One of the last times I drove T to school we were talking about parenting.
How there are no how to books written on how to raise children.
Oh I know all about Dr. Spock and all those other how to raise your children books.
But what do they know?
My T is different than your Emily or your Todd or your Bruce.
I am different than Emily’s mom or Todd’s dad or Bruce’s two moms and one dad.
How I raise my child is not going to be like how you raise yours.
So why do we spend so much time and effort worrying how others view our parenting?
When we learn to parent as our child grows.
I wanted a different parenting style than the one I was brought up with.
I am a different person and what worked for mom would not work for me.
T is not me.
T is not his dad.
So the way his grandparents raised his dad is not the way he raises T.
Does any of this make sense?
In allowing for the fact that each step we take along side our children is as much a learning experience for us as it is for them, we shade our interactions with our own notions and beliefs,
I think a lot of people would feel more secure with their parenting skills.
I have written before, that moms especially, find it disconcerting that I talk to my son about sex.
About how if he does anything that harms another intentionally the best place for him is going to be a jail cell as opposed to what would happen if I get my hands on him.
I will kick his ass and he knows it.
But this is my job.
As his parent.
Does not matter if I am mom or dad.
I should never fear to discuss something with my son.
If I wait for him to come to me about things I could be waiting for the cows to come home.
The latest thing that I had to discuss with him was sextortion.
It is something that popped up with Covid and generally run by criminal gangs overseas.
Preying on the stupidity of horny young men everywhere and getting them to provide sexual photos.
After getting these photos they begin to torment the young man demanding money or else they are going to send the pictures to all his family and friends.
My conversation with T went down several paths.
The first being if he did do something like this come and talk to me.
I am not going to yell at him.
I am not going to scold him.
Hormones as a teenager are brutal and override the marginal smartness one might exhibit.
And c’mon while bigger in size I changed the diaper and cleaned him up until he was three or so with pull ups and diapers.
While not thrilled I am his mother and so help the person who tries to screw with him.
Second is the reality of the threat.
How is this person going to send everyone in your family and all your friends these pictures?
Do they have all their emails?
Do they have all their numbers?
I realize that logic is not something that a 16 year old has but then again some adults lack it as well but that is a story for a different day.
And even if they did so what?
Yes it is embarassing.
Yes it is humiliating.
But all in all it is a learning experience.
One that I hope can be avoided by first having this conversation with T.
As I parent I know there are those who feel the need to speak up and tell me what I am doing wrong by their standards.
But it is ok.
What worked for you does not work for me.
You do not raise my son I do.
And you are not important enough for me to even give credence to what you say.
Every day I have to learn to let go a little more.
Every day I have to accept that T is moving away from me.
Every day I have to believe that what I have taught him about being good and honest, kind and empathetic is there.
Every day as he asserts his independence from me I have to learn to let it happen.
So you see, as a parent I am still learning.
Even as I am still teaching.