Things I never expected to say to my children.
A lot of parenting is nothing like the modeling we see on TV or in books or at the movies. Actually, that isn't true. I found the movie 'Parenthood' to be pretty spot on. Rosanne is another prime example of real parenting - well, in my case anyway. I was saying to someone the other day that Rosanne pretty much reflects my own parenting style. They laughed and said, 'Oh my god, you're right!'
It's good to have role models.
My parenting style has come under scrutiny and been judged lacking. I know I have failed to live up to my own benchmark, and on occasion I've failed miserably. My relationship with Erik is a great (or rather awful) example of my own parenting failures.
Again, I feel I need to say I was working with what I had. I know there is no excuse for the mistakes I made with him. I also know, I brought to that relationship a disastrous confluence of terrible modelling from my own parents, a brain structure which is associated with increased, unreasonable, levels of anger and impulsivity and highly strained situations (chronic and acute lack of sleep resulting in seizures and hospitalisation).
I also know, I educated myself, I worked damn hard to be a better parent and I am a better parent. I'm actually a damned good parent now. I've learned to work with the challenges and accentuate the positives. It has been hard work, but I have picked myself up time and again, because my kids deserved better and I knew that and I acted on that.
As a result, I have an very open and honest relationship with my kids. Our relationship is based on good communication, humour, and good will. Erik also experienced that, it came late - too late - but nonetheless it came and he saw the change and he acknowledges that change.
I was thinking this morning how proud I am of my boys, Erik and Lukas are growing into fine young men, and I strongly believe Dave and I have a helluva lot to do with that. I know others would like to take credit for that, but the fact that it is both of them is no coincidence. Bryn and Ari are also growing in fine young boys, and no doubt they'll go through rough patches, possibly very rough patches, but they know we'll be there to support them. Sometimes that support will be gentle, and sometimes it will be of the 'get real' variety. Parenting is not all encouragement. Sometimes parenting is, by necessity, a reality call, a reigning in, and a drawing of the line in the sand. That isn't bad parenting, that is responsible parenting.
The fact that Erik knows I will do anything for him, including ordering earrings for his ex-girlfriend's little sister (even though their opinion of me is lower than a snakes belly), is evidence that my parenting of him was not all horrible. The fact that he can be honest with me about his exploits both before and after 'official adulthood' is another example of how he knows he can trust me.
I am Rosanne, and I'm not afraid to tell my kids that one of them telling me that, 'He stole a car from me years ago!' is not a good enough reason to lick his brother. And that the brother doing the licking does not deserved being screamed at for being 'A little shit'.
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