Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tough Loving It!

Having kids and letting them find their way in life is no easy feat! We spent most of their childhood rushing in to take care of them when they stumble and fall, some parent never learn the art of 'not rushing' in. Sometimes it is best for the child to stumble and learn to find their own balance, to find ways to soothe their own boo boo's.

I recently received an email from a total stranger who somehow stumbled across an old entry of mine called Blame Game. She has a 42 year old son with self imposed problems, (not medical in nature) and for some reason asked me for my take on her story. The only thing I could offer her, is to not let guilt help you enable your child. I was raised with the 'Tough Love' technique and I am raising my own children with the 'Tough Love' technique and let me tell you it's not easy to do all the time, I still hurt when they hurt but I have to let them find their own way in life, I am not always going to be around to rush in and save them. So teaching them to rely on themselves is the best gift I can ever give them.

My 19 year old daughter, Amanda graduated from High School last year, my expectations of her were to either continue her education or seek full time employment while deciding what she wants to do with the rest of her life. My only other requirement was that she clean up after herself while she lives in my house. This worked for a couple of months, then she decided to quit her job and not tell me. I know my children, I knew she was without a job even though she left the house on her old work schedual (sneaky huh?) so I called her on it, she told me the truth and said that she would get another job ASAP.  4 weeks had gone by with one application and no interviews, she for some strange reason thinks to wait until she hears from one place of potential employment until she seeks another........WRONG!

I gave her a dead line that she had to have some kind of employment by a specific date or she could no longer live here (home with all the perks) Small jobs are plenty in my area, she just feels she is too good to work at a few (we all know that syndrome don't we!) lol The deadline came with no other future prospects or attempts at looking for a job so I booted her, and guess what? She liked being homeless, she has found another of her peer groups who are jobless but their Mommy and Daddy don't worry so she's having a ball living freely, with no rules. She has no bills right now and all she wants to do is have fun!

This is not sitting well with me, but she is 19 and not living under my roof so what can I do about it? absolutely nothing! I'm "TOUGH LOVing" it. She cannot ask me for gas money, or for hand outs! She wants something she has to work for it, just like I along with other people of the world had to do. I would not be doing her any favors by giving in now and saying poor baby! Their are plenty of reasons that I could find to do so, but in the end I would not really be helping her, I would be enabling her to feel sorry for herself and in the end society would end up supporting her and not herself.

In her month or so of being homeless and yes there were some nights she slept in her car with her friends, she is now realizing it is not so fun anymore, she's not getting the rest she needs, her belly has gone hungry and she now is ready to become part of the society that provides for themselves. She cannot return to the nest without a job and a start date.

I know that there are going to be a lot of people out there that don't agree with my choice of tough love, but believe me when I say this, it's tougher on the one doling out the tough love! I as a mother, as a parent want to rush in and save her, save her from herself if I had too, but in the end I would not be doing her any favors now would I? I am not going to be on this earth forever, she has to start living her life and take care of herself. I have instilled that in her all through her informative years, this is nothing she needs to learn, she just needs to apply it now.


sieblonde said...

Now THAT was a tough thing to do.   How is it we raise kids, try to teach them right from wrong, etc., etc., and somehow end up with kids that think the world owes them something for nothing?  I've got one now sitting on his butt, and things are about to change.  ~Sie

maozmon said...

I agree..especially when you've given your child so much support, love, etc when raising them. Ran into the same situation with my oldest daughter, she ran to live at daddy's house,its caused a lot of distance between us, which is getting better, but I knew I wasnt doing her any favors by letting her sit on her butt doing nothing. take care, mary anne ~maozmon~

shooser1 said...

I grew up with the "tough love" parenting too and I don't think you are being harsh AT ALL!!!!  It sounds like you are teaching a lesson in responsibility and how can that be bad?  Hugs, Sheila

judithheartsong said...

you are absolutely right in my opinion. It is very hard to do...... judi

samnsmile5 said...

I agree with you too....I just need to be better at not enabling my oldest....he doesn't have a job and is constantly asking for money...he needs to get out there and work.  I need to get tougher because I know I'm not helping him at all.
Thanks for the reminder!  :)

brandyp0509 said...

