Just Peace

“The truth is that parents aren’t interested in justice. They just want quiet.” Bill Cosby

Spot on, Jell-O-pudding man! I don’t want it quiet all the time, but I cannot understand why my kids absolutely MUST have the last word. AND they continue to entertain the delusion that somehow they have some say in the making of the rules around this joint.

They really NEED to be quiet.

I envy people who are at the stage of parenting in the grey zone, using the words, “maybe,” or “we’ll see.” That doesn’t happen here. The force is strong in the fruit of my loins, and I use every ounce of impulse control that I can muster NOT to hyper-verbalize some convoluted explanation as to why NO is non-negotiable.

I actually AM interested in justice. Not fairness, but justice.

When I was growing up, my father would frequently say, “This is not a democracy. THIS is a benevolent dictatorship,” when I complained about whatnot or whatever. Just thinking about it takes me back 30 years and I feel like stomping on something the way I used to stomp on every stair for emphasis of my pissed-off-ness after being denied something by those words.

Even though I truly feel this stompy flashback as if it happened yesterday, I have come to understand why he chose a kinder expression of his philosophy, instead of throwing out the wretched, “No,” or “Because I said so.”

Many people I know are just having their first baby. My first reaction to this baby boom in the forty-something set was gratitude. I was grateful that it wasn’t me having to go through the exhausting and life altering process of growing, birthing and agonizing over an infant. Too much work.

Now I’m jealous. My relationship with my babies was simple. My relationship with my children is complex and getting more so with each passing day. They want fairness. I want justice. They are learning the difference as I am getting very adept at minimizing their ability to suck me into the vortex of MAYBE.

I was not a MAYBE sort of kid. When my father told me that I was not allowed to go on dates with boys who drove until I was 16, I replied with this; “Would you rather know where I am or have me lie, and get picked up somewhere else? Can we compromise?”

My father imposed justice at that point. His headstrong and horny daughter was being honest. His decision to let me date the hormonal jocks on wheels was truly justice in the sense that for us to have a harmonious and sincere relationship as I was becoming an adult, he had to let me practice for my future role as the dictator of my own life.

The concept of parenting in a just manner is swell for those parents whose caterpillars are in the process of busting out of their chrysalis, but I find it difficult to do with my larvae. Parenting with justice means doing what is right but also with some level of equality.

THAT is not gonna happen around here until I’m my larva start spinning their cocoons. Until then, in the spirit of justice, they will get what they deserve; a parent who loves them enough to benevolently dictate the terms.

If pouting in response to this perceived injustice is the result, at least I get some peace and quiet.

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  • You are an excellent writer, you put in writing all the thoughts that are just a jumbled mess in my brain. Of course my brain is a mess from the years of parenting bad mouth kids, even now at 24 and 20 I wonder sometimes how they survived!

  • Just trying to figure shit out is hard all by itself. Whether you write or try to talk to others to keep sane, whatever, parenting is hard.

    I am trying to keep strong and I do not give in to the popularity of "what everyone else it doing". My kids are not on FB and will not be any time soon. My son is not allowed to "officially" date until he's 16 and then we'll revisit that again (7 mos away).

    I know people whose kids are in jail, gotten pregnant, been arrested, kicked off the sports team for FB crap, you name it. Associated with the wrong kids, wrong place at the wrong time, facebook bullshit, texting bullshit, boy/girl bullshit... no means no and I am not a parent to win a freakin' popularity contest. I go with what is on my heart and in my gut. If I don't feel right about what my kids ask to do, then the answer is NO! They might hate me now, but maybe someone might not end up arrested, or in jail, or pregnant...

  • Justice. Fairness. Tough Love. Whatever you call it, kids need boundaries and you need to establish a quiet zone. And you're right. Take it a day at a time. It does get better (and really quiet once they're out of the house). Thanks for the laugh. As ever, you are a great read!

  • "This is NOT a negotiation Son. I'm the parent and YOU are the kid! YOU do as I say... And I swear child if you give me an ultimatum one more time... GRRRR" My 7 year old manipulating offspring hears this at least twice a week. lol

    He's a good kid, but the sneaky little devil finds a way to get what he wants. "Because I said so" is not a valid answer and "Maybe" is Actually a "Yes it will happen, but not just yet"

    Ya know the frustration of saying "Do not even ask me to go to (insert fun place) anymore or you'll not be seeing them for a month!" He typically waits a day or so when my mood changes and sweetly says "Hey Mom :) Do you think we can go to that place ya know .. that place that **he whispers** that I'm not supposed to talk about?:)" Little turd bucket gets his way cuz I'm bored and they're my friends too. Sigh.

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