Parenting

Coping with Our Children’s Mistakes

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**Warning: rant ahead. Proceed at your own risk. 🙂

You tell your kids not to smoke; it’s nasty, it’ll give them lung cancer, it’s expensive and will make their breath and clothes smell like an ashtray. You don’t smoke yourself.

They take up smoking anyway.

You lecture your kids on the dangers of drugs. It’s addictive. It can ruin their lives. It can change their personalities.

They do drugs anyway.

You tell your kids that abstinence is best, to wait until they are married before having sex. You tell them that waiting is the right thing to do and that it’s God’s will for them to wait until marriage before taking the plunge.

And they have sex anyway. And then they either get a girl pregnant or come home pregnant.

As the parent, is that somehow your fault? You’ve educated your children. You’ve made sure they were armed with intelligent information so that when the time came, and it will, don’t fool yourselves, that they have to make a choice, and they make the “wrong” choice, did you fail them as a parent? Should you be the one to accept the responsibility for their actions?

You can only hope and pray that they make the right decision when you’re not around. You can’t watch them 24/7. ESPECIALLY when they become teenagers, or start driving, or dating, or stuck at a party where they are doing illegal things.

How is that the parents’ fault?

I don’t discuss politics on this blog, mainly because I’m simply not articulate enough to discuss them on an intelligent level – there are so many blogs out there that do a much better job than I do. But when I read, on some other blogs today, the judgmental, hypocritical attitudes about Sarah Palin’s daughter, well, it got my blood boiling.

There comes a point in your life, as a parent, when you no longer have the luxury of making your children’s decisions. They reach a point in their lives, where they must make their own decisions and suffer the consequences of those decisions. Our jobs, as parents, is to make sure they are well equipped with information before they reach that step in their lives. And IF they make a bad choice, or they make an unintentional mistake, it’s our jobs as parents to be supportive and walk them through that bad choice. NOT clean it up for them, but be there if they need us.

And teenagers are still kids, albeit big ones, they will need us.

The self-righteous lectures about how Mrs. Palin is being hypocritical by standing up and preaching abstinence when her daughter is pregnant is unrealistic. As parents, we can preach our morals and beliefs until we’re blue in the face – that does not mean our children will heed our lectures.

I just don’t understand the logic behind the controversy – do you WANT Palin to stand up and say, “Oh well, since my daughter is now pregnant it’s rather stupid of me to preach abstinence to every other American teenager so you know, go for it.” That makes no sense whatsoever.

If anything, it shows people that Palin has a life outside of politics. Is it imperfect? Of course. Is she dealing with her daughter’s bad decision with grace? Absolutely. They are going to take care of the baby. Which in my eyes means they are taking responsibility and are putting that innocent baby first.

AND, if anything else, it also proves that if, and or when, Palin gets into the White House, she’ll be even more sympathetic to young girls who find themselves in the same situation and perhaps that will goad her into backing programs that help these young girls.

Sure, we would PREFER if our kids didn’t have kids, but let’s be real folks, stuff happens. They made a bad choice and now what? We stand by and shake our fingers at them? That’s not what they need, they need our support and to help them make the decision that is right for their lives.

And thank God we still have choices in this country.

I don’t know when people are going to start accepting the fact that these politicians? Have lives outside of politics. And they’re human, they have and will continue to lead flawed lives.

Do we expect them to lead a better-than-most-life to set an example? Of course. When you’re in the public eye, you SHOULD lead your life by example. But look at actors – you think THEY’RE perfect? People in the public eye have money and power – life is full of temptations as is, can you imagine how tempting it would be to make a bad decision with money and power to back it up?

We’re human. We make mistakes. When are we going to stop judging other people for those mistakes?

If my son gets into drugs, does that make me a bad mom? No, it makes me the mom of a troubled teen. My son was persuaded to step over that dark line, despite our talks about the evils of drugs, now it’s my job to help him step back into a healthy life. Would I be hurt and disappointed by his decision? Of course. But the situation isn’t about me, it’s about my son. Would I then start preaching to other kids that it’s okay to do drugs because my son made a bad choice and is now doing drugs just so I don’t appear hypocritical?

Do you see how asinine that argument is?

