Thursday, August 03, 2006

Toxic Parents

The Blazing Fire is burning white hot today. Check out this story about parents. I would say it's unbelievable, but I'm getting tired of using that word - and it's not entirely accurate in this day and age. Maybe I should say it's sickeningly believeable.

First, a heartwarming story:
Silvia Johnson, the suburban Colorado mom who entertained high school kids at weekly parties with Jack Daniels, Bacardi rum and peppermint schnapps. Johnson provided the liquor, did shots with the 15- and 16-year-olds, supplied the methamphetamines and joined the kids in taking them. And she sexually serviced at least five of the boys, right there at her parties. She did this, she told police, to be the "cool mom."
Ah, the "cool mom." When will the "cool mom" realize that her kids and her kids' friends don't think she's "cool," but that she's just a joke, a pushover.

Here's another encouraging quote. Good advice for parents.
"Sometimes, it's easier to let them do it," Sausville says. "You're sick of arguing about it. You say, 'Oh, all right.' It's easier to just give them the car or let them go to the party than to have them hate you."
That quote actually came from a woman whose step-daughter died after drinking and driving at the age of 16. But that's not a completely representative quote. She has made the circuit, speaking at schools and parent meetings about being more aggressive than she was in raising children. She goes on to make a good point:
Still, she says, a parent cannot be there every minute. Should not be. "Look, we're all defensive of our kids and our parenting. But there's no book that comes with them. Lauren chose to drink. Lauren chose to drive." Parents who think they've found the formula -- parents who look right through Sausville -- make it harder for everyone else, she says. "Anybody who thinks they've got it down, their kid is snowing them."
Yes, parenting is hard. There's no textbook. There are no formulas. There are people and relationships and responsibilities. It's not about having a little friend, or being the "cool" parent. Just because you parent a certain way doesn't mean your kid won't have problems. That's a part of life - nobody can really control another person. But that's not an excuse to give up and take the easy way out.

Mom & Dad, thank you for not being "cool" parents. Thanks for not being my best friend while I was growing up. It's because of that that I have great respect for you today. Even though we do have a different kind of relationship now, more along the lines of "friendship," you'll always be my parents. I will always look up to you and respect you. And most of all, I will always love you.

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