Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

hmmmm manipulating mothers?

Chamille heard in a round about way that her runaway friend has decided that she's going to try being really nice to her mom so that she can get her life back.

We were talking about that. Both of us wondered why she doesn't try being honest with her mother. Chamille said that it wasn't going to change anything, that she wouldn't get her life back, and she still wouldn't be able to see her, even IF her mom let her come back home from the "bad kid" reform ranch/school. The lack of honest communication is part of what caused all this stuff in the first place.

If a mom's thoughts and ideas are bigger and better than her child's, and she's adamant about them and loud about them, and possibly annoying about them, the child, like the one in this story, might just tune mom out and nod in agreement to get her to just STOP talking already! That poor mom. I have sympathy for her, really. She really believed that her daughter agreed with everything she said, she really felt like she had wonderful heart to heart conversations with her daughter and that they were in wonderful harmonious agreement. What a shock to find out that her child ran away from her wonderful home full of harmony and agreement.

So, now the daughter is STILL not wanting to communicate with her mother honestly, she wants her life back, her friends back, and what little bit of freedom she had before she was put in lockdown at the reform ranch place. I get it though. If the relationship is set up in such a way where one person's ideas always trump the other, the one being trumped will find other ways to get what she wants in life. That person will sneak and lie and hide. For a mom who is so sure that she is doing right for her daughter, that idea will be a hard one to swallow, but it happens ALL the time.

Chamille isn't holding her breath. She asked me why it seems that we are the only ones who seem to see that what they are doing isn't going to work. This girl's other friends are all in favor of her playing nice to get her life back. Chamille is, and always has been, 100% about honesty, even if it's painful or uncomfortable. She wonders why her friend doesn't just talk to her mom honestly and tell her exactly how she feels and what she wants, at this point, what would she have to lose?

How much could a kid lose? At what point is it too much? Why didn't she tell her mom how she felt in the first place? Her mom isn't a bad person really, lacking in parenting tools perhaps, but not a terrible parent like some other parents we know. It seems to me that open honest communication would help both the mother and the daughter. It would be a long hard road, but they could repair all the damage that has been done. If the mother waits too long, her child's childhood will be gone and I doubt very much that her daughter will forgive her any time soon. It's the nature of tearing down relationships through control and power dynamics. It's so hard to sit and watch it happen. It's hard seeing how torn my own daughter is over it, that I can only imagine how horrible it is for her friend, the one dealing directly with it.

I sent the mom an email a while back and told her she was one of the meanest people I'd ever met. A mutual acquaintance had suggested it was a shame that I said that, but it is truly how I felt. Her actions are ones of cruelty, stemming from pain, I get that, but does being in pain yourself ever excuse cruelty towards others? I guess, for me, I can't look at my actions and see that I'm hurting people and casually go about it anyway. That is the heart of self righteousness and a person can't truly heal from any kind of pain while being that way and behaving in ways that hurt others, especially if their actions are intentional. That doesn't even begin to dig into what this mother is doing to her very own daughter, that was just about her daughter's best friend. What she's doing to her own daughter is much much worse and could potentially destroy any chance she has of ever having a relationship with her. It's tragic that the one person this woman cares about, her whole world, is her daughter, yet she's driving a big wedge in between them, so much so, that her daughter is looking to manipulate her instead of getting what she wants by being honest and forthright.

I'm so glad that my own daughter doesn't do that to me. She will openly tell anyone that she likes me and respects me. She will openly tell me anything because I won't judge her. She's free to live her life the way she'd like to live it and I'm here to bounce ideas on and offer support and a little bit of guidance here and there. The only reason I'm able to do that is because I don't attempt to control her. I wish more parents could see that. In order to have any kind of influence on your kids is to NOT control them, in order to NOT control them, you need to trust, trust them to make good choices and trust them to come to you when they don't make good choices and need help.

Life need not be so black and white, right and wrong. Kids are people, real humans with real thoughts and real ideas and here's a news flash... sometimes they just know better than us parents about what's good and right for themselves, even if they make choices that we don't like! You really can be okay with it, really!


Olivia said...

I found this post from a different unschooling blog I read. Anyway I felt compelled to comment. I just finished a book called 'Comeback' by Claire and Mia Fontaine. The friend and the mother should read this book. It completely relates with things they are going through. It's written by a mother and daughter who have gone through very hard times and come out on the other side. Both mother and daughter need to be willing to grow to find their way to a healthy relationship. Great post!

Jenny Cyphers said...

Oh, thanks for the book suggestion! I'm going to read it! I probably won't be able to get the mom in my story to read it. She's excommunicated us from their lives. It's sad but true, but I could potentially send it to her anonymously in the mail.