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Saturday, March 19, 2016

When You Realize Your Daughter Will be a Great Mom

The little girl was afraid to go down the slide. Bright green, perhaps two yards in length, she would climb up and sit at the top but not let go of the bars.

There's a moment as a mom, a lot of them really, when you see in your daughter the mother that she will become and this was mine. My 16 year-old daughter is an athlete, fearless, and won't take nonsense from anyone. I watched her climb up the stairs and sit down behind the girl and try to convince her to let her hold her as she went down. But it was not going to happen, at least while I watched.

She was gentle and kind, but would not push the little girl. About 2 years-old, half Asian and half white she had ivory skin and a smile that appeared little by little, as though she could not give all of herself at one time. The girl wasn't crying or stubborn and she respected my daughter but wasn't going to do what she was afraid of.

I sat on the bench with the dog watching the two of them and wanted to cry. She would be a wonderful mother. Her patience was natural, her love of the little girl simple and pure. I hope I have the chance to see that side of her with a daughter of her own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

With a 16 year-old better to be conflict averse

I was 16 once. I remember what it was like to know everything, to roll my eyes at whatever a grown-up said and to thwart rules whenever possible. To think that the entire world revolved around the boy I loved, and my friends. To look in the mirror so many times, looking for flaws, always looking for what was wrong not what was right. To hate my teachers and love some as well.

I get that my daughter thinks I'm an idiot sometimes, but underneath she wants a mom who is silent but there. This is my youngest child. The incredible, beautiful, competitive, heartbreaking girl that I gave birth too. Then why do I hate her back sometimes too?

The contentiousness between a 16 year-old hormonal beast and a 58 year-old (no I am not her grandmother) mom is constant. I say something and she barks back. She says something and I reply in my calmest voice, yet she barks back. I feed her - she says thank-you. She cannot put the phone down at meals so I say something. The blank expression of what have I possibly done wrong. What could you possibly have to say that would be more important than this Instagram post from someone I don't know who is trying to be funny and succeeds marginally?

And the not listening. Am I really that boring? Do you really have to tell me you have heard me tell you that 100 times. And why can I not remember that I have already told you? Because I'm your mother - that's why. So suck it up and listen to me say it again.

So I have come up with a plan that is in all the parenting books - pick your battles. Don't criticize. Encourage, be nice, walk away before yelling back. Take a deep breath and go to my happy place.

But when it really counts I am there. And when there is a reason to be tough, I am tough. I say no when there is safety involved. I live with the short skirts and shorts.

She's got to grow up sometimes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Stevenstown 300 - Why Won't Parents Take Responsibility?

Teens do stupid drunken things. They egg houses, they lie, they smoke marijuana, they jump off cliffs into water that is way too far below, they have sex. Part of being a teenager is taking risks.

I wrote a book that inspired this blog. Turns out the teenaged brain is hotwired to do stupid things because the part of it that controls judgment isn't finished growing up yet. 

But there's a big difference between being a teenager who does dumb things and the Stevenstown 300 who broke into a former NFL star's home, and had a giant party, destroying property, peeing all over the place and much more.

These were not smart kids. Holloway had security cameras and he watched the destruction from his home in Florida, put the video up online, and named the kids. He did not call the police and have them all arrested - which would have been easy - and instead told them to show up and help clean up the mess. One kid came.

And the parents of these 300 kids are pissed. Not at their children but at Holloway. They say he violated their privacy - no sorry the iPhone photos and videos negate that. They are suing him or thinking about it. They are threatening Holloway. What kind of a message does that send to the real problem here?

Let's back up. Your kids does something they should not do. You hold them responsible for it. One child showed up to clean up - one out of 300. My kid would have been there with me to watch. And so would all of his friends. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS CALLED RESPONSIBLE PARENTING. Apologizing the entire time to Holloway, to me, to everyone. Taking responsibility for his actions. Period.

We live in a society where we give our kids too much. The good parents struggle to teach them values. Our kids are inheriting the mess we've made for themselves and of the world.

DO YOUR JOB PARENTS. Your kids have to grow up and not think it's OK to break into someone's house and destroy it.


Until you let your kids know that you should have your parenting license taken away. And heaven help those kids later in life.