January 10, 2019

"While society rightly focuses on adults who abuse kids, nobody cares about the reverse."

"It’s difficult to express what this daily pounding feels like after so many years, but one result is clear: I would like her out of my house, and I want to have only limited contact in the future, though I’m willing to support her if she’s in college. Having lost the middle chunk of my life to chaos and misery, am I really condemned to live this way until I die? Would I be the most terrible parent in the world if I packed my bags and vanished?"

From a question to the NYT ethicist.

33 comments:

Ralph L said...

refuses antipsychotic medication

Who does the cooking?

If she can't get on drugs, she can't stay.

Laslo Spatula said...

There are ethics, and then there is what you can live with without remorse.

Absolution is a Jackson Pollack painting on the wall above your emotional furniture.

I am Laslo.

Expat(ish) said...

I was in the grocery store with my 12 year old, 10 year old, and 7 year old (boy, girl, boy) and we saw a mother/daughter arguing. The mom was early/mid-30's and nicely put together, the daughter was mid-teens and was, well, an early teen under-dressed looking to this dad.

The daughter punched the mom in the shoulder and called her a b*tch. My kids all took a deep breath, almost perfectly in sync, and waited for the carnage.

Nothing happened and they all swiveled their heads to me with big old manga eyes. "Remember, if your mom didn't rain down on you, I'd slap you back to last Tuesday."

Not saying the kid doesn't bear blame, in reverse proportion to their age, but the parent(s) have to do their jobs.

It's harder if you only have one, but if you've got multiple, then you have a bad apple issue.

-XC

gilbar said...

though I’m willing to support her if she’s in college.

she's beating; everyday, but: you're still willing to support her?
My mother told my brother that, on his eighteenth birthday, she'd be changing the locks

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Triggered.

Why is the NYTs using PoC to represent this issue of teenaged misbehavior? That is the oldest white supremacists trick in the book.

Boycott the racist NYT!

Ralph L said...

One of the commenters said it might be the autism. She uses all her energy trying to appear normal in public, then lets go at home.

gilbar said...

on the 'children abusing adults front'...
Hours after assuming office, Mr. Newsom released sweeping health care proposals to raise the age limit for illegal aliens covered by Medi-Cal from 19 to 26,

Isn't It GREAT? that politicians are taking our tax dollars, and using them to provide free health care for members of MS-13? Meanwhile, i'll be paying MY $895.32 medica premium; every month, 'cause Somebody has to!

Bay Area Guy said...

The threat of spanking is very important when the kids are young. I didn't like spanking, and only did it a few times, but keeping the threat alive for the worst offenses, I believe, help mold my kids into responsible, but still fun-loving teens and young adults. Of course, other things helped (like all the fucking tuition I paid for), but I do think the threat of spanking worked wonders.

Eleanor said...

What if you adopt a teen, and she turns out to be an evil spawn? What are the ethics of giving her back?

tomaig said...

An old Navy buddy of mine told me he got the hint when, for his 18th birthday, his parents got him a set of luggage.

Humperdink said...

Quoting the article: " But according to the laws in our state, she will continue to be our responsibility, possibly for the rest of our lives."

Allied Van Lines is listed in the yellow pages.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tomaig said...

An old Navy buddy of mine told me he got the hint when, for his 18th birthday, his parents got him a set of luggage.

We got my daughter luggage for her high school graduation present. Very practical, since she was already scheduled to go to college on the opposite coast. But still an important message, that was clearly pointed out.

Leland said...

I spanked my step daughters once. Once they learned that mom and grandmother didn't care what I did, and grandmother would be happy to come visit and spank them too, they decided to start doing what I asked. I never needed to even threaten force again.

That said, I understand that sometimes parents don't get that back up from other adults. And when that happens, the child learns the wrong lesson. And the lesson they learn is not easy to unlearn.

iowan2 said...

Our oldest grandchild is 8. When they visited our house as babies we child proofed all the possible dangers. Except my side table in the family room. All six of the grandkids, know not to mess with with grandpa's stuff. I have never threatened them. Told them NO...and meant it. Of course I don't try to be their friend. I'm an adult and have adult friends. Children are there for my pleasure, not the other way around. The better half and I have taken all six of them shopping for half a day, and we get along fine. We communicate expectations, and they do their best to meet those expectations.
Parenting is not as hard as the experts want you to believe.

Wilbur said...

My mother yard-sticked the hell out of me until I was about 9. I needed it, as was a born wild child.

When she had to take me shopping with her, she couldn't bring the yard stick, so she just carried a ruler in her purse. All she had to do was show it to me.

As I said at her eulogy, she did the best she could.

Ann Althouse said...

The teenager has various disabilities and apparently has bad emotional outbursts. I don't think she's doing physical violence, just wearing everyone out emotionally — that's the "pounding" the mother describes. There's also another child in the house, so the notion of packing up and leaving is a desperate fantasy.

Henry said...

I too have all the answers and my kids are perfect.

Shouting Thomas said...

I've been watching the Netflix drama series "Shtisel," about an Orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem.

