metaphortunate: (Default)
From [personal profile] oursin:
When you see this, make a post in your journal or in a community. It can be anything: a crosspost something you've posted on Tumblr, a few words about the last thing you read/watched, or just a "Hi, how is everyone?" Then go read your f-list and leave at least one comment.
On the theme of parents helping one socialize with other kids, I just remembered that I do recall one example of my mother helping me do that. I may have posted this before. I was at the pool with my cousin one time, I was maybe in my tweens, just starting to grow leg hair, and my (male) cousin pointed at my legs and said "Why don't you shave your legs?"

Well, I didn't know. Should I be shaving my legs? Later that day I asked my mom, "Hey, why don't I shave my legs?"
"What? Why?"
"Cousin --- asked me."
"Tell him to go shave his ass."

And I did! It worked great, too!
metaphortunate: (Default)
Question for those of you who were once children:

Did your parents or other appropriate caregivers, if any, give you any guidance on wading into the shark-infested waters of childhood socializing?

I can remember about 30 bajillion instances of my parents, mostly my long-suffering mother, hissing at me to say hello to the adults of the house when we showed up, thank you when we got food, goodbye when we left, excuse me when I ran right in front of their feet as kids do, sorry for spilling things all over the carpet, etc. x infinity; but I can't remember them talking much about how to be with other kids. Maybe I have a faint memory of being told to say "Thank you" for presents at a birthday party? When getting into my teens I definitely remember being told not to let anyone pressure me into anything, which was good advice. That's about it.

And it's not because I was the suave little kid who didn't need any help. I was the kind of insufferable fat bespectacled nerdlette who would show up at your party toting a book called Facts About Whales. Seriously, that was my favorite book and for ages I carried it everywhere. Because I have always been committed to popularity. I am 40 years old and when I go home my parents' friends still laugh at me because I was the dork who always showed up at their house carrying some sort of nerdtacular book. And then would sit in the corner reading it while other kids played around me. And if my parents had somehow prevented me from bringing a book, I would FIND a book at the house we were at and read it while other kids played around me.

And yet, I don't remember my parents ever bugging me about it much. Maybe because reading was Officially Educational and they never stopped me doing anything Officially Educational? Maybe because, to do justice to my tiny nerdly social acumen, I had already worked out that nobody wanted to hear about any Facts About Whales, so at least it kept me quiet? I don't know, but I do know that they were totally right not to bug me: I made friends when I found people I actually liked, and I'm doing fine now. So, huh.

But I have no idea what I'll do if & when my kids struggle.
metaphortunate: (Default)
They always let me go.

My house, growing up, it was not a house of happiness. That's probably overstating the case? I guess? I know so many people now who grew up in abuse, and we were not abused, seriously we were cherished and taken care of in every way, so I don't want to complain too much. But the truth is: it was not a happy house. No one was happy living in it. And I was always looking for a way out. Oh, we had friends over sometimes, but mostly I was angling for an invitation. I was trying to get a ride, I was trying for a sleepover, I was trying to leave the state.

And my parents let me go.

They let me spend all day swimming at D's house, all summer, every summer. They let me go on a weird overnight campout thing that turned out to be at a Christian camp. They let me go on a hundred million sleepovers. They let me go to France for a month. They let me go to Six Flags Houston with my best friend when I was just little. They let me go to Washington D.C. on a school trip, they let me go to Georgia for six weeks with my cousin to stay with her cousins on the other side of the family that I'd never even met. They let me go to upstate New York. They let me go to Chicago for college. They let me go over to my friends' houses after school, on the weekends, every weekend, in high school, spending the night, theoretically I wasn't allowed to go out to Rocky Horror or whatever we did at 2 am but they must have known that when I wasn't home they really didn't have any idea where the hell I was.

They must have been so goddamn brave.

What are you afraid of, I would ask, exasperated. Because they didn't want to let me do any of these things. Where they come from, girls don't wander around the world by themselves. It's totally normal to live with your parents until you get married. They never wanted to let me do any of these things. WHAT?! What are you afraid of?! NOTHING, I would patiently explain at the age of eight or eighteen, nothing is going to happen to me! I'll be fine! And they were too scared to even tell me explicitly what they were afraid would happen to me.

I know now, of course. Rape. Murder. Child abuse. Molestation. Carjacking. Mugging. Brushfire. Drowning. Flash flood. Peer pressure. Alcohol poisoning. Meningitis. Tetanus. Drunk driving, car crash, drugs, teenage pregnancy, religious indoctrination, kidnapping, AIDS. Kidney theft. Bullying. Arrest. Falling in with the wrong crowd.

None of that ever happened to me, barring the bare minimum of inevitable sexual groping and harassment that you (female) cannot avoid collecting as you go through life no matter what you do. And, I guess, depending on your point of view, a certain amount of falling in with the wrong crowd. Some of them were actually the very right crowd. Some of them weren't and I learned some valuable lessons that way. What actually did happen to me were awesome things. I have so many good memories of the places I went, too many good stories to tell in one post. I love all of the places I went, even if I was always going away, not really knowing or caring where I was going to.

And if anything bad had happened to me, I know my parents would have taken the blame. They would have been blamed and they would have blamed themselves. So let me give them the credit for everything that went right. That's only fair. They always let me go. I'm very grateful.
metaphortunate: (Default)
I complain about my folks a lot. I should note also that I think there were a lot of things they did right. I think in fact that they were much better at being parents to children than they are at being parents to adults, a fact that gives me pause as I think about the Junebug growing up. It turns out you have to keep being good at this stuff. :/

Anyway, I wanted to spend some time thinking about things I think they did right. Because I want to do those things myself, when the time comes.

In no particular order. For no particular reason, this is one that occurred to me today.

My mom and I got into many, many furious conflicts of "You WILL [wear this/clean this/go here/say this/do this]!" - "NO I WON'T!", as children or teenagers and their parents do. And she would get very angry. But often - I remember this clearly - as we reached our impasse, she would stare at me for a while, and eventually from looking angry her face would shift into a more ambiguous, possibly almost slightly pleased or satisfied expression. And she would say, "Well I just hope that you are as stubborn when other people try to pressure you into doing things, that's all!"

And, you know, I was. And really I think that it was partly due to her explicitly drawing that connection for me, that if I didn't let her talk me into things, why should I let anyone else talk me into things? I know I was less likely to be talked into things than other kids I knew. I remember a number of occasions when I stubbornly resisted doing things that I really didn't think I should, even though it inconvenienced or irritated my friends - including things like accepting a ride from someone who had been drinking - and somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought, yeah, this is what stubbornness is for.


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