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Friday, August 13, 2010

The Prodigal teenager (daughter) returns

You know the biblical story of the prodigal son, who after demanding his inheritance early, left the family home and squandered it away on anything and everything as long as it was fun and frivolous. Well the prodigal teenage daughter returned but just for two weeks. She took off to Melbourne in search of a better life???? Maybe she was just looking for a life with less parental restrictions, a life full of fun and friends and parties and bands. I don’t believe that her life is necessarily better when she struggles to eke out an existence. It was her choice to move away with little means of support. We could have chased after her, given her money and kept looking after her but we didn’t. At nearly 20 years old we felt that it was up to her to make her own choices and take the consequences for those choices.

It’s called tough love. I am not sure who it is toughest on the parent or the teenager. We hugged and we cried as I explained to her how much it hurt to have to watch her struggle to make ends meet, eking out an existence on very limited resources but all due to the choices that she has made in life. She could be living in a comfortable home but was not prepared to take the responsibilities and house rules that came with that option.

The difference between the prodigal son in the bible story and our own prodigal daughter is that the prodigal son in the bible story learnt a valuable life lesson and was prepared to make amends for his life choices. The prodigal daughter is yet to learn these lessons and continues to make poor life choices and suffer for them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Parenting!!! It’s a matter of perspective.

I finished off a very busy week at work last week with an opportunity to have some time out doing something I like, visiting a local craft show, with one of my very dear friends, Tricia.

Tricia has been one of my role models of the perfect parent. Someone who is always there for her kids with lots of love with firm but fair discipline. Her home is always spotless and tidy and she always serves up nutritious home cooked meals to the family. She and her husband along with the kids and help of a builder friend to advise them even built their own deck extension. I first met Tricia when she became my eldest daughter’s family day care mum after I went back to work fulltime. With a young baby of her own, Tricia took on the added responsibility of looking after someone else’s child. Kimberley was a challenging child who at 5pm every day screamed – because she could. Eventually after a couple of family day care mums and a child care centre and the birth of my second child it was time to resign from work and be an at home mum for a while. I too became a family day care mum but unlike Tricia, I only lasted 8 months in the role as I found it exhausting. Tricia on the other hand stayed in the role for at least another 10 years or more.

Following a great evening of looking at and buying craft, Tricia and I were having a chat over a coffee. Imagine my surprise when Tricia announced that I, along with another mum who also works full time, were in fact people whom she admired. It’s a matter of perspective.