It’s been a super fun week at our house. My 9 year old follows my hormone cycle with her moods, and needless to say not only do I not feel great, my daughter is crazy this week. It is super duper awesome. We’ve been dealing with some bad choices this week. And, admittedly in the grand scheme of bad choices she could make, these are absolutely minor. But, at our house bad choices have consequences.
This morning it all came to a boiling head. “Mom, no other 9 year old in the WORLD is expected to have the responsibilities I have! No other parents hold their children so accountable as you do me. Everything is always all my fault and you don’t let me be a kid!” Granted, there may be a very few weeds of truth in there. But, sister if you think no other 9 year old in the world has the responsibilities you have, I need to put your ass on an air plane to a third world country, and you’ll see what responsibility really looks like. When you live a life of great privilege, you also must live a life of great responsibility. And trust me, my kids live a life of very great privilege.
So, this got me thinking about a few points to make…..
(1) My job in this parenting life is not to raise bratty children. My job is to raise a responsible adult. You become a responsible adult by practicing responsibility as a child. When you fail, I will help you recover, but you will get lots of practice.
(2) You are 6 weeks away from being 10 years old. That’s double digits. More importantly, it means you are over half way to “adulthood”. I have less time left to prepare you for the adult world than I’ve already had to train you thus far. You’ve got tons of crap left to learn. For heaven’s sake you can’t even find a shirt in your room. How are you going to find your way to your first real job? We’ve got to get busy sister.
(3)I’m about tired of adulting with fellow adults who are (a)totally irresponsible human beings and (b)have absolutely no concept of being held accountable to professional standards. Rest assured, I will die trying to make sure you are not one of these nearly worthless adults. You will be able to get a job, you will know how to get to work on time, you will know how to make a budget to pay your bills, you will know the value of doing what you say you will do, it will not be second nature for you to half-ass everything you do, you will hold yourself to a higher standard than any supervisor every thought about holding you to, you will know how to admit your mistakes and recover from them, and for heaven’s sake you will not blame the rest of the world for every problem that comes your way or every mistake you make.
(4)If none of your friends are being held accountable and taught responsibility, even more the reason for you to learn. Because, guess what! These fool kids aren’t going to be living at my house when their parents turn them loose, and since you are apparently going to be the only one trained to be an adult, you better have a damn good job and plan to take care of all your pals. You are way too kind and compassionate to let them be homeless; I know you, you are going to volunteer to take care of them. And, if they aren’t able to be responsible- you’re going to have a lot more work to do that I thought.
So, yes child. I expect you to come home when I tell you it is time to come home-even if that means telling another parent to call me to come get you if they aren’t willing to bring you home at that time. I expect you to clean your room, and no, I won’t pay you for doing it. I expect you to keep up with your clothes and uniforms, and I will not buy you a new one when you loose the one you had. I expect you to be kind and deal with people you don’t like. It is not my fault that you do not feel like practicing a skill to get better at it. You are not always going to be the best and greatest at everything you do, but you will show up and keep trying anyway. You will not talk back to me or question my authority in this house. It is not my fault that you made a mistake, that your friend is mad at you, etc. I don’t really care if a certain kid doesn’t like you, and you really shouldn’t either. If your friends think I am too strict, I don’t really care about that either, maybe I will make you get new friends.
And, yes I realize you are only 9 years old. Yes, I want you to be a child and enjoy the world. If you take a moment to pause and look around you, I think you will see just how much world you have to enjoy. You have more stuff and experiences than you could ever recount. For the love of Pete, I was 19 before I had a passport, you’ve already been to 3 different countries besides the one you live in. I hope you enjoy swimming and playing in the dirt tonight. And, my feelings aren’t hurt that you think I am the worst mom ever. I know tomorrow you will love me again and think I am the best mom ever. But, more importantly, when you are 25, I want you to be able to look into my eyes and know I did my part. I want you to be a bold and confident young woman who isn’t always stressed and worried about what comes next. You are going to take this world by the horns, you are going to kick ass and take names. You, my child, are going to be ready to be an adult when that time comes. And, the rest of the WORLD who never had responsibility and accountability, they are going to really wish they were you. They are going to really wish their parents took the time and had the courage to raise adults instead of children.