Saturday, January 15, 2011

What if he were your kid?

A friend of mine posted a link to this CNN Opinion article today. I followed the link and read the commentary. I encourage you to do likewise. Click on article shot below~The author poses a good question~ what if that were your kid that committed such a heinous crime? What if you knew your child wasn't well or what if you were worried about your child's behavior? What if? What if?

I will admit it. When I heard about the Loughners in Tucson being horrified by their son's actions I thought~ How could they not have known that their child was a danger? How could they be so oblivious to his actions? Were they bad parents? What kind of dysfunctions are going on in that home? Is there mental illnesses in the family? But I also wondered if they were aware that he was out of control. What could they do about it?

Being a parent I know there comes a time when you don't have control over your child's actions. It may be that you never have control of your child's actions in the first place, but when they are younger they usually follow your rules and consequences. We can still get our younger two children to do things. They don't want to get in trouble and will usually pick up the toy, quiet down, or whatever we request. Our teen is on the other side of that bridge. Yes, we can request that he do things and take things away from him if he doesn't...but the stress of that kind of relating isn't worth it. Yes, we do have expectations of him that he understands and that he follows, but what if he refused? What if he refused to get out of bed for school or what if he skipped out of his classes? Could we lift him out of bed and make him go? Could we physically force him to stay in the school building? Fortunately we don't have these issues with our child, but I do remember an incident a few months ago that DH & I did not agree on. The teen called for a ride home and I went to pick him up. I showed up and he decided he wanted to stay longer and hang out with friends. He got a little mouthy with me and I said that if he wanted a ride that he needed to come home then. He was trying to show off in front of his friends and was rude to me and walked away from the vehicle. I left. When I got home DH said that I should have made him come home. REALLY? How do you make a kid that is bigger than you get in the car? I am not going to make idol threats and I am not going to carry him into the car. The teen arrived home before his curfew and we had a discussion that included my expectations of being treated respectfully. He has been more respectful since then. Things have been more peaceful overall in our home since we've stopped 'trying' to get our kid to do 'what we want'.

I am not comparing my child to others. I am just giving an example of how you can't make your child do something. And as this article points out, what if your child has some kind of mental illness that you can find or there isn't enough support/help for? What would you do?
What if you do know there is something seriously wrong? What if you fear for your life or the lives of others? Can you just call the authorities to take care of it? Who are the authorities?

There are no definitive answers to these questions. I am sure that anyone who reads this will have a different opinion of how you would handle it or what should happen to Jared. The Loughners could be fabulous parents. I think we are good parents but what if our child makes a decision to do something stupid? Does that mean we are bad parents? Are we bad parents because our kids do things that disappoint us? No, our kids disappoint us, therefore we are parents!