I lecture to Molly and she doesn’t like it. I apparently go into these lengthy diatribes and Molly doesn’t like it.
They could be about anything, really. I “lecture” about not properly stretching before frisbee-football or basketball at school. I “lecture” about not taking care of her bedroom or the clothes that she so desperately always wants us to buy for her, but doesn’t have the inclination to properly fold and put away. I “lecture” about the importance of fighting for things you believe in; that are important to you. I “lecture” about why it is fair that she be picked up from her friend’s house at 10:00 pm because she really needs her sleep (a delight in the morning, she is not!) I “lecture” about her abusive use of Facebook, Skype and Blackberry Messenging or texting and how its not healthy for a child (which she is, by the way), to be spending so much time in front of these devices. I “lecture” to her how it is fair that Molly’s mom and I ask her to pitch in more around the house and that we are not her housekeepers (although I like to refer to ourselves as her “bitches”).
I lecture. But, I clearly have a lot to lecture about.
What I am beginning to realize though is that what Molly calls “lecturiing” is just me telling her things that she doesn’t want to hear.
I think its a dad’s right to lecture. Hell, my dad was the king of the lecturers (Dad, if you are reading this, I mean that in the nicest way possible). My mom was the “screamer” of the pair (Mom, if you are reading this, I mean that in the nicest way possible). My dad would always take considerable time to explain a point, from all different angles to get his point across to me. However, if my mom were on me for something, like staying inside on a beautiful sunny day and not playing outside with friends, she would be the one to scream (or to put it more gently, her voice would become “animated”).
I would say that in our family, my wife is the “screamer” My approach seems to be very similar to the way my father reared my sister and I. He seldom yelled…instead, he would be very calm and reason with us (mostly with my older sister, I was the baby and often spared. Thanks, sis!) However, his style was in the form of a lecture. Lectures became more prevalent in my teenage years as I was beginning to sort out life after high school and what kind of university education or career I might want to follow.
When Molly was younger, she would almost be fearful of my “lectures”…I admittedly would sometimes get very dramatic (“you don’t talk to your mother, MY WIFE, like that, Molly…no way, not in my house!!). Now, it seems that she is some place else when I have these talks with her, looking at me, eyes glazed, thinking, “here we go again!”
It concerns me that she shuts me out and as a fully-engaged father who cares about being the best parent I can be, I am changing my ways and approach with her. Instead of talking at her, I am trying very hard to talk to her. It isn’t easy. When I asked her recently about specific dates and times for some of her after-school sports activities, she simply responded by saying, “I don’t know”. “I don’t know”? How can she not know what times or dates her games or practices take place? To me, its responsibility to know these things….
Then I catch myself. No. No way. Not gonna lecture. I have decided that because she is 13, she is old enough to start taking responsibility for her actions (or lack of actions) and know that there will be consequences. She needs to start learning things for herself.
Lecturing is my way of protecting her by educating her on the ways of the world. There is a lot to learn in this world…she might just have to learn some of it on her own. But, I will always be there for her.