Living What You Learn

August 6, 2007 at 6:47 pm (Attitude in Overdrive, Nate, Relationships)

Ugh, so hot, so humid, so gross! It’s hot everywhere too. No relief. Bah!

I’m off on Wednesday and you had better believe that Nate and I will be heading for the pool. I told him to call his sister and leave her a message that we’ll be at a certain pool. Maybe she’ll show up. He hasn’t seen her since, I believe, the first weekend of May. She has called once since then. Actually, she had a friend call and ask for Nate and when I handed the phone over she got on and asked if he could come to the pool. I said no because I had zero money at the time.

I hate to say it, but she’s going to turn out just like her idiotic mother. Of course, turning out like her drunk father wouldn’t do her much good either. Danlel wants to make decisions like an adult, but like her mother, needs a lot of practice in acting like one.

Jeff is concerned that if we send Nate to Danlel’s Middle School, like we’ve promised him, that she’ll take her spite out on Jeff through Nate. I highly doubt this, yet I’m prepared to deal with it should it happen. Jeff said, “Well, I don’t want any trouble.”

“What trouble?”

“Well, I pick Nate up from school.”

“So?”

“So, Danlel will go to the same school.”

“And?”

“She doesn’t want to see me.”

“So, stay in the truck.”

“Wellllll…”

“‘Well’ nothin’. I don’t bow to the desires of an immature 13 year-old. Again, if she wants to be treated like an adult, she should act like one and learn now that you don’t always get what you want, people don’t always acquiesce to your demands, and walking past people you don’t like is a part of life. I’ll deal with the rest should it occur.”

As long as there isn’t a court order demanding that Jeff stay away from her, they can all kiss my rosy red ass. And if they try to keep Jeff from coming to the school to pick up Nate because of Danlel, I’ll fight them tooth and nail. It sure didn’t bother Danlel’s mom to have Jeff take Danlel to school last year when she needed someone to do it. And it sure as fuck didn’t bother her when Jeff picked Danlel up from school when she needed someone to do it.

I’m not sure what is right or wrong in this situation. I know that I teach Nate that is okay to set boundaries and he has. Jeff has been informed of those boundaries. If he steps over the line, he doesn’t see Nate. When he gets back on the right side of the line, he sees Nate. I’ve always encouraged Nate to talk to his father and for Jeff’s part, he talks to Nate, in an age appropriate manner, about his alcoholism and what he’s doing about it.

I also teach Nate about compassion and forgiveness and I remind him that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. What’s important is to own up to them, atone for them, learn from them, and don’t do it again. If we’re lucky, we’ll learn from others’ mistakes and sidestep having to make the mistake our self. *Ha!*

There are numerous rhetorical questions that could asked in this situation.

Is it appropriate for a 13 year old to demand perfection from a parent?

Is it appropriate to openly discuss alcoholism with an 11 year old?

Is it healthy for one parent to encourage a total moratorium on communication with the other parent instead of discussing the situation and establishing boundaries?

What relationship skills are we all teaching our children?

What conflict resolution skills are we all teaching our children?

Think back as to how your parents resolved conflict and disagreements. My mom screamed a lot and my dad only yelled back when she really pissed him off, otherwise, he was silent. How did I resolve conflict in my early relationships? Just take a wild guess. I had to learn how to resolve conflict in a positive way, it certainly wasn’t engrained in me at an early age. I think as parents we totally forget that we’re our children’s number one role model. Which, at times, is a fairly frightening thought.

T-Bird has always said, “Kids learn what they live, and live what they learn.” Sometimes, we could all use a reminder of that.

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10 Comments

  1. Old Horsetail Snake said,

    The answers to your questions are:

    1. Maybe
    2. We’ll see
    3. Hard to say
    4. Let’s talk about this

    You’re welcome. Pls remit to my PayPal.

