This photo makes me cackle bitterly. Photo by thegreenhouse2009 at flickr.com
It seems a double standard to me that each time I have disciplined Kurt since my return from holiday, I have been accused of ‘nagging’; yet when the old man does the same thing, he calls it ‘confronting’ bad behavior.
Do you and your partner score points against each other for your parenting skills, or lack thereof?
Because there’s been a massive shift as to where the old man views his level of importance in the parenting hierarchy since my trip away.
As we deal with our son’s special needs on a day-to-day basis, I have noticed a few judgmental shakes of the head lobbed in my direction and several of his now-legendary tuts, because suddenly, (and after twenty-one years of wearing an invisibility cloak whenever one of our children has dared to be in his vicinity), the old man has suddenly proclaimed himself a perfect parent.
Even when we have our parental pow-wows, when we hide and whisper in our bedroom to plot our latest dastardly punishment for the most recent of Kurt’s crimes to parenthood, the old man tries to assume leadership and condemns all of my suggestions like some autocratic parenting top dog.
Worst still, he has started to undermine me in Kurt’s presence, with snide little pity smiles that suggest I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing, which I know is a criminal offence in parenting law.
And even though it is obvious that there was little (if any) guidance, boundaries or dare-I-say-it, interaction, between the old man and Kurt while I was away, our son appears to be revelling in this new, tough-love dynamic that goes hand-in-hand with the old man’s new role as primary parental carer.
Or perhaps he just loves their new-found bromantic alliance. AGAINST ME.
I might add that while he was supposed to be ‘parenting’ in my absence, the old man took two weeks holiday from work to cope, never discovered the vacuum cleaner nor the Spray N’Wipe and sourced all foodstuffs from the local fish and chip shop, which fortunately has an extensive menu as long as you like hot chips with everything.
He didn’t have to cope with the pressure of work or the pressure of the school Rottweiler who tracks down truants in our area like the child-catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and then gets her weekly kicks out of calling parents to remind them just how feral, disappointing and sociopathic their kids are.
Kurt probably slept until lunchtime most days as well.
I am grateful that he was able to finally experience the role of being a father to our son. Actually I’m not…I’m peeved that my son can’t see through his father’s unrealistic approach to parenting and his laissez-faire attitude, (that really means he’s given up), which has zero chance of working with an ADHD adolescent.
Of course life was “chill” when I wasn’t around and he was allowed to do whatever he wanted, I tried to explain to a confused Kurt this morning when I asked him nicely (biting down hard on my tongue) to hang his towels up and refrain from feeding the dog his leftover Nutrigrain because she gets diarrhoea.
It’s becoming clear that we need to find some middle-ground in our parenting styles for our son, somewhere between the old man’s archaic die or swim attitude and my need to over-scaffold.
I agree that with Kurt’s eighteenth birthday looming hideously closer it is time for the boy to demonstrate some responsibility and to face consequences for his mistakes, but we don’t have to push him over the side of the nest blindfolded and with stunted wings just to score parenting points.