Parenting is hard, good parenting is in my opinion fundamentally based on faith, faith in one’s ability to have provided the proper tools and values to your child to navigate the various challenges presented to them in life. Faith in your child and their character and faith that even when it seems bleak, given time, things will turn around. The hubby’s cousin came to visit with his 15 almost 16-year-old daughter, our little cousin. He confided to us that he and his soon to be ex-wife were having problems with their daughter, huge fights with a lot of anger coming from both the mother and the daughter at each other. My hubby’s cousin told us that his daughter did very well in school and had a job, she wanted her freedom and got very angry when she didn’t get what she felt she deserved. I told him that he and his soon to be ex-wife weren’t divorcing in a vacuum, their divorce was having an impact on their daughter. Moreover, by not acknowledging her hard work both at school and at work, they were being dismissive of her hard work and that it was hurtful and probably part of the source of her anger. He asked me to go talk to his daughter and to tell her of my difficulties with my mother at her age. He wanted me to tell her that my solution to my fighting with my mother was a mistake, I had run away by taking a plane down to Florida, I did tell him that my mother’s strict rule, even though I gave her no reason to doubt me or my judgement and our incessant fighting were the very reason for me running away. He wanted to make sure that I explain what a big mistake that was, which in hindsight, I was glad that I had come back to face the music and I did explain all of that to his daughter.
She asked me to tell her my story which I did, I emphasized that it was quite the irresponsible act and while I did learn valuable life lessons such as, a strong work ethic from having to work off my penance in my father’s restaurant, I could have found better ways to have learned similar life lessons. I did try to explain to her that her parents were being strict because they truly loved her but they were reacting from a place of fear, fear that something might happen to her, fear that she might encounter a situation that she isn’t prepared for and I said that fear was often the basis of a parent’s anger. Fear that they hadn’t done a good enough job teaching their child the proper tools and values needed.
I asked her if she had ever asked her mother what she was so afraid of her doing? The poor girl had done so and her mother had answered back defensively that she wasn’t afraid and that she was angry because she felt that her daughter was out of control.
I spent my time not taking sides, just listening to her be upset and vent about how much she didn’t want to fight with her parents, how unreasonable she thought that they were, how it hurt her when they didn’t recognize her hard work. I tried to remind her that as with everything in life, this to shall pass and that even though it was hard to live under their rule, she had too much going for her to do something rash just to spite her parents in anger when the only one she would be hurting is herself.
We spent quite a while talking and listening to each other. I hope that I helped in some way, she is such a wonderful young lady, we all love her. She said that my story and talking to me had helped, I can only hope that she was honest and not simply being polite.