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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Friday, June 30, 2006

Parenting Isn't For Cowards

Yesterday, the t.v. was on to the Dr. Phil show. We don't usually watch t.v. in the afternoons, but it was on while I was on the computer and Charlie came in to the family room and laid down on the couch. I told him to feel free to change the channel, but he got into the program. Probably because it was about a kid his age, who was addicted to drugs and his parents were sending him away to a drug rehab.
Doors... It opened a door for Charlie and I to talk about what was going on. Not so much the drugs, because believe me, that's been discussed since they were babies. But about the child/parent relationship. The boys mother was crying and her heart was breaking as Dr. Phil went into her home and discussed with her that continuing to cut this child slack was not helping him. Charlie said that if that happened here, if he were on drugs, that I'd throw him out of the house. Sort of took me by surprise, but I understood why he said that. We have always had a rather 'no tolerance' policy here. Usually one warning and then consequences. I'm not a bluffer, never have been. If I say it, I mean it. However, I told him that I'd always try to help him first, whether it was rehab, counseling, prayer, whatever it took. If he continued and refused help, then yes, he'd have to leave.

I know that sounds cold. I wonder, though, if other kids had had that thought in the back of their heads, if perhaps they'd hesitated from doing the things they did that were their downfall? When I was growing up, I started doing drugs and drinking at 13 years old. No one noticed. Ever. I don't know how they didn't, because I can actually remember not be able to walk straight in front of my parents. But, my mom had her own addictions and my dad was either on his way in or out most of the time, so whether it was noticed or not, I don't know. But since I didn't have to answer for my behavior, soon I was out of control. My grades barely got me into a good university, and once there I flunked out my first year. I was taking an aquatic arts class and went in tripping on some acid, jumped in the pool and completely forgot how to swim. The whole year went by like that. But, somehow I had enough sense to keep going back. By the time I got my life straightened out, I maintained a 4.0 average. But, I wasted years. So, yes, perhaps I do tend to come down a bit harder on my kids than some parents.

Charlie and I discussed what he thought was 'over the top' behavior from me as a parent. Such as the times ( and yes, there are too many times to count) that I would go through a day of sitting in each of his classes with him to be sure that his behavior was acceptable, after receiving a second notice from a teacher that he was not behaving. First notice, I'd ask him to correct it. Second notice, I'll take care of it. Or, the year (7th grade) when he got his second detention for being late to classes. His teachers would say he was too sociable in the halls. That would be classic Charlie. So, for a few days I'd wait outside each of his classes and walk behind him to his next class. I know, embarrassing, but it worked. Make no mistake, it was embarrassing for me as well. I'd have to take the day off from work, explain and ask permission from the shcool as well as the teachers. That wasn't easy for me.
Actually, last year was the first year that I didn't have to take any matters into my own hands, and his best grades, come to think of it.
I know it sounds like I'm overbearing. However, every single friend that he was getting in trouble with those years are now at the alternative school. I know this, because it's one of my favorite places to sub at. I know each of these kids personally, have since the first grade for most of them, had them spending the nights at my house and I love them. They're not bad kids, they simply didn't have anyone who held them accountable for their actions. There came a time, actually many times, when a child would be in constant trouble, and I would have to tell them when they came over that Charlie could no longer hang out with them until their behavior improved. For some, it did...for some, it didn't. I thank God that Charlie is no longer friends with some of these kids. One nearly died from a knife fight. One will be away for awhile after bringing pot into the high school and punching a cop in the face when he tried to detain him in the hall. So, please don't tell me that I'm an overbearing parent.

After Charlie and I recapped a lot of this, I asked him if he wished I'd been more like his friends moms. He hesitated longer than I'd have liked, little snot. :) But he said that at the time, he'd wished I had been because I'd embarrassed him a lot. But now, looking back...no. Smart kid.


Blogger samuru999 said...

Wonderful sharing story.
We as parents try our best "to be
there for our kids... when they need us most" You have proven
that. It is not an easy role "to always be there" But, the rewards are so very fulfilling.
I am blessed to have a son that has caused me no concern yet.
Only one more year to go.
You are a great mom!
You should be so very proud!!!

8:05 AM  
Blogger Johnnie Avocado said...

Kathi, you obviously know what is best for your family. You were trouble as a youngster!!:) Thanks for sharing...

8:13 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

samuru999 ~ yup, my oldest, Casey, is 18 months older than Charlie, and has never brought home a note of any kind but praise. Raised the same and different as day and night. Both amazing kids. :)
I am pretty proud of them, thanks.

johnnie ~ I hope I do, I try. Me, trouble...lol, have we not met?? Uh...yeah. Your welcome darlin.

8:36 AM  
Blogger bbsgirl said...

