This is what my little ten year old tattle-taler told me she heard her big sister Molly muttering under her breath after watching her storm upstairs to her room and slam the door.
We had just had another “conversation” about something or other that wound up with Molly, yet again, not getting her way. If I recall, we were being more than reasonable. However, I don’t recall Molly acting the same way.
Molly is almost 14. She is well into her adolescent years and I would like to think that her bad moods and temperament are a result of the hormones…not her. Its like the devil has infiltrated her body and its the mighty Beelzebub doing the talking. Once in a while, “ol’ Beelz” takes a breather and our dear Molly returns for a brief appearance.
So what if what Annie said was true? (and why wouldn’t it be? My little 10 year old doesn’t often walk around speaking profanity. But when she lets out the occasional swear word; mostly when she stubs her toe or hurts herself, its kinda cute). Should I be offended that she told me to “fuck off” and probably flip me the bird?
More importantly, when she stormed up the stairs and slammed her door, what was she thinking? What do my children think of us as their parents?
What do your kids think of you? Do you even care?
When my kids were really little they looked at us with innocent, loving eyes because we represented (and I think still do), safety, comfort and love. When they used to fall and skin their knees, they would run to us knowing that we would make them feel better. When they were hungry, they would know that Mom and Dad would feed them. Now all they do is moan about the dinner options (“Fish, I hate fish!”)
Molly just recently had a friend over during a PD Day (Professional Development Day…a day off from school). She didn’t get her act together to make plans until about 2:00 in the afternoon. Up until that point, she was a couch potato…doing absolutely nothing, despite the fact that it was a beautiful fall day.
Finally when her friend came over, I gave them a few bucks and sent them out to get a treat from Starbucks. I wondered, as they left the house, if Molly was talking to her friend about me. Was she saying what a pain in the ass I was for dumping on her for not making plans earlier in the day? Was she saying that I rant and lecture too much? Did she even talk about me at all?
I remember when she was getting ready to go away to sleep-over camp for two weeks how excited she was to get out of town. In fact, she looked my wife and I in the face and said, “I need a break from you guys”.
Little did she know that the feeling was mutual!!
What is her perception of me? Does she think I am cool? Tough? Mean? Nice?
What did I think of my parents when I was her age? Did I mutter under my breath nasty if they did or said something to upset me? Or, was I too much of a wimp to say anything nasty about them?
I think I was a good kid..mostly because I had a pretty easy childhood. I think this is common amongst the babies of the house. I was second born. I think my sister caught most of the heat from my parents…mainly because she stirred it up.
First born children pave the way for their younger siblings. They take the majority of the flack and are probably the ones who can’t get away with anything because until their younger siblings are born, they are the prime focus of their parents.
I don’t think when I was 13 going on 14 I spoke ill of my parents…either under my breath or to my friends.
However, as I grew up and matured and began to realize that my parents were just human beings as opposed to “super-human beings”, I discovered that they had flaws and were not perfect. Their judgement wasn’t always bang on and in sometimes we disagreed on some things.
I got pissed at them when I was older, sometimes giving me grief for being out late or treating me like a little kid when I was out with friends..worried that something horrible had happened to me.
But, that was my experience and we each have our own unique experiences.
Molly won’t be like me. She will be like herself.
I hope that my wife and I have, so far, done a good job of raising her…showing her right from wrong and teaching her about what is important in life. I hope we have been tough but fair with her.
She might not see it now…but in time, I hope she does.