no. (roses_rejoice) wrote,

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Attitude is the last defense of the powerless.

Yesterday while I was using an ATM at the train station there was a mom and her teenage daughter sitting next to it. Apparently daughter had done something mom thought was wrong or dangerous, like talked to a stranger or something (probably a panhandler as there are approximately 1,264 of them hanging around there at any given moment getting in everybody's face), and mom told her not to because that was dangerous and daughter heaved a sigh or rolled her eyes or something teenagers do when they think mom is going overboard. And mom had that Typical Kneejerk MomLike Reaction and started making thislong speech about "OK, I don't know anything! I'm just going to let you make all the mistakes and learn the hard way! I care about you and try to tell you what to do so you don't have to suffer by having your purse stolen but you just IGNORE me and INSIST on just getting close to whoever you want, because you just think I'm stupid and don't know anything." At this point daughter interjected, "But I didn't say anything!" And mom responded, "You didn't have to! I saw the look on your face! I'm sick of your attitude! I'm just going to let you learn all the lessons the hard way from now on!" And on and on and on, loudly, in a public place, where people can hear, and daughter is obviously getting the hell embarrassed out of her, and if daughter is on LJ she probably went home and wrote a long post about how annoyed she was with her mother for flipping out over nothing.

Now I know teenagers can be giant pains in the butt and I know moms and other people lose their patience, and I know mom was probably (1) right that whatever the kid had done was dangerous and (2) honestly concerned for her daughter, but did she HAVE to go that overboard about it? No, she did not. I really wanted to say something -- actually I really wanted to jump over the railing and smack mom across the face and tell her to quit right now with the stupid assed public guilt trip, but I restrained myself and went and got coffee instead. We have here a society that encourages people to be dependent children long past the age when a lot of them could be doing something on their own and making their own mistakes. And parents can't protect kids from the entire world, and sometimes parents are overprotective, and in any case, love and respect shouldn't be all tied to whether or not a 15-16 year old rolls their eyes at something mom says or not. Hell, teenagers roll their eyes at EVERYTHING their parents do! If they don't do it in front of ya, they do it in back of ya! What else CAN they do? They usually can't get away because society hasn't seen fit to equip most of them with the life skills to support themselves, and being "emancipated" in any sense of the word is damn hard.

I remember many such public and private scenes with my own mom. Somehow the fact that I heaved a sigh at the wrong moment would translate into some big emotional expression that I thought she was stupid and I was disrespectful and I had a bad attitude and I was a bad daughter and I didn't appreciate any of the good, loving things she did. I know she probably was having a bad day when she went off into these tirades; I know Scorpio people get all the dumb surface stuff tangled up with love and emotion and that they're also master guilt-trippers and mind-manipulators; I know she tries not to do that stuff anymore (and I try not to roll my eyes) although sometimes you still have a bad day and the old patterns occur. It's just dumb, is all. Mothers don't need to get their own identity and selfhood and emotions hung up on whether some dumb kid who they happen to dearly love looks at them funny or not. It's a dumb waste of energy in the name of love. Hell and damn, let the kids make their own mistakes. LET GO. I don't have kids but I practice letting go on some of my friends, letting them fall on their face even though I can see it coming and know it will hurt, 'cause if I try to tell them they just roll their eyes at me. I know with a kid there's a stronger bond but I swear, if I ever catch myself starting that "You don't value me 'cause you cop a 'tude at everything I say, you need to learn some respect" crapola I hope I slap myself silly. I may find something just as annoying to do in its place (There's always SOMETHING, and kids will find some reason to dislike even Good parents, it's part of breaking away) but I don't want it to be that.

I still have the same ol' bad attitude. I don't need it so much now because I have a lot of other ways I can express myself, but it feels good, like an old pair of Converse.
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