You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'problems'.
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 entries.

The Importance of Being a Trustworthy Parent

  • Posted on July 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Assuming our children are verbal, we expect them to answer when we talk to them. We expect them to listen, to answer our questions, and to tell us the truth. We learn, over time, that our kids will lie upon occasion. We try to teach them the importance of honesty, of authority, of coming to us when they’re in trouble. Rarely, it seems, do parents stop to wonder whether they’re worthy of what they demand of their kids.

From the beginning, I was reluctant to teach my kids to believe in Santa Claus. I still remember learning the truth of that. I didn’t learn the truth about Saint Nicholas. I learned that Santa Claus was a lie that adults told to little children. I learned that the letters, the news broadcasts, and the presents were all lies. I’d already figured out that the guy at the mall couldn’t be the real Santa Claus. But to find out there was no such thing…

As I child, I believed in fantasy. I thought, maybe someday, maybe if I’m lucky, I’d get swept away into Narnia. Or maybe I’d discover my own magic world—there are lots of them—and I’d get to go there. Maybe I’d get to go any time I wanted to. Life was rough and I clung to this fantasy longer than most kids. I read A Wrinkle in Time and the books that came after it, and I thought that maybe if I had my own magical, transformative experience I’d turn out alright, too.

When bad things happened to me when I was a child, I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t tell them, because I didn’t trust them. Would they blame me for what happened? I got blamed for things that weren’t my fault all the time. Would they believe me? They didn’t always. Would they be honest with me about the consequences? Would I ever really know what would happen next? I didn’t know what to do, but I didn’t know what they would do either. How would they react? What would happen to me? I didn’t trust them. So, I didn’t tell them, even when I needed them.

I wasn’t completely alone. I didn’t keep everything to myself. But I didn’t tell any adults either. I told other children and we coped with each other’s problems, helping each other as best we could. I remember what that was like. I remember what had happened to me and how I dealt with it. The truth is that the events of my childhood almost destroyed me. Not only did I get myself in situations where I could have been killed and in situations where other people wanted to kill to protect me, but I nearly killed myself. I seriously considered it. And the only reason I didn’t is because I knew two people in my life would miss me too much if I did. Neither of them were my parents.

I remembered these events and I decided to tell my children the truth. I told them that Santa Claus was for pretend and that it was alright to pretend. I made it perfectly clear that it was perfectly okay with me if they wanted to believe in Santa Claus, but that they didn’t have to. I taught them the difference between what’s real (like a brother) and what’s pretend (like a story or a toy). I told them that they could play pretend, but that it was just pretend. My children—autistic though they were, disillusioned though I was—learned to play pretend just fine. They didn’t lose any of the magic of their childhood. But they knew the truth. And they knew I would tell them the truth if they asked me.

Being trustworthy isn’t easy. We’re socialized to shade the truth. We’re indoctrinated with the “goodness” of white lies. We’re taught to fudge the details, to shape arguments to our advantage, to shape opinions to be like our own. We’re taught that charisma and glamor are qualities to have and to believe in, to follow. And then we have to break down these socialized tendencies and tell the truth, even when it’s hard, even when it’s uncomfortable or unpleasant or even “unnecessary.”

It’s not that my children don’t lie to me. Each of my children who know how to talk has learned how to lie, whether they lie well or poorly. And they do lie. But, when it really matters, when it’s really important, they know they can tell the truth, no matter how hard it is, and they know they’ll get my help and that they’ll have input on what kind of help they get. In other words, my children know they can trust me—even the teenagers—because they know I’m worthy of their trust.

Pressure to Homeschool

  • Posted on October 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Every time something new happens with Ben and his school, somebody brings up homeschooling. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against other parents choosing to homeschool, nor do I have anything against the choice to homeschool being available.

I do, however, have a problem with others pressuring me and my husband to homeschool our children, Ben in particular. Homeschooling isn’t the solution. Not for us. Ben requires special education services, and we don’t have the training for that. Obviously, we teach him things. But we are not qualified to be his sole or his primary source of scholastic education. Nor are we interested in becoming qualified to be his sole or his primary source of scholastic education.

The school is responsible for educating Ben. The solution to our problem is for the school to meet its obligation. That very well may require others forcing them to meet this obligation. If so, I’m happy to do it and I know how to get help to make that happen.

Pressuring someone to homeschool their child is not appropriate. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Homeschooling is definitely not the right fit for my husband. While I may be closer, I’m also the breadwinner of my family. I can’t go to school, go to work, and spend a full day educating my child. Nor should I have to. We have schools for a reason. If there’s a problem, there are also ways to handle the problem that do not include pulling the child from school.

Unscheduled Downtime

  • Posted on September 28, 2012 at 7:34 PM

I had plans for this week. I was going to enjoy my new office. I was going to work hard and get caught up. But things didn’t quite happen that way.

With my laptop’s performance deteriorating at an alarming rate, I knew failure was imminent. I had to replace it, and so, once I had the funds, I did. Finding a suitable laptop was relatively easy, but the software I needed wasn’t in stock. I would have to wait up to three business days for it to be delivered to my home.

When I left my away-from-home office to pick up the new laptop, I left my old laptop there and brought my new laptop home. I put my children to bed, started configuring my new laptop with my favorites and other personal preferences. Then, when I was sure the kids were asleep, I left the house to go back to my away-from-home office.

Less than two blocks from my house, my van ceased functioning properly. It turns out that the front passenger-side wheel bear came loose and tore through various components. Ouch! I ended up walking home. My mom picked me up during her lunch hour so I could use my old laptop. Even though I had all my documents, I couldn’t manipulate them on the new laptop without the software. To work, I needed my old computer.

I spent the rest of the day in my away-from-home office, which is in my mother’s basement, and then went home, carrying both the new and the old laptop with me. Unfortunately, when I arrived, our Internet was down.

What’s that they say about everything that can go wrong?

Anyway, everything is finally back in order. I will spend the weekend catching up and hoping that next week will be THE week I truly get back on track. Wish me luck! I think I’m going to need it. :(