Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The "I'm NOT a Parent" Disclaimer

My youngest sister (K2) has occasionally expressed frustration with my 15yo nephew (basically, he turned 13 and became the stereotypical rebellious teenage boy). He is a great kid, really he is, but he seems to always be crossing the line and pushing buttons. Sometimes I wonder if he doesn't do it on purpose but most times I really think he's just not thinking things through.

Most recently, like yesterday, he got into a lot of trouble because he violated a long-standing rule in their house. He had a friend over a) without asking permission and b) with no adults home. Making matters worse, the friend is female. Now, I know he never expected my sister to get off work early and I know he really believed he had time to hang out with his friend and get her out of the house before anyone (adults) would be home. I do not condone the rule breaking but having once been a rule breaker myself, I can understand how he logically deducted his chances of being caught were relatively low.

That said, my sister (K2) got off work early and saw an unknown car in the driveway when she got home. She went into the house and asked her younger sons where her 15yo son was and they said upstairs and then quickly, too quickly, disappeared to the play room. Suspicious, yes. She's already peeved at this point and goes straight up to 15yo nephews room and, without knocking, flings his bedroom door open. What does she find, you ask? Well, I'm sure some of you have already envisioned something terrible and involving nudity. She found nothing terrible and no nudity (you just breathed a sigh of relief, right). She found a girl (someone she had never seen before) standing against the wall of his bedroom and 15yo nephew sitting on the bed crying. She was relieved to see no nudity or anything pointing to hanky-panky but she was still very angry. Understandably so.

I'm not going to bore you with the rest of the story but I am going to share this. A lot of times when my 15yo nephew does these kinds of stupid things, my sister will come to me to vent (I'm not a bad listener) and to seek advice. I am never sure why she seeks my advice because I'm not a parent and I'm always honored that she values my opinion enough to even ask me what I think of the situation. I mean, it's important to me that she trusts me and wants me to share my perspective with her. The funny thing about these times is this: I constantly start and end sentences with "I'm not a parent so I don't really know what I'm talking about...". And as much as I envy both of my local sisters lives - and I do because I really love their families, they're kids are so great, and I look up to my sisters - I really don't envy when they are dealing with errant teenage sons or tantrum throwing kindergartners. It's these times when I tell them that I'm happy they're in my lives because they serve as excellent birth control! It's also these times, when my sister (K2) vents to me and seeks my advice, that I feel simultaneously scared and confident that if Urban Cowboy and I were to have kids someday that I would be able to parent them at every age and, while I wouldn't be perfect, I know I would be doing the best I could and honoring my beliefs and values systems.

Oh, and in case you really are wondering about the rest of the story. It's still being sorted out because there are all sorts of issues like trust and respect that need to be addressed. Right now, 15yo nephew has lost phone privileges (that's practically like cutting off one of his limbs!) and discussions are being had to try and understand why he feels it's ok to flagrantly defy the rules.

1 comment:

yllwdaisies said...

I think she can ask you b/c you can offer that outside or unbiased opinion.