You Can’t Be Your Kids Friend! Stop Trying!

12 Feb

tp-houseLast week a Tarrant County Texas court decided to indict Colleyville mother Tara Mauney on a criminal mischief charge.  Last summer Mauney was accused of leading a group of teenagers in a “prank” gone bad on a neighboring house.  What should have been a harmless episode of toilet papering a neighborhood house went awry when profanity was laced across the facade of the house in permanent marker and raw chicken parts were left in the mailbox.  $6000 worth of damage later, Mauney claims she was at home asleep when her daughter and some of her friends snuck out of the house and pulled the prank; however the courts see otherwise.  Chief in the prosecution’s evidence was store surveillance of Ms. Mauney purchasing a large amount of toilet paper at a local store earlier in the evening of the attack.  I’m not sure when buying toilet paper in bulk became a crime and even if she knew that the girls intended on TP ing the house did she know about any of the other vandalism?

But at the heart of this issue is the reader comments from the story.  There seem to be a pretty even mix of people who feel that the mom is being wrongly convicted and people who feel that the mom is guilty (even if for no other reason than the fact that she buys her TP in bulk).  I don’t really know if she was there or encouraged it or was really at home in bed asleep, nor do I really care.  But this makes me think of all the people who have kids who are trying so hard to be their friend instead of their parent.

I tried to comment on the story but for some reason I couldn’t get my comment to post.  But, if  I could have, my reply would have gone something like this;

I once had a neighbor who had that “But they are just kids” mentality all the while allowing her kids to play soccer in the front yard (even though they had a large, empty back yard). This meant that when the kids would kick the ball it would hit our cars and leave dents all over them.  My mom was notorious for telling her, “they are only kids until you teach them better!”  Its true though, you can’t blame a kid who thinks its ok to throw a fit in the middle of a store or fast food joint because they don’t know any better, they think this is ok behaviour since no one has bothered to teach them differently.  I used to get so irritated at kids who would run around and act a fool or throw fits or just in general be a brat but then I realized, they don’t know any better and I really should be upset with mom and dad for not taking the time to teach them better.

Too many times parents are concerned with their kids liking them or wanting their kids to be their friend thinking that if they are friends that their kid will tell them secrets and things that are going on in their life.  News flash people, you were not put on this earth to be your kids friend and by being the “cool” mom you are not guaranteeing that your kid is going to tell  you a damn thing about their life.  Teenagers are secretive, moody little beings whose prime goal is to irritate you.

Now, growing up, my parents gave me a healthy dose of scare and it ensured that I kept my butt out of trouble.  Sure, I lied to my mom about the theater that me and my date were going to or which of my friends would be at the mall with me but I was taught (and had the fear of God instilled in me) to know better than to allow myself to be in a position that was going to get me into real trouble.  If my date got a little too fresh or my friends decided to do something stupid that I knew better than to be a part of I would find the closest pay phone and call my mom.  The lecture that I would get for lying was much better than the one I would have gotten from my dad on the way home from the police station.  My parents were not concerned with being my friend, in fact they couldn’t have cared less if I even liked them because they knew that their job as a parent was to raise me to become a productive member of society with some common sense.  As a result of which (even though I wouldn’t have admitted it to them at the time) I respected them that much more and now that I am an adult my mom and I are pretty good friends and I feel like I can talk to her about anything and usually do.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still her child and she does annoy me sometimes but I still know that it is coming from a place of love and concern.

This isn’t just about teenagers either, you have got to start this stuff early, raise your child up with a healthy fear and respect and they will continue on this path.  Look, you can’t be a parent and a friend at the same time, it’s a conflict of interest and will result in you being walked all over and your kid getting away with murder which eventually they won’t get away with it and then you really will be wishing that you had been their parent and not their friend.  Do yourself a favor and take the higher road and be a parent, you kid will (eventually) thank you for it!

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