If you’ve got a Facebook account, no doubt you have seen the rounds of the One Direction tickets listed on eBay by a cranky mother. If for some reason, you missed it, the story goes like this.
- Parents buy four One D tickets for their daughter and her friends for daughter’s birthday.
- Daughter suffers from self-righteous attitude and shoots off at the mouth.
- Daughter and friends lie to their mothers about a sleep over and stay at an older guys house.
- Daughter’s friends prank call the mum in an effort to stop her selling the tickets.
- Mother sells tickets on eBay, and posts a rather snarky description
- Post goes viral.
- The end.
Well that’s the abridged version. The actual product description was a lot harsher and even involved references to the conception methods of some of the girls, and their apparent lack of a father figure.
Now the general consensus on social media, was ‘good on ya mum!’ A valid point I say. It’s quite refreshing to see a parent follow through with a consequence, especially one as huge as this. And in that mum’s position, I would be doing exactly the same thing. It comes down to freedom and responsibility really. If the daughter can’t be trusted to be responsible with informing her parents of her whereabouts, she certainly doesn’t have the freedom to be going out without them. Particularly with friends who are obviously such stellar company.
The problem I have with the whole thing though, is the way it’s been done.
Now to be fair, I don’t have teens, so I’m yet to walk that rocky path, but one thing I have learnt about raising kids, is that relationship is always key. When little, you want your children to respect your authority, and your relationship is characterised by you leading and them following. As the child grows, you begin to lead more by your influence than by your authority. It’s a gradual handing over of responsibility, that sees the child learning to think more for themselves, and grow into an independent person. Guided, of course, by a loving hand that will seek to steer them away from the things that might harm them, to the things that will instead help them grow.
Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.
A worthwhile one though, most definitely.
So in light of all that, it remains our duty as parents, to protect and cherish our relationship with our kids. This does not mean that we become a door mat for their every whim or desire; in fact the opposite. A good relationship will always stretch you and encourage you to be more and better. But all of that relies on keeping the doors of communication open. If there’s no communication, there can be no relationship, and that’s where things fall apart.
I’m noticing now, just how important it is, for me to make time with my ten-year old so much more of a priority than it ever was before. At the brink of adolescence there is so much going on in her little mind and body and she needs someone to guide her through this. To help talk through the feelings and the confusion and see her develop into being the person she is meant to be. How I foster that relationship now, will have a pivotal role in her teenage years, I’m sure. How we navigate this craziness will set us up for how we get through the craziness to come.
So with that in mind, I can’t help but think, what would I have done in this mothers situation? How could I address it differently? And the truth is, honestly, I don’t know. Cause I’m not in her situation, and I hope I never will be. I don’t know what has been happening and what has made her snap that this is the line she has taken (and not talking about the sale of the tickets, but the description itself.) I do know though, that I will take this as a warning.
Build a strong relationship with your kids so that when the peer pressure comes, and the temptation is strong, and their head is full of all the drama in the world, their first point of reference is you. Just like a two-year old who cries for mum when they fall over, I am hopeful enough to believe that we can build into our tweens and teens a resilience that sees them seek our approval first. To come to us first.
And at the same time, let us build into our own selves, so that when they fail, which they will, and they get caught out, which they will, we can hand out the consequence with dignity and grace.