See this is how I intend on doing mine as well.  I too think it is harder on the parent than the child but in the long run you have succeeded in making them productive, responsible and above all else appreciative adults.  So yay to you.  One day they will totally understand where you were coming from and respect you for it.  Brandy

lioneyes4you said...

Kudos to you...I absolutely dread this time with my own...but at the age he is at now I am getting lots of practice.

promiseluv372 said...

Your entry couldn't have come at a better time for me.  I had to have my son arrested last night (for domestic abuse) and we went to court today and I had to tell the judge that he wouldn't be better off at home waiting for his next court day.  It was SO very hard, and I keep questioning myself even now.  But I know he would run away again, I know in my heart of hearts I did the best thing for him.  He doesn't see it, he sees me as an awful person for "doing this to him".  It's hard to remember I'm doing the best I can for him, when I already know he has been abandoned by everyone.
Thanks for sharing I know I'm not alone.

nicurnmama said...

I'm right there with you lady on this one. The same standard applies here, DD #1 is 18 a new high school grad. The law is you may live here rent free as long as you are a full time student. We also expect that she have a job, part time if in school, full time if not. And rukles of the house regarding guys in her room, time expected to be home, etc still apply. We have butt heads a few times but she is towing the line so far. Some kids need a little bigger does of reality....I was one of them. I hated my unlce then for kicking me out but it made me realize how much more growing up I had to do and I had to take responsibility if I was to be a successful adult. I am thankful for that kick in the butt. Hang in there!

vaultofsecrets said...

Touch Love works and this is a great example of it, when you are dealing with behavior issues such as this.
But trust me when it comes to addictions in your children such as drugs, the beast will take you beyond love and back.
This entry really pulls at my heart strings.
Parenting can be such a blessing for some and for others it is simply a nightmare that takes you into the very darkness of hell itself.
Almost 15 years later of dealing with a son with real drug addictions I can honestly say, we may just survive this as a family. I see a light.
Wishing you health, happiness and laughter.

carolhehe said...

Tough Love works :) I raised three kids that way and I did survive. I gave them the rules when they graduated one went his own way, the other got his act together and left effentually and the third also. I know a couple of women that are still babying their 40 something boys! Those men are allowed to live off their mothers! It makes me sick.

plieck30 said...

You are a very wise person. Hope the lady who e-mailed you is able to iron her difficulties out. Paula

lazarai said...

My girls are 16 and plan is to do exactly as you're doing. I know it won't be easy! But I've seen too many young adults floundering, living off their parents and not getting off their butts to be productive and contributing members of society. I am hoping they'll go on to college...but if they don't, they will have jobs for sure!

You are so wise -- your daughter has learned a valuable lesson and will remember it all of her life.

Thanks for sharing that...and please let us know how things are going.


sunnyside46 said...

let me know how it works out
we parents have a hard job. any support we can give or experiences we can share are a help!

mematracey said...

I am really having a difficult time.  I have been enabling my daughter for years.  She is now 30 and a single mother of two wonderful girls.  I should have done the tough love thing a long time ago, but she got pregnant at 16 and it was always the grandchildren that played on me.  I felt I needed to make sure my daughter was ok so the grandchildren would be ok.  What a mistake.
PLEASE take my advice here and do what needs to be done early.  I used tough love on my son at an early age and he is now self reliant and making a life for himself.  My daughter treats me like a door mat and I have had enough now.  The grandchildren are older now and I can't take my daughters attitude any longer.  I am NOT adhearing to her demands any longer.  She doesn't work and she lives on the childrens child support from her x.  He pays regularly and an amble amount.  However she blows the money and always needs for things before the next check comes.  The money is never enough, and she won't go to work.  The mother bank is closed and she will have to face the fact that she has to go to work and make more money if she needs more money! When I leave this earth I want to know my children can fend for themselves in any situation. If I don't force this issue it will not happen with my daughter.  I too feel some people will think I am cruel and uncaring.  BUT believe me it does hurt me more to have to be the initiator in all this.  I did my daughter wrong for all these years and now I have to correct the unhealthy life style she is living. Thanks for listening and wish me luck.

siennastarr said...