Monday, November 21, 2005

Reflections on Kids and Parenting

Yesterday I spent the day just hanging out with Boogie (aka Ashlyn) watching the tube and being goofy. I feel like we have a pretty good relationship considering she's a teenager. When I was her age, I didn't want a thing to do with my parents and only thought they'd been put on earth to embarrass and bug me. I don't know how typical that is, but that was me (yes, I was a pretty screwed up kid). Ash and I make it a point to spend time together, usually bonding over episodes of Gilmore Girls, shopping, or going out to eat. Ash actually hangs out with me and Kenin in the evenings, talking and watching the tube! I'd have NEVER done that, even if you'd have paid me, so I know I have a decent kid on my hands. Yeah, she gets in trouble some, but what kid doesn't? I look back at the way I was, and she's so much like me, but so different at the same time. I admire the hell out of her. She's her own person and doesn't care what other people say or think. She's not the Follower I was, always trying to fit in somewhere, anywhere, and always with people who used me. I'm proud of her. Speaking of parenting... I have become my parents. Well, not totally, but to a point. As a kid you think your parents are dumb as a box of hair, right? Well, the older you get - especially once you have kiddos of your own - you realize that they weren't so bad after all. My kids have almost every single rule that I had (granted, I broke them all) when I was growing up. I open my mouth and hear my parents voice coming out and sometimes it just astounds me that I was such a complete idiot as a kid. Just like my parents told me, I tell my kids "When you have a child of your own, you'll understand why I do and say the things I do." And you know what? They will. I think the biggest difference between my parenting style and that of my own parents is that I joke and kid and play around with my kids a lot. They know I'm the boss, but Kenin and I act like kids, too, sometimes. We're very open with the kids about things, and they know almost all of those deep, dark secrets of my life. My kids know I got in a lot of trouble growing up, that I was in the nut house for a while as a teen, and that there were a number of things that I did that they should never do. Since the kids were toddlers, I've drilled into them that they must graduate from high school, go to college, get married and THEN have a baby. I want so much more for them than what I had. My teenage and early adult years could've been really good, but I made a lot of mistakes that I don't want to see them repeat. They're good kids, and I want the best for them.

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