Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year!

I am probably a real pain in the neck to my son on occasion. I critique his behaviour, admonish various transgressions of his, large and small, and am quick to point out what is inappropriate and crass. On the other hand, I am lavish with praise if he does something well. Hopefully, there is some balance between the two possible reactions he is likely to get from me.

In response to his inevitable gripe after being corrected about something, my response is often: "I just don't want to unleash yet another asshole into the world."

Ineloquent, right? Inelegant too. I'm sure that I could say what I mean in a less pedestrian fashion, but I am striving for effect. There are already far too many ill-mannered, inconsiderate, obnoxious and uncouth assholes in the world, and I have met many of them. I truly don't want him to be that way, so I do the best I can to encourage him to behave properly.

Yesterday, he and I were sitting on the couch watching some TV show together. The TV son turned to his TV dad and said something typically teen-ager obnoxious. My son turned to me and said: "Now that kid is behaving like an asshole. I'm not at all like that."

I thought for a moment. "You're right," I said. "You are not at all like that." And I was grateful, for although the TV son was a fictional character, he was like so many real kids out there: disrespectful, condescending, whining and irresponsible. My son is far from perfect, but he truly is not like that, at least not all the time.

And I am truly not perfect either. I expect too much, am far too impatient and am too quick to anger. I guess those are things that I will have to address in my New Year's Resolution list.

And there, my friends, is the segue into what I really want to say:

Happy New Year, everyone. It is unlikely that I will be blogging before 2007, so I wish each and every one of you a safe transition from this year to the next, and a healthy, satisfying and rewarding year ahead.


  1. You and I are sooo similar on this.

    "I critique his behaviour, admonish various transgressions of his, large and small, and am quick to point out what is inappropriate and crass. On the other hand, I am lavish with praise if he does something well."

    And, I too, have a child who acts way beyond expectation of norms. I notice, acknowledge, refine and praise everything.

    And, I too, during moments when I lose my cool, mutter things about not sending out an unprepared little princess or an ignorant, undereducated whiner into the world.


    I was correcting Oee talking to me with questions yesterday.

    She is such a good girl.

    Later, she was speaking and with each statement she said, "that is not a question, is it Mommah. No." And then she went on. She gets it from TDOW's family. Poor TDOW.

    "Most of the people I know talk like that," he said.
    "Exactly," I spat back, "She will not be common."

    Hows that for snobbery in parenting.


    And, last night, after conditioning her for two days to expect present after present, we had a little conversation and her end of day prayers went like this, "Dear God - thank-you for all my life, my food and my blankets and toys and pwease help little boys and giwls that don't have any food or toys. I have a good Mommy. I love you. Amen."

    I'm sure you're a great Dad. Your son will appreciate all you've taught him much more later on down the line.

    Those tv sitcom kids are not so extreme as we think, as you know, and drastic times call for drastic measures - which means being a proactive, vigilant parent. Kudos to you.

    I thank God and my Dad that I don't say, 'so she says to im th'othehday, i got nonathoz in my cupboard.'



    High priority.

    I find if I explain it to Oee, like we are on the same team, away from the 'incident' whatever it may be, she saves face, learns and goes back in to put it into practice.

    We'll see how this works when she hits thirteen, though.



  2. Thank you, Penny. I would love to be a fly on the wall, listening to my son and Oee, should they ever meet in person years from now, discussing their respective parents and the lives they lived while growing up at home. Now that would be educational!

  3. So it would, wouldn't it. lol! It's an interesting thought.

    As time goes by, I realize more and more what a small world it really is. Perhaps someday they will cross paths. Stranger things have happened.

    I hope I'm not the subject of her therapy later in life ~ that is always a worry for me. Not so much because I don't want to be thought of as ogreous, but because I want to be constant and supportive for her - if you don't have your mother and father, who do you have. Such a balance.

  4. Curious, regarding your new year's resolution, "I hereby resolve to be a bit more even-handed with my son" and this post - have you ever asked your son what he thinks of your parenting and what he might change if he could or where he feels you are too stringent or too lax? I am sure some of his opinions become known during arguments, but I was wondering if you have ever sat him down on neutral ground for feedback.

    I did it with Oee. Her requests were pretty simple. Don't yell - use my words.

    Sometimes I yell. I thought I'd never yell, but it does happen on occassion. But, I'm working on it. Mostly, I found that Oee appreciated that her interests and opinion was being asked about and listened to. Even at her young age, I could see that she grew about two feet before me as we sat to have our chat. She mattered during that talk, more than the project and labor of love that she is to me, but as her own person.

    I'm sure you've considered this and probably had these chats. What does your son think?

  5. Good points, Penny. Yes I have asked him. He suggests, like Oee, that I speak to him in a normal voice. I always do, unless I get goaded into that zone where I lose my temper. It is difficult to maintain a level discourse with someone if he is intent on pushing those buttons guaranteed to make you angry. In all my years of business, I have only lost my temper once with an employee. My son can put me over the edge in seconds. Why? I expect more from him.

    In exasperation, I once made a comment to my son that I must be a pretty poor father if I couldn't even keep up a level discussion with him. His response: "You are a pretty darn good father, dad." One can only hope. What does cheer me up is that everyone outside the family always tells us how polite, considerate, and civilized he is.

    Maybe it's the fact that there are two alpha males involved.