Most parents out there today are truely clueless as to what it really takes to being a good parent. Giving in and letting kids have their own way deffinately is not the way to go. My heart breaks when I see wee little kids not being disciplined and corrected. Teaching them very young that you we as a parent are in control is not a bad thing. Charlie seems to be grounded and knows he'll have to answer to you and that also seems to be a great thing. I had to do the best I could as a single mom for most of my kids lives. There were times I didn't do the best I could and I know that, but I'm glad that both my children turned out pretty damn good. I know my son got into some troubles with the law, but the respect they both have for me is rewarding. They know that because I wouldn't allow them to hang out with some kids isn't because I was mean, but rather that I cared about them that much. Both my kids are like day and night and yes just like you raised them the same. It's nice to know they have different personalities.

Good post..thanks for sharing.

8:48 AM  
Blogger ~ Amanda X&O said...

Good kids come from good parents. You my dear, are obviously a good parent.

9:40 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Your saving their life Kathi. You are NOT overbearing. In fact, I wish that my parents would have been a little more strict with certain things in my life in the past---but that's the past... but it has affected some areas in my life---but now I hold myself accountable, nobody else.

Thanks for sharing this story. Your sons are lucky to have you for a mom!

Just love you! xxoo

9:48 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Although there are exceptions to the rules I think the biggest problem with "problem" chidren is a lack of responsibility and accountability. This is a parenting problem in most cases.

Good post kathi.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I also think there may very well be a "6 and 10" rule violation here somewhere.


9:58 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

bbs ~ I know you had to have been a great mom, you're still a great mom...and grandma. :)

amanda ~ too kind, thanks. Accidents happen...lol.

deb ~ that's kind of the way I look at it while I'm doing the unpopular things...
Thanks, love you back.

mike ~ thanks... OH, and now you're just being cruel!!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Katy said...

You have always had the perfect balance of love and decipline. I think the other huge part of your success is that you and Mark are always on the same page with both Casy and Charlie. If you were not sure you seemed to always take the time to make a decision together. If you didn't always agree with each other you still backed the other up on their decisions.
So far the consequences for bad behavior and swift follow thru of those consequences, has worked well for us. When you start early they know where the boundries are and they usually decide pretty early on that I can't go there and they usually respect the rules. Without that follow thru on consequences the boundry walls fall, along with your creditability for future events.
As they get older the boundries become broader but the consequences become more severe. When they know where they stand with their parents there is not alot of wasted time begging to do this or that or arguing and screaming back and forth. There is lots of time for love and effection, Charlie and Casy feel safe talking to you because you have given them the love that must come with the disipline. They feel safe.

10:12 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

katy ~ I hope you're happy, you just made me cry. Took you about about 8 years to do it, but you did. Stop being nice, I don't recognize you.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Katy said...

No way- I thought you would think I was blabbering on and on like my son thinks I do.
I will find out as soon as Aug. 18th if the things that I have been drilling into his head for 18 years will make a difference, he goes away to college to try out his adult wings. I am proud, scared to death, sad and happy all at the same time.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

This post was sad to me..my parents didnt do much tough love. For me it worked out okay..but my brother...not so much. I wish that they would have had less tolerance with him because now at 29 he still hasnt learned about consequences.

I think you are an amazing mom..and you can tell by how Charlie talks to you.

10:57 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

katy ~ well, I've got to agree with Andrew, most of the time you do blabber on and on... :) KIDDING! Love you!!

anne ~ I honestly think it's different with boys...then again, have you ever read my 'Our Girl' posts...she wasn't ever held accountable either, and didn't work out so good. But I'm sorry I made you sad, the last thing I'd want to do.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I know how alternative school is, I went there for my junior year, for....lets just not say for what, but for something very stupid and I know I shouldnt have done it, but like you said my parents should have been harder on me then they were. I mean I love them and yes there would be times that I didnt want to listen, you know how that is. I learned the hard way, but I did successfully complete High School and one day will go to college. Kathi you did a great job on raising you kids, they are smart, intelligent, bright and have a further ahead of them. Tell Charlie and Casey to keep their head up and finish school and college and get a degree, so they arent stuck like me working my butt off everyday just to live life one day at a time. Its hard, but I know they can do it!!!!


11:42 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

one of the hardest things to believe is that kids LIKE boundaries. they just have to know you won't let them push them AND that you'll love them anyway

sounds like you've walked that line really well.

11:56 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Drawing away from the subject matter just to make a wiseass comment here.........but Mike's picture------isn't it almost obscene?

I don't know. Maybe it's just me. I find myself drawn to it.

Probably stems from my parents being so lenient with me. Ugh. I have to blame it on someone!

5:29 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

abi ~ hey, I deserve some credit for raising your sweet butt, girl...all the good credit. :) You turned out beautiful inside and out, whatever they did.

sass ~ sorry, but telling me I walked any kind of line nearly made me lose my tea. LOL

deb ~ like abi, whatever your parents did have resulted in a beautiful person that I'm crazy about.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Why can't I call you an overbearing parent if that's what you are?

6:24 PM  
Blogger sodijety said...

