A while back I was reading a post on one of the blogs I follow (I Was Just Thinking…) and about midway through this caught my attention:
“Here’s the thing, my loves. I don’t believe in an abstinence only approach. I also don’t believe that every child should be given condoms at a certain age. I believe that if you are raising a child, you should absolutely do your best to instill your values into them (unless your values are really messed up, in which case you shouldn’t be raising a child and God help them).
But. Your children are going to grow up, and they’re probably going to do some things you don’t agree with.”
The post is no longer there, but when it was it reminded me of a conversation I had with an old friend years ago about one of her friends, revolving around how overbearing and restrictive her parents were towards her, even at the age of twenty-one. Some of the shit she told me was, while not deranged or abusive, absolutely shocking to someone like me. My situation and experiences aside… I still couldn’t figure out why this chick didn’t grow a fucking backbone.
The way I look at it, kids eventually need to come into their own. They grow wings and fly through life eventually and trying to clip their wings, keeping them from a) being themselves and b) living their own lives becomes futile, sooner or later. Or it should, because any kid worth a damn imho eventually ends up moving beyond the confines of parental control. Whether through rebelliously based growth or through more peaceable means, I think it’s important that a kid becomes his or her own person at some point.
I want to point out too, it wasn’t the parents behavior that grated my nerves. It was the girls obedience despite her desires and ambitions, in spite of what she wanted to do or where she wanted to go in life. Odd as it is to hear myself say, I think parents are more of a problem when they’re overly liberal than when they’re steadfast in keeping the kid under their thumb… But regardless, it’s the responsibility of the child to grow up and spread their wings, to tell mom & dad to go get fucked if need be, and to pass through the experiences of that process.
At the point in which a child wishes to become an adult, it is up to him or her to make it happen. It’s a rite of passage that has value to those who go through it that… I really can’t put into words. The rebellious behavior, and/or the independence, the arguments, disagreements, consequences, punishments, the conflict and even the heart to heart conversations… All of that and more is an important part of forging your own identity, defining who you are.
I got my wings pretty early on and even with all the opposition from my dad (and step mom) I look back on the years leading up to his out-of-state move as a cherished time of my life. I’m glad I did all the naughty shit I did, and I’m glad he didn’t make it easy for me. But as far as I know the girl my friend spoke of never got her wings. Her every day is lorded over by parents she has yet to outgrow, by her own inability to make her own choices and face the consequences (good and bad), and maybe even by her established comfort zone.
A comfort zone of constricting but well-known obedience and submission, to someone elses dream(s) and wants for her. She remained there, might still be there. She never got her wings.
To me, that’s sad.
(Originally Posted Here on March 22nd, 2013)