Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Friday, March 04, 2005

My Immortals

I heard today that Pamela Anderson has turned down another opportunity to pose nude because she's worried about embarrassing her child. However, there are about 20 other times when she didn't worry about this. Perhaps she'd better start buying up back-issues of various magazines or figuring out what to say when her child finds them.

This got me thinking about things that I've done in my past that I don't want my kids to know about. My husband and I have discussed this, especially now that we have two teens living in our house. Naturally, we worry that our kids might follow our example and make the same mistakes that we did, something that parents spend a lot of time trying to avoid. We generally don't say much, although as they get older, we tend to let little transgressions slip out while sitting around the dinner table. These are done more in the spirit of story-telling than life lessons.

Still, there are times when I wonder if some of the dopey things that I did might not be a good "How NOT To" lesson, especially for our newly teenage daughter, who tends to enjoy socializing...a lot.

For instance, would it be a bad thing to say: "There was this one time when I drank a lot - mostly out of nervousness and peer pressure and it was my birthday - and I threw up for hours"? Or: "Once I tried marijuana and it made me high for three days. I never did it again after that." Or: "When I was a freshman in college, I took a math class and I never studied and I was failing by mid-terms and had to retake it during summer school so I could graduate on time."

Looking back and comparing notes with friends, these aren't unusual or unforgiveable things. And I've generally turned out OK. It's just that there's always this yin/yang thing as a parent. Will our kids learn more from our warnings or their own mistakes? Kids rarely tend to believe their parents and yet sitting back and watching them make mistakes, some of which could be dangerous, is often even more frightening.

Lately, I lean toward the former. Even if my words might fall on deaf ears, at least I know that I did my best to warn them of the hazards that surround and tempt them. I also use the tried-and-true method of showing them things in the newspaper or on the news where kids their age MADE BAD DECISIONS and disaster ensued. I've decided that I'd rather be annoying than be right. Nevertheless, they usually shrug and walk away, feeling immortal as most kids do.


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