A little while ago, I wrote, asking, "What have we done?" in regard to our children and the newest generation. I asked, rhetorically, as we are already seeing the effects of what we've done. We've seen the effects of less discipline and, quite honestly, good parenting. I pointed out that, too often, we're more concerned with being our kids' friends than we are their parents. This is made even tougher when these kids are members of a divorced family. Let's face it (yeah, I'm digressing), divorce is ugly, messy, and down right a nasty thing to go through. I don't care if you're one of those couples that had an 'amicable' divorce or not. Quite honestly, I think and amicable divorce is an oxymoron. You obviously do not want to be with each other. So, you're telling me that you 'nicely' decided to bail on the marriage, split the belongings you acquired during the marriage (oh, yes, that almost always turns out fair), and split time with the kids. Take it from a 'weekend father' - that's never fair. So we have a divorced couple that are splitting up the family unit...and I actually had to ask what we've done? Isn't that enough? That mess, coupled with the fact that we cannot discipline our children for fear of them calling the police, has turned our society on end. I'm sorry...you can argue the point if you'd like, but I'm living it.
Kids, too, are a lot smarter than we give them credit for at times. They are the best salespeople and they certainly learn at an early age how to play mom against dad, even without divorce. They know to come to dad and complain that, "Mom never gives me any money," yet when they are with dad, they call mom constantly to discuss going to the beach, did she buy her a jacket yet, etc. Yeah, dad, you've been played. Okay, let me correct that - "Yeah, Dave, you've been played." But that isn't even the real issue. The advice I need is how to deal with attitude. Not snarling, raging, hateful attitude but, rather, the attitude that is displayed when they sigh louder than I can yell. The attitude that cuts you off in mid-sentence when you are trying to make a point and is heard simply as, "Okay, Dad!" Yes, with emphasis and matching volume. Seriously, I'm listening. I know - give them a time-out. Uh, she's 15....think it'll work? That would be 15 minutes for her to contemplate what she's done wrong. Trust me, it'll be 15 minutes for her to contemplate how she's going to 'off' me as I sleep. Okay, maybe she wouldn't....but I might have if my parents had done it. Should I tell her, as she is spending time with us for two weeks, that she's grounded? Yes, because I only get to see her a relatively short time now. She has her own social schedule. I even let her bring a friend along and plan on taking them to Disney next week. Maybe I should tell them, when the attitude rears its ugly head, that she can't go to Disney! That should do it, right? Her response was, "I don't care. Don't take us." HELP! The only other option I have might land me in jail. That one's out - I have to work tomorrow.
You know, I remember when we were kids that, when we did happen to be stupid and thoughtless and talk back to our parents, a friend would always be smart enough to come to our rescue (and be a wise salesperson in their own right) and tell us we really ought to treat our parents better. We shouldn't have been so idiotic and dumb. We should apologize. Our parents appreciated it and we looked like we actually had feelings. Today, the friend stands idly by as I get told that, "Now, you sound like Grandma." I have to admit, I long for the days when we could bust our kids butts...and they had more rational thoughts. I long for the time when they would come to their parents and say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it," without being prodded. If anyone has any advice on how to handle the situation, I'm listening. I'd really love to hear how to handle a permissive ex-wife and mother that is my daughter's best friend, while making my life a living hell. Yeah, I'm pretty sure she's diggin' that, too. This is my way of saying I sympathize, empathize, and am screaming (not crying) for help. That's it - maybe I should just jump into the bottle. Can't hurt....can it? Either way, it'll make the night go by faster.
Until next time......