Please stop being so judgmental and let’s look at the bigger picture here. Let’s support our young people and concentrate on making sure they have all of the information they need to begin with so they will HOPEFULLY make the right decision WHEN (and don’t fool yourself, the time will come) that happens.

And by the way, I’d feel this way if it was the Obama family. This issue isn’t about whose side of the political fence you’re on, it’s about taking responsibility, standing up for what you believe is right and it’s about helping a young girl who made a mistake and didn’t heed her parents wishes.

Sidenote: My opinion for Senator Obama just went up about five notches. Here’s what he said about the Palin pregnancy “scandal”:

“Let me be as clear as possible,” Obama said. “I think people’s families are off-limits, and people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president.”

Obama said reporters should “back off these kinds of stories” and noted that he was born to an 18-year-old mother.

“How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that’s off-limits.”

Bravo Senator, bravo.

Okay sorry. Rant is over.

5 thoughts on “Coping with Our Children’s Mistakes”

  1. Thanks for the input, Janie. But I completely disagree. McCain is indeed in his twilight years, but he’s in good health and there is no reason he can’t outlive all of us, look at his 96-year old mother sitting in the audience – he comes from solid genes, apparently. *grin*

    And to imply that McCain is too much of a wuss for the office is incorrect. He was a POW for many years – he suffered numerous beatings and several broken bones. In fact, he can’t even lift his arms above his shoulders anymore due to his injuries. I think he’s tough enough to handle Washington. McCain actually served our country unlike another candidate who is looking for our country to serve him and his grandiose ideas of controlling American lives.

    And Palin’s inexperience is a problem. However, her gutsy attitude and her willingness to stand up for what she believes is right is still preferable to someone who has more experience and is very willing to play politics and change his/her view in order to stay popular. I would prefer ANYONE, regardless of party affiliations, who puts our country first and does what is best for the American people over someone who has a personal agenda.

    And the thought of Obama NOT defending our country, if or when that ever happens (God help us), scares me.

    But I digress – the point of this post was to illustrate that once again, the media’s illogical arguments and attempts to distract the people from the real issues by attacking Palin’s family borders on immature and desperate, quite frankly.

    A message to the media: stick to the issues and leave people’s personal lives and choices out of it.

  2. Barack Obama is a class act. I had not made up my mind about who to vote for until McCain announced Palin as his running mate. I agree completely that her daughter and family should be off-limits.

    However, BigBob said it best: “The thought of that woman with her hand on the red phone scares the crap out of me.”

    I am listening to her addressing the convention at this moment. I can’t look at her. She is possibly the most annoying person I have ever seen or heard. And she is utterly unequipped to be the leader of the free world. McCain is 72 years old and the Pres. is not for wussies or anybody in questionable health. It ages a young, strong person in perfect health. He could well be unable to complete his term. And Palin is simply not ready. She made be smart, gutsy, and all the rest. But she is NOT ready.

    And her kids/hubby have nothing to do with that simple, inarguable fact.

  3. I didn’t know that Obama had made that statement. I think it’s great that he stood up for her.

    As for raising our children, I do the best I can and hope that they remember some of the things I’ve taught them. If they should somehow lose their way, I may be disappointed but I’ll always be there for them.

  4. You are wrong, Karen 🙂 — you ARE very articulate and you expressed an opinion and some facts here that are very valid. And I totally agree with you. We seem to think along very similiar lines. My first thought when I heard about Palin being McCain’s choice for VP was “she can relate to the “younger” generation problems of our country. She’s my age, she’s a soccer mom. I know our politicians need to know foreign policy inside out, but we have major problems here as well that need to be addressed. I, as well, was impressed with the way Obama addressed this issue with Palin’s daughter. Great thoughts here, Karen!

  5. I completely agree with you, in fact I was impressed with how she is handling the situation. She surely didn’t give her daughter permission, and her daughters bad choice shouldn’t reflect on the mother, especially with the support and careing she is showing the young lady.

    Some are going to say that she should have been at home with her daughter and it wouldn’t have happened, but theres no way she could be with the girl 24/7 and where there is a will there is a way. The negative comments I’ve heard are ridicules, a teen pregnancy can happen in any family and in any social class.

    I too was impressed with Obama’s stance.

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