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Be a parent, or be a buddy…choose April 17, 2011

Being a parent tops the list for tough jobs. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, your kids will end up with issues and it will be on your hands. You may not make the same mistakes your own parents did, but you’ll make other ones. It’s undeniable – parenting is hard.

When your new baby comes, nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. And just when we get the hang of how to manage a completely dependent little being, things change. The little person starts to move on their own, crawl, walk, run. But as parents we still guide them, help them take little steps, and have our arms there to catch them if they fall.

Years pass too quickly. Toddlers turn into children who have a life separate from you. They have their own world at school and with friends, and they want to step just far enough away to be independent, but close enough to grab your hand if they need it. And so they inch away, little by little, from your grasp.

Once they become teenagers, new rules apply. Parents are not cool – and trust me on this – not even the coolest people are cool parents. Because dear readers, teenagers need parents to suck. Otherwise they don’t fit in with other teenagers. Having cool parents means they are different than everyone else whose parents suck. In terms of being a teenager, having cool parents isn’t cool.

So – here’s the thing. I’ve done the teenager thing once, and I am coming up on a new round of the experience again soon enough with my younger two. As far as round one went, I can tell you – if anyone was going to be a cool parent, it was me. After all, I was only 17 when I had my daughter, so I was still young once she hit high school. I still had cool oozing from my pores.

And though I was fair, I was fun, and I was involved and engaged in her life – I was not her friend. I was her PARENT. I might have been up on the music and fashions, and I might have been able to converse with her friends without making her cringe (most times), but I did not fool myself into thinking I was one of them.

So based on my strong stance on these issues, I was stirred to rant on my blog after hearing about yet another parent of a teenager we know who smokes up with their kid. Never mind that the boy is 15 years old and probably has been doing it for a few years. Never mind that he would have done it regardless. The fact that this dolt of a parent sits around and shares a reefer with his child makes my blood boil. A big raging kind of boil.

I don’t want to hear the stupid excuses for being a lame parent. And for those out there inclined to give them, let me give you my rebuttals.

“He’ll do it anyway, at least this way he’s safe in our house.” News flash – your kid smokes up with you AND without you. So the fact that he is blotto sitting around the kitchen table at 8pm, doesn’t mean he won’t be in some very unsafe place at 11pm, or mid-afternoon for that matter.

“At least if he smokes what I give him, I know he isn’t getting into some cheap toxic crap that he got from some whack dealer.” News flash: Yes he is, he’s just not sharing that toxic crap with you. He’s smoking your stash with you, and his stash with the cute blond he is hoping to have sex with later.

“I want my kid to be able to come to me with anything.” News flash – Your kid isn’t going to come to you with anything because you are a drug buddy, not a parent who can help them handle the crap that life hands them. They won’t come to you, because even they know how screwed up you are.

What is going on out there? I’m not going to get into rants about using drugs, because you make your choices, and I guess we all deal with stress, or bring on pleasure different ways. I’m not going to act the innocent, I’d like to say I remember how great it feels to be high, but quite honestly, I can’t recall. It was either too many decades ago, or I was always too wasted back then to store it into the memory bank. But I will say using drugs is very different than using with your kids. Like, different planet kind of different.

You are not cool. You are not a rock star, even if you do play a mean guitar solo or have lips like Mick Jagger. Don’t use drugs with your kids. Go get a bunch of friends who use instead. Or use alone. Or get into therapy (there’s an idea!). But give me a break – sharing a joint with the child you raised puts you on some cool level? Or makes you a concerned parent watching out for your kid? Not a chance.

I don’t know if its laziness – not willing to get your sorry ass into the basement or back shed to get your fix away from the family – or if it is a pathetic need to feel accepted and loved. Or maybe your addiction has fried so many brain cells that you just run on stupid-level most days. I don’t understand it, and based on my outward fury on the subject, I don’t expect you to lay your answer out here, but I do know that the parents that fit in this category need an earful of logic, and I am more than willing to give it to them.

A good parent isn’t ever cool enough, and a great parent gives up trying in exchange for being seen as loving, caring and wise. Trust me when I say if you are past 25 years old, you are ancient and lame in the eyes of a teenager. The best you can hope for is being seen as “pretty okay, most of the time”.

Deal with it.

