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Monday, 25 August 2014

Tandem

I received a txt from my young son, a thirteen year old, asking if he could do a tandem skydive jump with his friend. I replied I thought not, but would discuss with his dad. His father was equally quick to say no.

While I believe it is the right decision, I felt mean. So I put it to my FB friends 'Would you let your 13 year old do a tandem skydive?'. They all came back with a resounding no.

I went to another online group I'm a member of, that spans the globe. Men and women of all ages were also a collective 'no'.

I am ashamed to say I showed my son all of this, the Facebook polling because I still felt mean. He was annoyed with me, even though his father is equally to blame in the decision. It is the cross of the stay at home mum to bear, taking all the blame for joint decisions. I hate being the bad guy. It hurts when you know they don't like you.

I'm not proud I felt I needed permission to say no, and I'm not proud that I wanted my son not to blame me. I wanted him to see I wasn't being unreasonable. The fact is, I'm the parent. It's my job. Knowing I am making the right choice should be enough. I am not his friend, I'm his parent. Denis Leary sums it up in his book 'Why we suck' which I have quoted many a time to friends. "Will your kid hate you? Yup. And here's a little headline for you: your kids are SUPPOSED to hate you. YOUR KID IS YOUR KID - NOT YOUR GODDAM BEST FRIEND.
Believe me - they may hate your fat-ass now but they will thank you immensely later on." He goes on later, with what I think is the hardest part of parenting. "My mom always kept our feet nailed hard and fast to the ground.  She told us no when we wanted to hear yes and my dad was right there to back her up." This book is not for everyone, and it's not really a parenting book, but I find this truth useful to clutch onto when struggling with the difficult teen parenting in this world were you often feel alone in standing up to their children. Leary seems extremely fond of his parents, and is now promoting their hard line rules that were the norm in the sixties and seventies, but seem old fashioned now, so his comments seem to hold water to me.

I just wish sometimes doing the right thing felt better.

Linking up with MummyMondays

21 comments:

  1. You were absolutely right to say no to that activity!
    I always tell my own kids that they have the rest of their lives to experience these things. What's the rush?
    I am sure my 14 year old Daughter think I suck today! (One of those mornings.)
    I will have to heck out this book - thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Oops - that was meant to be 'check' out that book! :D

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  2. Would have said no too. I don't think you were getting permission to say no but really just checking that you were not off base - out of touch. Sometimes it helps to get input - I figure I enjoy the fb polling etc and the.n go with my gut. Just when I am the one saying x and every single other person says y then I may revise ; )

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  3. I totally hear you and all I can say is "Been there, done that" - Dr Phil is always saying the same thing - you are not your childs best friend - you are their parent - act like it. You are supposed to make the hard decisions - that is part of your job.
    If figure, if it's good enough for Dr Phil, it's good enough for me !!!!!
    I will say that your children will appreciate the decisions you make - not now, but later in life. It was only after we had K that I really really understood what my folks were getting at when I was growing up - and I told them that - it made for lots of discussions !!!!
    Have the best day !
    Me xox

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  4. I absolutely would have given him the same answer. 13 is still very young and you're absolutely right about being the parent - it's your job to say no. You role is to set boundaries and to make experienced choices on their behalf at times because they don't have that life wisdom or sense of safety. Boys particularly like to be reckless and need perspective.
    I don't think it's a bad thing to gather opinions either but it's always good to trust yourself and your decision making too.

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  5. I would absolutely have said no too! And probably felt just as mean as you, although just quietly I'd also have been judging my child's friends' parents for saying yes!

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  6. Absolutely freaking NOOOOO!!! My nineteen year old son did it and you should have seen the turn I put on! He survived but I almost didn't. Tell him to wait until he's at least eighteen Lydia.

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  7. Having just had a rather hard conversation with my eleven year old, and ending it feeling like the meanest mum in the world, I hear you. Even when you know they're going to hate you at some moment, it doesn't make you feel any better. :(

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  8. Oh I am not looking forward to having two teenage girls. It is hard enough now to be the 'No' person all the time now.

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  9. Mr 5 is in a stage where I am the meanest person in the entire world and I can relate to how you are feeling (although thankfully he hasn't asked about sky diving!) His latest reason for hating me is that I didn't let him walk across the 4 lane road without looking first!

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  10. Oh I hear you. I'm always asking for a second opinion on decisions I make and using that evidence to make me feel better or support my argument. My husband always tells me I am the parent and not a friend. I hate to think they would ever not like me. I really feel for you with this one. Sending hugs!

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  11. I often get a consensus on things. It helps and it's your village helping you do what you know is the right thing, even though it's the tough thing.

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  12. I'm petrified of the day my response is not gospel to my son :( I would have said no with you and also think getting a consensus from your peers is fair :)

    Hello from #teamIBOT

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  13. It's a tricky one, but I would only let them do a tandem with someone who has 1000 jumps or so under their belt, I actually posted a photo of my blog post today of me skydiving. MEMORIES... like a blah blah xx

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  14. I think the issue is that we want to balance our desire to provide everything for our children and make them happy, with the reality of parenting. We are already experiencing these sort of issues with our seven year old. Ah, the joy of autism. Best of luck getting over your guilt, xS.

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  15. Understandable. I'd say the same thing at 18! I wonder what experienced-jumper parents say to their own kids and what age they'd allow it. Every day this gig brings us its challenges to keep us on our toes.

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  17. I'd say no to my 30 year old son skydiving if he let me have a say!!! OMG! Gives me chills just thinking about it. I hated my mum in my teens, and couldn't imagine life without her now - hope I don't have to for a very very long time! He will get over it. x

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  18. In my mind, NO was the only thing you could have said Lydia! As hard as it is to realize they're going to hate us sometimes, we do have to be the responsible ones.
    Love Denis Leary for a lot of his stuff. x

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  19. Good Lord I am going to have asshole stuck in my head all day!!
    Denis is a legend and I would love to get my hands on a copy of his book.
    I would say no too. Once you turn 18 go forth and skydive!!
    Parenting is about the hardest thing ever and the easiest thing to stuff up. I am loving it though, the good and the bad.

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  20. Oh tough one lovely though I must say if I had the money and Lovely wanted to do it I would probably say yes. Tandem skydiving is an amazing experience. I don't think I could agree to her doing it solo as that is a whole different kettle of fish.

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