Hi, I have been blogging for a while, but never take the time to lurk around. And I just did so today. Well, this theme I have dreaded for a while. My oldest is 10 and we don't talk about it much. Specially since we left their father, years ago, precisely for a drug problem. So maybe I needed some kind of eye opener, and start discussing it. Specially since it has been almost proven it might be genetic.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Casually Me said...

The apple did not even fall from the tree dear. Smart kid, agreed. Great mom, of course. Is there a chance I could clone you? My kid needs someone like you. Ok, she does not have to be as good as you. My bar has lowered over the years. Do you have any evil step sisters? A crazy cousin? An alcoholic friend? A drug addicted chum? LOL. Honestly, you have some lucky kids.

9:28 PM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

Kathi, my mom tried to do a few of those things at my brother's school, but they wouldn't let her!

9:46 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

shawn ~ because I asked you not to, fairly politely, I might add. Please don't make me ask you again. :) (Did that work for you? LOL)

swj ~ first, wow, that's some name. Genetic? Let's see...my mom's dad was an alcoholic, as was my mom and 3 of her siblings. My dads dad was an alcoholic. I was addicted to speed for 13 years...13. I have a very addictive personality and have learned how to help myself through many, many painful lessons. I beg you to talk about it with your child. Chances are someone already has or will soon, and they won't have your childs best interest at heart like you do. If I can help you in any way, please feel free to email me. Thanks so much for stopping by.

tom ~ well, thank God. I have missed you like you wouldn't believe. Cloning is definitely a possibility.

crystal ~ by law, they have to allow you to observe your child. Since I've always subbed, they know me anyway, so that helped.

10:15 PM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

They told her she couldn't, maybe MO laws are different???

10:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

It would seem that we parent very much alike also :-)

Boys ARE different. Not better, not worse. Just different. Stick to your guns. It stinks when your going through it, but when they grow up a bit and tell you thank you, it's all worth while. It's kind of like when they were born, only this time your trying to give birth to a man. LOL

12:07 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

What a great post!
I completely agree with you. My mother had her own addictions also and didn't pay any attention to what we were doing.
I didn't get into any trouble, mainly because I didn't want to be anything like her. But my sister has been in all sorts of trouble and still trying to get out.

8:22 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

crystal ~ got your e, too. I find that really hard to believe, I think she should check into her rights...how sad is that???

lisa ~ my 16 (17 this month...wow) year old is more responsible and thinks things through more than I do. He sort of parents Charlie and I during the summer, lol. I'm very grateful for him.

leesa ~ if I hadn't taken the road I did 22 years ago, I'd still be like my mom, I have no doubt.
Thanks for the kind words.

1:31 PM  
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3:03 AM  
Anonymous abicali said...

Wow ! just came across your blog and read your post-loved it. resonated loudly within me.
my father was very strict and i had lots of arguements during my teenage years. i remember thinking as a teenager how much i hated him and how he was making my life miserable-and now? i can't thank god enough that he was that way-he knew, that my personality was weak-that i wouldn't be strong enough to deal with certain situations/certain 'friends'-he protected me from myself!!
when i left the nest, the freedom to make my own mistakes was great, its one of the best ways to learn. but there is not a day that goes by that i don't appreciate how much his strength, integrity and moral values have helped me in making some tough choices.

lets hear it for the parents who actually act like"parents" and not friends . its not an easy job, but your kids need your love and discipline . Keep up the good work. !!

11:42 AM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

Kathi, she's workin' on it. They are in 'Hillbillyville' though, so it takes a little while to get the ball rolling on things.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Heart Of Darkness said...

I believe parenting must be the hardest and toughest job in the world - but also the most rewarding (if done right).

Hang in there - you're doing a good job!

9:20 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Kathi, you amaze me. I know I'm a fairly new reader, but you pour your heart out and into this blog. One can "see" how you have struggled, and "see" the beautiful person you ARE NOW because of it.
My girls, like your boys, are like night and day. The oldest partied most of her college time, but still managed to graduate and has landed a great job. The youngest will be in her Junior year, and is sensible, and doesn't drink at all. She's just lazy lol. Somehow she manages to hold her GPA abvove 3.5.
The more I read your blog, the more I love and rspect you. Way to go, Lady!!
Big hugz for ya.

10:09 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

abicali ~ thanks so much!!Appreciate you stopping by.

crystal ~ that's good news. :)

heart ~ thank you, I really do think so too, especially lately.

dabich ~ I'm printing this comment off and framing it for when I'm down on myself. Thank you...truly.

11:21 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Awww...shucks :dirt kick:

12:43 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

I saw that show too, I think its good that kids get a chance to see that.

You sound like you have it under control...no wonder he's a smart kid.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Miranda said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Happy 4th

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad Charlie appreciates what you have done to show him the right way.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Happy 4th m'dear....hope it was loverly. ;-D

11:25 PM  
Blogger Clay said...

very good story ... sometimes it takes just a little time to appreicate mom even when she is right. Great story!

1:29 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Wonderful story - and smart kid! Smart Mom too!

9:41 AM  

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