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11 Responses to “Be a parent, or be a buddy…choose”

  1. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    Just yesterday I was in the mall and found one of those talking greeting cards for parents of teenagers. When I opened it, it said, “You’re kids are counting on you to say things like ‘sup dawg’ around their friends and to wear colour combinations such as neon green and plaid, so get out there!” I plan to do my best.

    Much as I would love to be my kids’ friends, I know it can’t happen until they’re adults. If it does happen then, I’ll know I did a good job.

    As for smoking up with your kid, I’d go so far as to say if you have kids you shouldn’t be smoking up period. Kids look to you for an example, even if they won’t admit it. So don’t do it and if you have trouble quitting, get help. If you don’t think your kids are more important than your habit, you don’t deserve them.

    • Well said Lisa. I don’t know if I’ll be adding “sup dawg” to my list of already annoying catch phrases I already have embedded in my brain, but I could try for the neon and plaid…lol.

      The best kudos I get as a parent are the times where my 25 year old wants to do things with me, or is glad to tell people I’m her mom. If eventually they aren’t embarrassed about you anymore, then you did alright…

  2. James Says:

    I never smoked pot with my kids. I was an occasional user and at family reunions or parties there would always be a bunch puffing out behind the shed or down the street in the dark. There were a couple of dads (I’ve never heard of moms doing this) swapping joints with the teenagers. I always found it sad. I think kids find this whole thing confusing, and its confusing enough being a kid already!

    By the way, these are the same dads who buy a case of beer for the under age boys too – heh I’m tired of them stealing MY BEER! This may be disguised as trying to be cool with your kids, but I think the reason is more insidious. I think parents who do this are in the same category as alcoholic parents who get their kids drinking as early as possible.

    It’s pure selfishness. Nobody wants to drink or get high alone. They don’t give a crap who it is, and they sure aren’t going to let behaving in front of their children get in the way of a good buzz. It’s pathetic and horrible parenting.

    • The Pollyanna in me wishes is was simply ignorance, not understanding the damage this can do to a kid. But sadly, I think you hit the nail on the head James, it is selfishness.

      The only thing more sad than fighting the demons of addiction would be watching your child fighting it. It can strangle the life right out of someone, let alone their goals and dreams. Why would anyone want thier baby – no matter how old they are – to suffer through that?

  3. Cryssa Says:

    Not even Keith Richards got high with his kids! Even he knew where to draw the line.

  4. Wow – that’s pretty bad if you trump Keith Richards for addictive behavior!

  5. John Says:

    Noelle,

    I am totally with you on this one. I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert on parenting or on children. Perhaps such relationships are like snow flakes – no two are exactly the same. But I believe as parents we can do three things – to challenge/encourage our children to do things for themselves that they might think are impossible; to set limits and provide a healthy level of structure; and to be a source of unconditional love.

    I wish I could say that I was successful at even just these three. I hope I got close.

    Keep up those rants ((-:

    • My daughter tells me I shouldn’t post things I write after midnight, because it is most definitely a rant. I think I turn into a bear after the clock strikes twelve. 🙂

      Most of my rants come out of sadness. I’m very sad to think this is one more thing on some kid’s shoulders. Life is hard enough, no?

      I hope I got close too.

  6. Dale Long Says:

    And my mom worries about my rants… 😉

    I agree with you about a brainless behaviour like smoking up with your kids. Not only does it reek but it reeks of desperation and trying too hard.

    Kids are curious and have a history of liking things just because it goes against mom and dad. But a parent that promotes this well…

    Having never tried the stuff myself, I have been around it, so all I can do is let my kids know and not hide the facts from them. Hopefully we brought them up with enough common sense to make the right decision.

    As for being your kids friends, buds or cool parents, the harder one tries the more they’ll buck it. Be yourself and while you can’t treat them like grown ups until they’re old enough to have earned it, you can treat them with respect and trust. Like Lisa said, you are mom and dad until they are adults and then, if you’ve played your cards right, you are their friend, and that, VISA, is truely priceless.

    Keep ranting, Noelle!

    • Hi Dale, no doubt my ranting will not end anytime soon.
      Just when I think I am skipping along merrily, somebody irks me. Now that I have an instant forum, other than my husband’s ear, I take the opportunity when I can. Maybe too often, or too loud, but my hubby’s just glad I have options. LOL.

  7. deepamwadds Says:

    Noelle. I am so happy that this post it here. I just sent it to my son’s father, after discovering that my suspicions about their “relationship” were founded. I also gave him an ultimatum, but felt so grateful that I had your succinct words to back me up!


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