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A little parenting advice please

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  • #372585
    Steve
    Participant

    Hello all, I am new to the forum and look forward to sharing some thoughts with this wonderful community.  Had a situation arise over the weekend and just wanted to get some input from an outside source.  So my wife and I have a close family friend, we”ll call her Tracy.  Our son and Tracy’s son are best friends also, so we hang out a lot.  Tracy has a huge heart, however she also has some emotional baggage from her childhood (don”t we all), which manifests itself in manic depressive episodes, as well as heavy drinking.  Tracy has multiple DUI’s, yet continues to drink and drive.  She does not hesitate for an instant to get beligerently drunk in front of her kids.  Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I like to party as well, but just not in front of the kids.

    This is where it gets tricky.  The last few times we have gone over to her house with our 2 boys, the evening never fails to devolve into a drunken shouting contest of obscenities and inappropriate conduct.  After the last time, I even tried to justify it to myself. I thought, “Hell with it, this is my life I can do what I want.  Just because I have kids doesn’t mean I have to shut down my life for them.  At the end of the day the only one I have to answer to is myself.”  So on Saturday night we loaded up and headed over there, ready to watch some football and get wild.  The kids were in their bedrooms so we were good to go.  But it just didn’t feel right to me.  My son came into the room to get a water, a look of dismay on his face.  An hour or 2  later he comes in to grab a snack.  The look of dismay has now turned to horror and disappointment.  Of course to everyone else the child is a blip on the radar, a passerby to be easily overlooked.  But to me it was an epiphany.  The feeling deep within my soul was unmistakable.  This was not right.  I have felt this feeling before, but it is extremely rare and usually only manifests itself in life-threatening situations.  I put down the drink, switched to water, and got out of there as soon as I was able.

    I am really torn now, because Tracy is a close friend, one of my wife’s closest.  And our sons have a great friendship as well.  Just wondering what everyone else thinks of my situation.  I am torn between my parental “duties” and my own spiritual journey.  I feel the responsibilities of being a good role model, however I can’t shake this feeling that I am losing some of myself by surrendering the things I love.  What would you do TB peeps?

    #372608
    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi Steve,

    Tracy has multiple DUI’s, yet continues to drink and drive. 

    This demonstrates to me that Tracy does not have good judgement. This is all I’d need to know. She may be a wonderful person with a huge heart but there’s no way in hell my son is going to be left alone under her supervision.

     …the evening never fails to devolve into a drunken shouting contest of obscenities and inappropriate conduct.

    Get a babysitter and leave your son at home. Don’t try to justify exposing a young kid to that. Trust your good instincts.

    B

    #372612
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Steve:

    You shared that you and your wife have a close family friend, Tracy. Tracy has children and so do you.   Tracy has “some emotional baggage from her childhood (don’t we all)”, you shared. Her emotional baggage manifests itself in “manic depressive episodes, as well as heavy drinking.. multiple DUI’s… get belligerently drunk in front of her kids”, and when you, your wife and your kids visit Tracy’s home, “the evening never fails to devolve into a drunken shouting contest of obscenities and inappropriate conduct”.

    In the past, you felt it was wrong to expose the children to this adult behavior, but you thought: “Hell with it, this is my life, I can do what I want. Just because I have kids doesn’t mean I have to shut down my life for them..”, but last Saturday night, at Tracy’s home, you noticed “a look of dismay.. turned to horror and disappointment” on your son’s face, and you had an epiphany:

    “Of course to everyone else the child is a blip on the radar, a passerby to be easily overlooked. But to me.. this was not right. I have felt this feeling before, but it is extremely rare and usually only manifests itself in life-threatening situations”. You then “put down the drink, switched to water, and got out of there as soon as I was able”.

    You wrote: “Just wondering what everyone else thinks of my situation”- I think that when Tracy was a child, she was just “a blip on the radar, a passerby to be easily overlooked”, and that’s why she is now a mother who overlooks her own children’s mental/ emotional well-being. I think that you and your wife were not much bigger than blips on your respective parents’ radars, and this is why you overlooked your own children’s emotional well-being. Unless your children are no longer overlooked, they too will continue the tradition of overlooking their own children, a tradition that has brought our world as a whole to the sad situation it is in.

    It is sadly very common, as you noted, that parents overlook their children except for life-threatening situations. For example, a parent will spring into action if she/he sees her child about to cross a busy street about to be hit by a fast-moving truck. But the same parent will overlook the look of horror on her child’s face multiple times, seeing that look of horror as a blip, nothing of consequence.

    But the horror of a child, repeated, unattended to, results in massive lifetime pain and dysfunction for the child and for the next generation.. and the next.

    To be a healthy individual and a good parent, you need a combination of personal responsibility (ex., having fun from time to time), and social responsibility (ex., the adults gather at Tracy’s home to watch football and drink,  while your kids and Tracy’s kids are supervised by a responsible, caring and attentive babysitter in your home).

    anita

     

    #372743
    Mark Landry
    Participant

    It might be that your parenting duties and your spiritual journey are one in the same. Confronting a friend about this level of drinking might serve both of you. Either way, you won’t be able to continue in your journey as is, not just because it’s unhealthy, but because it’s bothering you so much.

    My opinion – you’ll need to talk to her about it, and get ready for a very negative reaction; folks who drink too much don’t like talking about it. But if you can commit to sitting through a few really unpleasant encounters, she might see that you love her and want the best for her.

    Either way, it’ s a tough situation to be sure. I wish the best for you.

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