By Betty Killebrew
One thing you can depend upon when you have children is that there will come a time when you wonder what you did wrong while raising them.
Parents, not surprisingly, find it difficult to understand why their loving little 10-year old seemingly overnight becomes a stubborn, willful pre-teen who knows for sure that his parents know nothing whatever.
Last Sunday at church I saw a young woman cuddling her eight year old daughter throughout the service. I waxed nostalgic about my son cuddling with me the same way all the way up until he was ten years old. Then I suddenly became so embarrassingly stupid he didn’t even want me to talk in public.
Another one of my children was a real success story when it came to keeping his room clean and helping with household chores. I felt pretty smug about that until he was mid-way through high school. It was then that his social life became so important that he couldn’t be bothered with anything like helping Mom. A year or so later, I was hard put to even get him to come home before 2:00 a.m. because, after all, it was his senior year.
Even after they become adults our children seem to be from different planets than we raised them on.
Teetotalers have raised kids that drink. I was a non-smoker, but one of my kids learned to smoke with a buddy—and still smokes twenty-five years later.
Paying my bills on time and in full is a point of honor with me. Imagine how I felt when collection agents started calling my home about my adult son’s bills!
At such times, parents can certainly have the feeling that they screwed up big time while raising that young person, but I don’t think we should beat ourselves up over it.
We did the best we could raising people who, in the end, many not be like us at all. Every person is a mixed heritage of all the ancestors on both sides of their family and they all have different experiences in life. And of course, our children have to pull away from us to develop their own identities—identities that are theirs, not ours.
So our children are going to do and say things we don’t agree with. They are going to make us blush and cringe both as children and when they grow up, but they are our children and everything we taught them is in there somewhere. We just have to have faith—and sometimes pretend we don’t know them. After all, they started pretending they didn’t know us before they even reached puberty!