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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

When You Cannot Recommend Your Own Child

happy-teensAs the children grow and mature, many onlookers take things at face value:  the kids are attractive, and bright, and well-mannered.  Usually.  And I agree.

But then we get into the gray areas of life, that honestly, have me stumped.  How to say no to an onlooker who feels that Pasha should be taking flying lessons (he will probably not be taking driving lessons for some years, despite the fact that he’s 16, because of impulse control issues), or that Mashenka should be babysitting at 15 (although she could not properly enunciate her own address, much less someone else’s if she needed to call 911)?

Do I say:

“Oh, you mean the daughter who flies off the handle every other minute?  What if your baby started to cry?  What if340x_custom_1280862959819_sadteenshutter2 your toddler swallowed something?  What if she heard sounds in the bushes outside your house and knew she was there alone?”

Do I share their stories of trauma and abuse?  Do I tell acquaintances that I might not trust them with the care of a pet rock?  That sounds incredibly harsh and judgmental., and I would definitely allow three out of four of our kids to care for our dogs, who are certainly similar to babies.  But still….

Their older brother is a success story.  I refuse to make excuses for him, or hide his light under a bushel.  He should have a full and free childhood.  They cannot ride his coattails forever.  He is very capable and can-do, and the other three don’t feel the need to put in the same hard work that he has in the past and present.  Consequently, people ask us if they can babysit, or do this or that.

ID-10033195-1-300x199Then I have the awkward decision to make about how to say no, they are not like their older brother.

My kids don’t know CPR (that’s on the to-do list in the near future).  They are not extremely skilled with giving their name, rank, and serial number, much less their neighborhood or phone number.  The information seems to come and go, and when under stress during an emergency, it might go more than it comes.

Their frustration threshhold levels are lower than low, and their desire to be like undesirables, higher than high.  Put them in a room full of people, whether kids or adults, and they will often gravitate toward the most questionable imagescharacters.  No matter how many times we build them up and tell them that they are “somebody”, the black hole eats up every compliment as though it was never tossed their way in the first place.

After a while, I just might start to agree with them.  It’s as though it comforts them to know that they are nobody, they’re headed nowhere, and they’ll never measure up.  Their goal is to fail, although no one would ever “know” beyond our inner circle, that’s really what’s in their heart of hearts.

And that’s a sad thought.  Not to mention dangerous.

For the present, I don’t feel comfortable sharing their every shortcoming.  I mean, one day they might change-!  (Grant it, Lord.)  For now, I’ll simply say, “They’re not ready, yet.  Thanks for asking.”



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6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Shelley says:

    I understand the conflict and turmoil that this causes. It’s not easy especially when friends or relatives want to lavish them with trips or gifts that the children cannot handle. The parents end up looking like the bad guys.

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s true, Shelley, and I’ve come to the conclusion that although people say they want to follow my wishes in regards to this or that with my kids, very few will listen. Maybe I should just stop talking altogether. Now THAT would make some folks very happy!

  2. avatar Sybil says:

    How about saying, “Thanks, but it just isn’t his/her thing right now” when people ask if the kids can do this or that and you know it is not within their capabilities for now? You already know that people just can’t understand because all they can only see is on the outside.

    • avatar admin says:

      Excellent reply, Sybil. I cringe when adults go directly to the children and ask THEM-! Most of our friends, acquaintances, and family don’t, so I’m thankful for that. I sometimes wonder if the reverse of my way of thinking might work – give them a responsibility that’s normal for their “age”, but not necessarily for their emotional level of development. Would they rise to the challenge? Or would it cause more of a disaster?

  3. avatar Sybil says:

    As long as it is not babysitting or something where another person’s well being is involved I think I would let them try for something that is close to their age level. Sometimes I think that a failure is the best teacher and they might surprise themselves and see that they can do something they (or you) thought they couldn’t. I have the feeling your standards are high and if you lower the bar some, they might jump it and go after the next level next time.

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