  2. Vince said,

    In this household, the kids don’t get to make decisions like that. If I’m picking up from school, then I’m picking up. There is no discussion about what the kid wants. I may be a bit on the authoritarian side, but I get to make the rules, because I’m the parent. The kids get to follow the rules. Or else. Pretty simple stuff. We’ve taught them at an early age you don’t get everything you want, and you need to work for and earn what you got. Personal responsibility is a major deal with me. Grasshopper doesn’t get to use his autism as an excuse for bad behavior, or blame his brother for any of his mistakes, much as he tries to do so. He’s learning that everything he does is a choice. And choices have consequences, good or bad. If there’s a bad consequence, next time make a better choice.

    I’m not sure how appropriate it is to expect perfection out of a parent, cause Lord know’s I ain’t any where NEAR perfect. But a kid has a right to demand that the parents have rules and enforce them. A parent should set boundaries and a kid should respect them. A parent should also respect a kid’s boundaries, up to the point where such boundaries become harmful to the child. And the parent gets to decide what that point is, cause much as they hate to admit it, we’re smarter than them. Adding something like alcoholism to the mix don’t make it easy, but a real man doesn’t hide behind it or use it to make excuses. He should talk honestly with his kids that it’s a struggle, and work his ass off to overcome it. At least this way, your kid respects you.

    T-Bird is right. Kids will learn by your actions, not your words. So above all, lead by example. Kids smell a hypocrite a mile away and will lose all respect for you if they realize you are one. So don’t be.

    Sorry, I really went on about that, didn’t I? I guess you hit a nerve.

  3. cybele said,

    It is NECESSARY to talk openly about alcoholism with an 11 year old! In four years, he may probably be invited to parties where there is likely to be alcohol, and he needs to know that he is genetically ‘at risk’ for the addiction that cripples his father. He needs to know that he MUST make wise choices, and resist peer pressure where drinking is concerned.

    It is appropriate for a 13 year old to WANT perfection from a parent. It is unrealistic to expect it, and self-defeating to demand it.

    It is silly for adult humans to stop speaking. Especially when they share a child. It is silly, but all too frequent.

    We expose our children to humans we deem wise, in hopes that the wisdom of those humans might mitigate our mistakes or inadequaces in skills regarding relationships and conflict resolution.

    I hope Nate gets to see his sister. I hope she gets to see him. They need to treasure each other, no matter what. Fingers crossed that they will.

    xox

  4. kenju said,

    You have some good commenters, Nanner. I agree with T-bird and Cybele and Vince. Hoss is just being his usual silly self….LOL

  5. Jammie J said,

    Two questions… why is your ass rosy red?

    What conflict? *looks around blankly*

  6. Seamus said,

    My folks just said a lot of stuff under their breath and let it all build to some spectacularly explosive shouting fight. I’m not sure anything was really resolved.

  7. Julie said,

    Definitely agree with Cybele in that it is necessary to talk to kids about alcoholism, as surely as it is necessary to talk to them about sex and drugs (at an age appropriate level). Because if you don’t, 9 times out of 10, your child will be the one who becomes an alcoholic, or struggles with drug abuse, or gets pregnant at age 13 (or gets a girl pregnant at age 13). I saw way too much of this growing up, where other kids’ parents weren’t straight with them about these three issues. And I saw those kids become the ones who got stuck in our small town with police records or kids of their own who turned started kindergarten the same year mom and dad graduated from high school, if they did graduate from high school. We have to be straight with kids and tell them what they need to know to make the right choices for themselves. Because as Vince says, life is all about choices, and they need to learn that and how to take responsibility for their actions at an early age.

  8. Sara said,

    OH the joys of a 13 year old. Of course ours is smoking basil or whatever spice is handy. And a recent check of our condoms revealed 4 are missing. At least he is being safe I HOPE.

  9. KtP said,

    Wow, great post, Peachy. In my household there was a semi-serious “Do as I say, not as I do” rule. Yeah. Worked great, lemme tell ya.

  10. Inanna said,

    I want to thank you all for your thoughtful comments. It is helpful to hear from others on the delicate situations that affect me. Jeanette, my ass is rosy because I lay in the sun and conflict is not an original concept around here.

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