Parenting: What I’d Do Differently

On June 2, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. in the morning my daughter graduates from High School. That more or less ends my role as a parent of school aged children.

When I look back at things I’d do different 95% of it has to do with my reactions to situations we’ve encountered at school. Let me rephrase that in a more realistic way. When I was a parent I had no idea I’d have to deal with so many assholes who were dead set on doing the wrong thing for/with/around my children, and other kids who are in my life.

I raise my children not to be bully bait. We’re Vampires so self confidence and fitting in is always a first priority. That said, we’re not any different from any other parents and kids.

So let’s just go down the list.

Why do schools always do their best to protect bullies and brats? That includes children who are sexual predators. Sometimes (most of the time) sitting down and talking to the parents of these children does no good – because the parents are usually the root of the problem.

I’ve seen good teachers fired or driven out of schools by whack job parents and their horrible children. These are people who are constantly complaining, while their kids bully, act out, distract other children, and do horrible things to and around other children.

For example there was a child at our school who decided she wanted to be friends with my daughter. My daughter realized this was a mistake. So then the trouble started. This child would run screaming down the hall. She would take off her clothing in the bathroom and expose herself to other children. By third grade she was telling other children sexually explicit things about sex (like how Gay men perform anal sex.) She would tattle on kids who wouldn’t play with her. She would stalk other kids on the phone and online.

She would tell other children that she wanted to grow up and be in Playboy Magazine, and be a stripper. Since she was a pretty child she would use her big sad eyes and lie to the office staff. Her parents would threaten to sue the school, and they would lie. They lied about my husband agreeing our kids should play. They never talked to my husband. He went up to the school. It wasn’t pretty.

The only administrator who listened left the school for another job. It got worse. A fantastic teacher left the school. The problem child stayed at school. We complained and complained and complained. Nothing happened. We documented the problems. Nothing happened. We were told that the Devil Child wanted to be like my daughter and admired my daughter. What the fuck?

In Middle School the girl developed quickly but refused to wear a bra. It wasn’t as if her family could’t afford it. Some other girls put a bra in her backpack and were suspended. She braless girl screamed and yelled about it as if someone had left a severed head in her backpack.

Something was not right at home – obviously, but nothing was ever done about it. Nobody sent CPS to the home. The child demanded her own way and told other kids that if their parents threatened to sue the school, they too would get to do whatever they wanted to.

With the help of her father the girl learned more complex online stalking. Parents spoke to each other about it, and warned each other so we could all tell our children to ignore her. So they ignored her and she went away.

So much time and effort was spent on this child. Nobody knew who was being blackmailed in the front office. When the children got to High School the girl faded into the background. Nobody in the office would listen to the parents anymore. The girl and her father had physical fights in the parking lot. Then the girl vanished. Then she came back. Then she vanished for good.

Had I been able to do this all over I would have put my foot down harder for the school to do something.

There was also a P.E. teacher I would have had fired because she was horrible to any girl who didn’t act like a boy, or want to be friends with her bully daughter. Nobody liked her, yet she had so much power.

In high school I would have spoken up about the three bad teachers. Luckily there were only three bad teachers. One, a science teacher, had a drug problem. Kids smoked pot in her class and jumped out of windows. Mentally ill druggies should not be in charge of a classroom full of teenagers. The other was a math teacher who was an asshole but protected by the school administration despite parent complaints. Kids who were not allowed to transfer out got bad grades and ended up not getting into the colleges they applied for. The third was an English teacher who I wrote about a few years ago. She couldn’t see talent or desire to learn in children, including mine. She was a jerk. She rushed to judge kids. She was a turtle who hid her head in her shell. If I could go back I would have been up in the school, meeting with administrators in person, and being that parent that all school principals dread.

Other things I would have done include:

  • Learning how to roller skate so I could have skated with my kids.
  • Had a really nice aquarium.
  • Insisted my children learn to garden.
  • Written that best selling novel so my kids could have a parent they could brag about. On the other hand they do brag about us. We’re just not famous. There are advantages to not being famous.
  • Trained the dogs earlier.
  • Traveled more with them.

We’ve never had to deal with teenage angst. Our kids have never told us that they hate us. They always talk to us about everything.

If anyone ever asks me what I am the most proud of I would have to say it is the way I’ve raised my children. They were kids. They’re great young adults. They’ll do fine. They’ll do great. 

So I guess it doesn’t matter about the jerks and assholes. Now they know how to deal with those kinds of people. It is a lesson learned. 

For those who are new here I’ll tell you again how I approach parenting. This is from 2012 but it still applies.

Parenting – Why it is important and what I believe and practice.

This is a thinly veiled parenting blog and a Vampire blog, but most of all it is a blog about relationships. That can be a lot of things including how we relate to our families, or kids, our friends, weird people and our lovers.

The main message is for parents to talk not just at or to their kids but WITH their kids. Also to give your children the safety to be their own little personalities (or big personalities) and to be kids, but also give them the freedom to grow and fly. I am a strong advocate against over protecting children. I’m a mother wolf and yes, I’ll protect to the death, but I don’t want to be responsible for an immature, over sensitive, ignorant adult one of these days. Children, in my opinion, need their parents forever, but they also need to know about the world they’ll live most of their lives in, especially teens. They also need to know the harsh facts about sex, drugs and the company they keep. Our reputations and the choices we make as teens can stay with us our entire lives. Teens need to know this.

I absolutely love teens. They’re funny and wise and silly and so loving in ways that most people don’t even see. Just talk to one, or better yet, try to remember a million years ago in another time, another world, another planet, when you were a teen.

But I’m not going to preach those ideas in every single blog post. Through my tales about my kids, my husband, my brothers and my friends, I try to get across my messages about relationships, love, consequences, and just life. And if I can get someone to think or laugh I feel like I’ve done something. If I can get anyone to laugh I’m happy.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life?

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.”
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we won’t talk about them.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it.

Parenting doesn’t end when they’re grown. We all know that. We’ll still be close. We’ll still be learning. Now I just have to figure out what it means to be a parent of adult children. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t still be calling them to the window to see the cute squirrel on the deck, or looking up to the sky to see bats, or to talk for hours, and laugh just because we can. We’ll still be doing all that and more.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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