can say is, none of the "good" kids I know would be allowed to go through a phase like that. In my opinion it is also a factor that both these problem kids go to public school.

In a spirit of honest disclosure, I was a bit of a problem child myself, despite attending a fine Catholic high school run by Benedictine nuns. The cause? Well, that is tricky. Mr. Malaprop is always trying to get me to take responsibility for my own actions (he's right) but I tend to blame my troubles on the fact that I was left on my own a lot, to make my own plans and decisions. Just because a kid acts mature and gets very good grades doesn't mean he/she can be left without close parental supervision. I would've resented it at the time, but it would've been better for me to have learned how to swim with the big fish by taking lessons first rather than by being thrown into the sea. It was sink or swim, and I almost sank before I managed to dog-paddle. I recently read or heard somewhere that the teenage years are years where the kids need as much if not more supervision than they did as younger kids. Having lived through it - I believe it. I hope I don't smother my kids, and I know they need to make mistakes to learn, but I do plan to know a LOT about their lives and their friends and their activities and their whereabouts. My eldest is 12 so only time will tell. Maybe I'm crazy.

I wanted to say something about selfishness since it seems to apply here, but I'm not really sure how to tie it in so I'll just leave it for another day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying what your experience was. I have been spending extra time with a smart, mature teen because despite the fact that she seems practically self-sufficient, she still needs to talk things over with someone.
And luckily, that someone is me, her mother.

I think teens DO need extra love and care through the teen years, because they are opened up to everything. The front page of the newspaper, the ads during the superbowl, the make out kids at the play they're in, the things they overhear sitting in the library, and they need someone to, sort of, interpret it all for them.

This one would love to "chat" with me every night before bed. I can't always do it, but I tell myself I better do it more. Your comments reinforce my desire to keep our communication open by me being available. Thanks.
Nancy Brown
(Google/Blogger wouldn't let me in)