My husband drinks. I don’t. I smoke. My husband doesn’t. My teenage son would say – ‘I want to smoke because you do.’ Then later say the same to his dad. I would watch experts on Television or I would read expert opinion books. My son was right. It was my fault and it was his dad’s fault. Guilt is an awful feeling.
It’s time for me to quit smoking. It’s time for my husband to quit drinking. It’s time adults (who previously were allowed to make their own decisions) to stop everything that ‘might’ be wrong. We are destroying our children.
Yet times are going from bad to worse. Now it is not uncommon to see people have heart-attacks in their 20’s. Now it’s not uncommon for children to suffer autism or other diseases rare in my times. Now we have an obesity problem. And the list goes on. Is it possible we are on the wrong track?
Then a niggling doubt crosses my mind. Is my son so smart he can manipulate conversations and make his parents feel guilty? (I am proud of him for his brilliance.) Reality invades and I realize maybe he’s not that brilliant. He’s doing exactly what teens have been doing for ages. He is learning to lay blame on other people’s shoulders. That is what I am teaching my son. I am adamant that everyone should take responsibility for their own actions/behavior.
Once I realized this – my debates and arguments became easier. Using reason and logic – I could show him I was onto his ‘games’ and say ‘no’, with ease. To be fair – I would offer reasons. Raising my son became so much easier when I didn’t worry at all about ‘influencing a teen’ by my own bad behavior. I can breathe easier knowing I can do whatever I please so long as it’s not illegal.
My son is an adult. He does not smoke. I think that decision came more from his inability to buy them than any fear or health issues. It’s a waste of money. He does drink occasionally – but it has no effect on his ability to work or support his family.
As a teen I would say ‘I’m here for a good time, not a long time’. Of course it was in arguments with my mother as I tried to manipulate her to let me go to a party. And of course it was because, as a teen, the idea of being 30 wasn’t too appealing. Who cares anyway?
A few years ago my son came to me and apologized for his behavior. He admitted he was attempting to manipulate me and make me feel guilty. It was one of the nicest feelings in my life. Thank you for telling me.
-Oh what a boring life we weave….
When we rely on advice from tea-leaves.
What we read, what we see – is it true?
I think that decision is inside you.