Geri-Antics: The Ramblings of a Crazy Old Broad
It happens gradually and without fanfare. At first, you just hear echoes of your parent’s words, but then you realize they’re coming from your own lips.
This usually happens sometime after you have kids.
Remember all the times your parents chastised or punished you and you said to yourself, “When I have children, I will never say or do this to them.” And then one day, your child pushes just the right button and out pops the very thing you swore you’d never perpetrate on them.
This phenomenon will happen more and more frequently as the years pass. When your children reach adolescence, you begin to get a glimpse of the reasons your parents acted as they did. They were attempting to make you their best collaborative effort, a worthy contribution to the world.
By the time your children reach their teens, you may reach back even further in your ancestry and resort to some of your grandparent’s arsenal of threats and consequences — but they will likely fall upon deaf ears.
Your child will call you archaic and tell you, “That’s no longer how things are done.” You become what you’ve always dreaded and an antique version of your former self. You have become your parents.
The worst mistake a parent can make, in my estimation, is to befriend your child. I cringe when I hear a parent say, “My kid is my best friend.” My reaction is, “How sad for both of you.”
If you’re trying to dress like, act like, and socialize with your children, you’re letting them down. Whether they know it or not, they’re looking to you to set the example and lend the wisdom of your own successes and failures.
You’re also missing out on the opportunity to cultivate potential friends your own age, as well as new and exciting activities they might introduce to you.
A wise parent will have realized the wisdom of their own parent’s teachings and will strive mightily to pass them along to the next generation. Your child’s acceptance of this wisdom will be cyclic. When they are little, you’re their hero. You know everything. They look at you with complete and innocent adoration.
During their adolescence and teens, it’s as though someone has bored into your brain and siphoned every ounce of knowledge, so far as your know-it-all sons and daughters can see. They are all-knowing and you, dear parent, are a complete moron.
Do not despair…the time will come when once again, you are thrust back upon your pedestal. Your adult child will come to you for advice. They will implore you to impart any shred of wisdom to help them survive their stint as parent. They will quote you. They will become you.
The torch will have been passed and they will begin to echo the litany of all those who have gone before them. It’s a right of passage, when the student becomes the teacher. You’ve done something exactly right.
Anne Carmichael is a lifestyle columnist for the Jessamine Journal who contributes her Geri-Antics: The Ramblings of a Crazy Old Broad column monthly.