Editor’s note: As with all of the pieces in our ‘Confession Series’ the author is anonymous. Please be respectful of this in your comments.
Being a military kid or teen is tough. I get it. No, really. I actually GET it.
As a service provider, I facilitated workshops about how a service member’s absence can affect a child or teen’s behavior. I’ve worked with kids who have had chronic outbursts due to their parent’s empty chair at the table. I’ve lent many a kind ear to spouses on the home front who were at their wits end because of this.
As someone with a background in the social sciences, I have zeroed in on the social and psychological aspects of military life. I have read countless peer-reviewed studies on the topic. I have written multiple papers on the subject. I have had many in-depth discussions with people from all walks of life about what it means to live the military lifestyle.
As the mother of 2 military teenagers, I have LIVED this. I have experienced the outbursts first hand. I have said the same thing that many of us have said over time: “Just WAIT ‘till your dad gets home.” Eventually, they end up calling our bluff.
So here is my official declaration: I AM DONE.
I am DONE with the threats. Waiting until your service member comes home doesn’t deal with what is right in front of you and that was my mistake.
We are often two people at the same time. We must know how to be the “good cop” and the “bad cop”. To be perfectly honest, I absolutely SUCK at being the bad cop.
Some days I don’t want to be the one who has to write all of the rules and enforce them. I don’t want to be the ‘dud’. I don’t want to be the one who says ‘no’ all the time. So what do I do? I end up so tired of fighting about things with no back-up that I give in…over and over and over again, I give in.
But NOT today.
Today, I did something completely out of character. Today, I said NO MORE.
My husband is currently away. When I picked my teenagers up from school today, they started arguing in the car. When I attempted to “put my foot down,” my 14 year old decided that he didn’t want to ride home with me anymore. So he got out of the car and started walking.
I yelled for him to get back in the car, but he refused. I drove down the street to a gas station and texted him the following:
“You have two options. Option One: meet me at the gas station if you want a ride home. Option Two: If I don’t receive confirmation in the next 5 minutes, you will be walking home.”
At this very moment, as I type, my son is currently making the 6.7 mile trek home; (that’s about 2.5 hours).
At this very moment, as I type, I am FREAKING out inside because I feel like the worst parent in the world.
At this very moment, as I type, I am absolutely certain that I am doing the right thing.
He knows the way home. He has $10.00 in his wallet and he has a cell phone that is fully charged. If he calls me to apologize, I’ll go pick him up.
Being a military kid or teen is tough business. I get it, really I do. In this case, however, it is NOT an excuse. I’m sure my son and I will have a nice long chat when he walks through that door. We’ll weather this storm as we have all the others.
Which is really ironic, because it just so happens to be raining. 🙂