AUDIO VERSION: (Transcript below for those who prefer to read)
The next-door neighbours are young and have a child. A second one is on the way, any day now. I find myself shaking my head, sighing a lot and musing to myself “uh-boy…are they going to have their hands full,” and want to scream “DON’T DO IT,” every time they run to soothe her and give her whatever she wants. If that child so much as uses her voice to utter a sound, they drop everything and run to this little tyrant who knows all too well that she has them wrapped around her baby finger. That’s all while she’s “twerking” and pinching men’s behinds, thinking it funny. Hmmm…wonder if someone taught her that? She’s 3 years old.
Each time I see her, I am reminded of my own daughter who was given everything. It wasn’t until my own father showed his disgust, shaking his head while telling me that unless I did something with her at that point (she was 3 years old at the time), no one would be able to stand her, that I realized he was right. It was at that point that I found that I had a challenge on my hands as well as a reason for my pure exhaustion. It’s hard work, catering to a child’s every whim, grunt, groan, moan, tear and wah sound. In other words, I had spoiled her rotten and others were seeing it the way that I’m seeing it in my next-door neighbour’s daughter. I set out gently to fix this and the spoiling so as not to be a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde to her. It worked slowly but, steadily and surely but, didn’t change her so totally that we cut her enthusiasm for Life and being who she was. Yet, here we are, parents of an estranged adult child anyway.
This story is coming to you via my recent experience.
Hubby and I, spent the past couple of weeks, packing up our daughter’s belongings that have been left here for years by her. My husband had used his weekend to haul it all down to the last known address that we had for her. Of course, this wasn’t before he had called her cell phone and when she wouldn’t answer his call , he left a message for her that he was going to bring her long abandoned belongings to her. The poor man had loaded and unloaded, loaded and unloaded and…well…you get the picture.
This isn’t new for us as we have been packing up our own belongings as well because we will either be moving out and into another home this summer or starting renovations on the house we now live in. Either way, nothing can be left in it. We certainly weren’t being mean and, we’d tried to give her notice several times over the past few months, asking her what she wanted us to do with her things. She refused to come pick any of it up or even say what she wanted during any of those times. We could have simply had a big bonfire and donated the rest but, rather than getting rid of it all, we decided that we pack it all up and bring it to her. It was hers and we figured that she could sort through it further if she wished. It wasn’t for us to decide upon what to do with it all.
There was no answer at the door. No answer on her phone yet her’s and her idiot boyfriend’s cars were there so, we knew that they were there. For those who think that the term “idiot” in reference to him is being harsh, I’d ask the question, “have you met him?” You might change your opinion if you had. Back to the experience again.
Her father had to unpack the car, leaving the boxed and bagged belongings under their window, covered with tarps. The second trip saw nothing there and not even the tarp. A second tarp was brought out but, we were out of tarps at this point and since she wasn’t answering anything over 2 days, we decided that her diplomas, degree and awards, shouldn’t be left in the dampness. Nothing my husband did, netted her answering him so, he left with them still in the car so as not to get possibly destroyed. There are no replacements for those types of things.
There are more of her belongings here. They are of lesser consequences than the loads her father had taken to her but, still here. Since there was no acknowledgement of even having gotten the boxes full of her things, we decided that enough was enough. The rest will be donated to those less fortunate and in the hopes that others will benefit from them instead.
Is there a reason for this story?
Why…yes, there is.
As I watch my neighbours, falling over themselves to please this little tyrant child who has been trained into behaving as she does, I am reminded of how our own daughter had also been the recipient of everything we could afford that her little heart desired. Every whim, cry, noise or otherwise that we could cater to, was done and look at what we ended up with and how we have been shoved aside like yesterday’s garbage, unseen for years now. More than anything, we are being treated far worse than any of her friends who are now grown, married and having children of their own but, who grew up far more modestly, with far less and had parents who had some fairly hefty issues that created havoc for these kids but who are still part of their parent’s lives. Ours isn’t in any way, even remotely in ours.
How is it that those who have done the least, end up with the most from their child or children while those who have done the least while causing the biggest problems for their children, end up with more from their offspring?
I didn’t get it but, now I do.
If your child or children learn at a young age that everything that they want, comes from parents and others, they also learn that there’s no need for them to have to work for anything, is there? They simply have to squawk and people will run to them, handing them what they want in one way or another. For a spoiled child, even as an adult, there are no consequences for poor or bad behaviour when it comes to parent. At the least, there is little and it’s not harsh, lasting or harmful in any way. There’s mostly only more hand-outs by the well trained parents. As I look back now at our daughter’s life, I recognized that not only did she not have any real consequences to anything but, she was never made to be afraid of us. She knew that good ole Mom and Dad would be there, waiting on her hand and foot and not demand much from her, if anything. Instead, I have an estranged adult child on my hands as I’ve written about before in segments.
Being afraid of parents to a small degree is a good thing.
I watch the little girl next-door and realize that this child is not only not afraid of her parents or family in any way and gets her own way more than 90% of the time but, she has the idea that anything that she does or doesn’t do, means that Mommy and Daddy will still be there, catering to her. She lives a dream life. The same held true for our own daughter who seemed to seek out a series of boyfriends who used and abused her as this one is doing (though she’d never admit it to herself or anyone else as she doesn’t see it that way). In effect, she was looking for those who had issues and would go on to treat her poorly. She even lives in a broken down apartment, with a pothead who can barely pull his own weight financially and whose own parents have issues but, have ensured that he’s had what he wanted as well. The difference between his parents and us are that his parent’s issues while in the way of this jerk’s wants, left him scrambling to please them. Our daughter never had to do that. The one she has to please is him and it’s all of this that has us wishing that we’d clamped down on our daughter years ago and perhaps, made her a bit afraid of us and withdrawing from her life if she didn’t help out and take some responsibility towards us and our life together.
Perhaps, we should have shown her a few of the struggles that we were dealing with. Not making her a part of them or responsible for our problems but, letting her see that we weren’t robots and had some expectations of her and from her too.
Maybe, we failed in making her a little bit afraid of us and needing to also shut up and please us as well before she estranged herself from us with no explanation as to why and in spite of all of the above?
From my little corner of life, we are always learning something. If you are still part of your parent’s lives, stay there, even if it means that you need to talk things through with them or even get some family counselling to deal with whatever you need to deal with but, do NOT take your parents for granted or believe that they will always be there for you no matter how you treat them. We’ve found out the hard way that we won’t be there for our daughter unless she were to become someone with respect for us.
Lastly, if you are a parent yourself, don’t give your child everything of yourself or in material ways or both. Have expectations of your child or children. Let them be a bit afraid of you. You can be a friend to them but, you’re their parent, not a slave and your child or children need to know that much about you. Get their respect now.
Be well, Love and Light,
Have a great day or evening.