Some Parental Advice

“Father in Training (Hometown Heartbreakers Book 3)” by Susan Mallery –

“She ignored the images and instead wondered if she would ever learn how to be a parent. It felt as if every time she got one mothering skill mastered, her kids grew a little and needed something else. Maybe she should spend some time with Lindsay alone. They could do the female bonding thing.

 Or she could just curl up under a rock until all these problems went away.”

I’m not really a parent despite the fact that I have a stepson. He’s only 4 years younger than me, so it really doesn’t count. But, I can definitely say a few things about being a parent which y’all real parents need to take heed of instead of getting pissed off at all the non-parents who give unasked for advice.

The most important thing to do is TALK TO YOUR KIDS AND NOT IN THE “STRUCTURED” BIRDS AND THE BEES WAY! If you EVER feel like you don’t know your child, guess what? You failed at parenting. Period. Because you never took them out and talked with them in a conversational sense. You probably spent a lot of time talking AT them and getting pissed off because their replies weren’t what you wanted to hear. You probably have never considered that your child’s opinion ever mattered.

I grew up with a dad who had conversations with me all the time. I didn’t really speak to other people, but some of my fondest memories are of playing catch in tyhe backyard and marvelling afterwards at how our conversation would start with something silly, morph into whatever had been happening at school and end someplace completely different. This way of conversing is how my dad got to know me and we still have lengthy conversations on everything.

NOTE: The question “How was school today?” will ALWAYS be answered with “Fine.” regardless of how verbose your child actually is. I didn’t realize until my senior year that this was the case, when even though if something cool did happened, I wouldn’t tell him until sometime later during dinner or whatever. There’s just something about that question and others like it that made me not want to talk about school or anything else.

My mom,on the other hand, while we did have plenty of nice conversations, she never took them as an opportunity to know me. Christmas, for example, is always a fight with us because she disregards everything I’ve told her in a multitude of different settings about wanting ONE good gift rather than the piles and PILES of CRAP she’d prefer to give me. It’s like I’m the opposite of Dudley Dursely getting upset because he got one less gift this year than last year, before he’s even opened any, while I’m fuming as I open ANOTHER individually wrapped hand towel that won’t fit in our tiny house! Last year I told my mom to bring my gifts to my grandma’s to open (rather than going to my parents to open them), hoping to guilt trip her into only giving me thoughtful gifts in public. I told her to give me whatever was important to her to open there and stuff whatever she couldn’t help herself about in our car for me to open at home. After the second stupid christmas ornament that is HER style, NOT mine, I stuffed all the rest of her gifts in the car unopened and told her off when she wanted praise.

My dad has never bought me a crappy present because he knows what I like. I’ve pretty much given up on my mom getting over herself enough to even care what she buys me. I hate how commercialized Christmas is. My dad says I should just accept my moms gifts with a smile to make her feel good, but you know what? If I’m going to Hell for being ungrateful, I’d rather go down swinging for wanting LESS than letting her EVER think that its acceptable for her to further indebten my parents to appease her shopping addiction.

 I cringe at the debt my parents are in, with their tiny house that’s filled to the gills and falling apart, and I’m sorry if I seem like a Scrooge when I break down in tears and beg for the day she spends a quarter (less?!?!) of what she normally does on dozens of gifts for me and instead buys ONE decent oven mitt (one that actually protects the hand instead of  a decorative set that is barely better than a dishtowel and comes with a towel that doesn’t actually dry anything, which she’s given me and wonders why I throw them away) and nothing else! Hell, I’ll break out in Hallelujahs if there comes a year when she gets so upset with my ingratitude she refuses to buy me a single damn thing! She’ll never understand why, but that’ll be the year I finally like Christmas.

Anyway parents out there, during this season of family, I hope you take the time to really get to know your children and maybe start listening when they tell you things that you don’t want to hear. Don’t be like my mom who still thinks more presents tells me that she loves me more and doesn’t listen when I tell her that the more she buys me the more I feel she DOESN’T love me because she’s disregarding MY feelings on the subject.

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