My father is from a southern state, and my mother is Korean. Although my dad was strict, my mother was strict on an entirely different level. Everything from school to curfew to clothes were far more strict than that of my peers. Nearly to an embarrassment. With the strict rules I swore to myself I would never be like my parents.
Years later, it hit me: I lied to myself. I said I wouldn’t be like my parents, but I am in some ways. It’s the greatest of all parental lies. However, I am guilty of using other very parental lies, too.
“I don’t care.”
I wonder if the words “I don’t care” are used more out of anger, annoyance or sheer frustration. However, I think any parent trying to be a better parent has said this not meaning too. Even in anger a semi-decent parent cares. Otherwise, why do what we do? Why save pennies at a time to help pay for college? Or leave work during a meeting over a fever?
This is one phrase I try my best not to use, because I don’t want my kids to believe it. It is a lie that wreaks havoc in the long run. Even in the worst moments I do care.
“I can’t wait until they’re bigger.”
If I said it once, I said it a hundred times, “I can’t wait until they’re bigger.” It was not that I didn’t love my children’s cute little faces, or the way they waddled in their diapers, but it was the ever-present neediness young children require. However, it is another big lie.
Although crawling and crying overwhelmed me at times, what I wouldn’t give to see my children as infants again. To be able to tuck them under my arm and hold them tight, or fit their feet in the palms of my hands exceeds the ridiculous lie of wanting them to grow up.
Child rearing responsibilities stop at 18
I hear parents say, “When they’re 18 they’re on their own.” Really? Is there anyone who actually believes this? Some children are still in high school at this age. In some cases, with the socioeconomic state of families, parents know an 18-year old can not afford to move out.
Besides, who says 18 years is the time to stop caring? When did love’s boundaries end at 18? It’s often this age when kids need more help than ever. Between being good, productive people, finding rewarding jobs or attending college; it’s probably one of the most insecure times of a person’s life.
Faced with adulthood realities young adults need a helping hand- even if it is a strict one. There is an obvious time when kids must grow up, but even the most strict parents, are there for their children in times of need no matter the age.