Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I am not a tolerant person. I will admit it. When someone is playing music with the bass turned up too loud and it’s making my teeth rattle, I walk over and ask them to turn it down. When someone is rude to me, I tend to look them in the eye and say, “you’re being very rude, what’s the deal?”I’m assertive at work.
But when my son doesn’t bother to thank me after I’ve sent him money for an emergency, or is testy when I call him, or when I’m the last to know about something I should have been told immediately, I tend to let it go. I also tolerate the music louder than I’d like.
I guess my question is: is this good? Or bad? I think that if I was my work day domineering self, I would have created an unpleasant atmosphere with my son. But would it be better to be less tolerant and a bit stricter? He seems to have a good
life now that he is grown. But I have the unpleasant feeling too often that he is calling the shots and all I can do is play along.
We all do our best as parents. We role model, teach, program, direct and often plead… but in the end our kids are individuals, and will be who they are. I often find I have to curtail my expectations and say, “It is what it is.” They are not children anymore. I have to meet them on their own ground.
Given that, I always think that an individual should maintain their self respect no matter who is being dealt with. Some boundaries need to be maintained, especially with your own children. There’s a point where you have to say no. Parents who can’t get rapidly taken advantage of.
Be happy if they are happy,
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I remember a scene from the movie Mommy Dearest, where Joan Crawford’s daughter spits this line at her: “I’m not one of your FANS, Mommy!”
It’s always a good idea to keep your professional life and your personal life distinct from each other. No child appreciates being treated like someone you work with or preen for. They want real. They want to be given the extra mile, have special consideration.
Don’t ever forget this, though- if you want control, you have to take control. As far as your self-respect goes, don’t ever cross the line between being a mom and being a doormat. You can give them leeway, but don’t let them walk on you. I’ve worked with many a “problem” kid as a teacher and I can say this about all of them: they WANT to be stopped. Every kid wants to know that there is someone in this world who knows when to say no and when to put them to bed… and despite the fact that they will scream bloody murder when you do, they will go to sleep knowing that they have an anchor in this world and someone they can trust to help keep them centered.
A last thought- if your son has a good life and your biggest problem is that you feel a little out of control, you’re not doing bad. I know grown kids who won’t even speak to their parents. As long as the conversation continues, you’re doing good. Control is an illusion anyway. Just keep talking.