It's a great series. It's sympathetic to a deeply religious family, instead of doing the usual hatchet job that results in the kids abandoning religion and family.

It's fascinating to watch people who believe that parents should decide most things for their kids, including who they marry.

The self-fulfillment outlook of the mother here is simply not a part of the Orthodox Jewish life. Makes me wonder what went on in the family when the kids were young that we don't know.

Shouting Thomas said...

I knew quite a few hippie and lefty mothers in Woodstock who believed they were sacrificing everything for their kids, and they were astonished when those kids became "abusive."

My view of those mothers was that they virtually abandoned their kids to the street.

William said...

Before the invention of television, kids were an inexpensive form of entertainment. Even the ones that weren't that cute could be played with for an hour or two to while away the time. It took longer to potty train them, but, once trained, they were far more companionable than most dogs. But now they're an idea whose time has passed. Who wants to play with kids when there's so much good stuff on television? You don't even have to endure commercials anymore.

Fernandistein said...

Neb. Law Lets Parents Dump Kids Of Any Age

Probably too late now, though.

we have spent a fortune on therapists, medications and special programs, with little to show for it.

Maybe it's time to try a different sort of witch doctor - make sure your teens get plenty of exorcise.

Tom T. said...

Anyone who has raised two totally different kids in the same family knows that parenting isn't the whole story. Some kids are behaviorally more challenging than others. Parenting indeed isn't that hard if your kid isn't ADD, oppositional, a disordered eater, or sensory-challenged, but that's not a helpful posture from which to advise the harder cases.

Fernandistein said...

Anyone who has raised two totally different kids in the same family knows that parenting isn't the whole story.

Parenting isn't even a big part of the story, as "two totally different" kids would indicate.

AZ Bob said...

But if she has tried medication and dislikes the way it makes her feel, she may have reasons for refusing.

Why am I not surprised to read the NY Times response. If this teenager has "various disabilities," as Ann writes, then she has a responsibility to take her medication.

Some bipolar people like the feeling of their rage. Rage is a drug. But not liking how she feels under medication is no excuse for inflicting pain on others.

At best, this teenage will end up going in and out of jail and mental health programs for the rest of her life. At worst, she will go to prison if she hurts someone. The McNaughton rule will be of no help.

Mark said...

I spanked my step daughters once. Once they learned that mom and grandmother didn't care what I did, and grandmother would be happy to come visit and spank them too, they decided to start doing what I asked. I never needed to even threaten force again.

Sure, you hitting them is something they will always remember -- and not necessarily favorably. Quite likely they will remember it well into adulthood with a loss of respect for you, if not contempt, even if they passively gave in.

Anchovy said...

Remember one time I saw an obviously step mother and step daughter. What I heard was the step daughter screaming, "I don't have to listen to you. You're not my mother!" I thought to myself, go ahead and kill her. If I am on the jury you will walk free.

Big Mike said...

I’m guessing Mark has no kids.

Henry said...

I'm guessing Mark doesn't hit kids.

Tomcc said...

I grew up in a family of eight children. My parents would use spanking as a method of enforcement from time to time. We all grew up to be useful citizens (with no loss of respect and plenty of love and admiration for the challenges they dealt with as parents). One of my sisters disavowed the use of spanking in raising her own 4 children. They also have grown up to be contributing members of society.
Perhaps with fewer children one has more time to try different methods to guide behavior.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

What if you adopt a teen, and she turns out to be an evil spawn? What are the ethics of giving her back?

Folks who adopt teens are thoroughly counseled regarding the strong likelihood of attachment disorders arising from whatever abuse or neglect the child was subjected to which led to being adopted as a teen. The ones who would refer to abused and hurting children as 'evil spawn' are weeded out as the ghouls they are who have no business raising children, particularly those with special needs, and I hate to be the one to tell you this but you don't 'give back' a child you have adopted like you return a defective TV. Jesus Christ.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Anyone who has raised two totally different kids in the same family knows that parenting isn't the whole story.

Truer words rarely spoken. Each of my six is completely distinct and what works for one does not remotely work for the others. The one of mine who was adopted at 10 days old, who came to us straight from the hospital and never met his birth parents after he exited his mother's abdomen, is so different from the ones I gave birth to that it's like he's from another planet. My parenting experience strongly favors nature over nurture.

Ralph L said...

I hope it was a nice planet.

R.J. Chatt said...

I'm a facebook friend with an old classmate who has an autistic child. Occasionally her adult child posts on the mother's page leaving brutally thoughtless criticisms of the mother. Cringeworthy lack of emotional intelligence. I've never asked about it but I am sure the knowledge that the unkind behavior is the result of a medical condition gives some degree of distance and emotional immunity towards the child's lack of kindness. Underlying all of it is love in their case.

I would expect an adult to have a more mature perspective than his/her child even if that means cutting the emotional attachment to some extent. That might require the assistance of a therapist for the parents to absolve themselves of guilt for the separation and their abandonment of expectations for a better outcome. Not easy to do.

Even if the parents are legally responsible doesn't mean they have to live with their adult child. They have to help arrange for housing, etc. I know of several cases where that happens, the child lives in group homes for special needs.