Building Fences in the Village

But supposedly my home looks the way it does because I’m lazy, a terrible housekeeper, and never do anything.
My father: “Your boys don’t act that way when they’re here.”
No because it’s your house and you’d kill them if they did and when you’re done killing them they know I would kill them too for forgetting their manners.
Double jeopardy has a profound effect on children…. or have you forgotten what it’s like to be a child? Nobody wants to get punished twice for the same thing. You can’t replicate that effect in your home with only one parental unit present.
I will also point out that there is a reason that there are laws in place preventing the double jeopardy effect in the adult world for a reason. Its snowballing effect can be easily abused, causing lasting harm to the target.
There is a reason I tell specific people in my life they cannot discipline my children. This double jeopardy effect is part of that. These are the people who are very quick to gang up on children when they are in trouble. You know what I’m talking about. Their spouse is disciplining their child and they jump in to join. You are disciplining your child and they jump in to join. For whatever reason, something happens and they disciplined your child for it before you did and now they expect you to discipline your child again. Maybe you weren’t there because they were babysitting. Maybe you were there and it wasn’t something against your rules and it wasn’t against the public play area rules (this one happens to me all the time).
Okay now you are mystified. How can that be? Classic example: what counts as bad words. We have our staple list of universal “foul language” that children should never use. I swear and quite frankly think this is idea of words being bad or good for their own sake is stupid. BUT, and there is always a but, I do believe in being considerate and polite. What is the point of communicating if people refuse to listen? And one’s intent should never be to harm. You can be horribly rude and hurtful without ever saying one of those universal foul language words.I have also met very kind people who use those words all the time. So I teach my children to always be polite and to consider their audience when choosing their words.
But this one day, that wasn’t what was said. The commotion and tirade were made over the word “fanny” and it wasn’t even my children who said it. I said it and it was my niece, 7-years-old at the time, that came undone about it at the dinner table after asking me what the word meant. She even had the nerve to try to tell her mother that it was my youngest that said it. I spoke up and said, “No I said it and what’s the problem?” That’s when my niece said it was a bad word and I shouldn’t be saying it. That really pissed me off, but all I said was, “You do not get to police what I can or can’t say and no one here but me has the right to police my children either.”
It would be one thing if it was “Listen to your mother” type of stuff but this isn’t. Instead this is other adults jumping in, adding their commentary, often escalating the situation, and creating extra punishments for the child in question. The teachable moment is lost and it quickly turns into a lynching mob.
This is not really a safe village. So I now I have to set boundaries. Now I’m the bad guy. Now I’m the bad parent. Now I have to listen to ALL the bad things I’m doing wrong. Ranging from housecleaning to parenting – you name it. I’ve even had the mother in question sit down and challenge me once for not agreeing with her style and method of parenting.
My response to her was this: “When my children were diagnosed I was taught that your method of parenting is abusive for children with these kinds of special needs so I can’t do it that way and I can’t let anyone treat them that way. If I do, CPS will be on my ass. Whether I like it or not, the state is very much involved with the well-being of my children. You do what you need to do with your children, but you do not have the legal right to discipline mine.”
Lady nothing is going to make me conform with whatever it is you have in mind. When my second son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 18 months, the state offered parenting classes. This is part of the state’s Child Development Department’s program. I took them up on their offer. Any advice and knowledge they had from EXPERTS, I wanted and I got it. I was also very fortunate to be a college student at the time as well and spoke to many of the psychology, nutrition, nursing, and anatomy professors regarding life cycle and child development. I’m not interested in your advice or what you want.
As much as I have studied, I still I don’t consider myself an expert in any of this shit. I will not pretend to. What I will do is the same as I have always done: ask questions, study, learn, and think for myself. After all, it IS what my parents taught me to do – even if it is coming back to haunt them now. It’s the greatest gift they have ever given me. I will cherish it and use it to the best of my ability. Which means I will make mistakes, but I will learn from them and keep moving ahead.
Robert Frost said that “Good fences make good neighbors” in his poem Mending Wall. I agree. It’s the entire point of setting boundaries – a skill set I’m still working on, but one I understand. I’m all done allowing people plow over me and watch my children destabilize as a result. These fences have to be here and no amount of telling me how much I suck as a parent, housekeeper, or whatever else is going to make them go away. I will figure it out. Eventually. On my terms.

2 thoughts on “Building Fences in the Village

    • Oh. I hadn’t thought about that. I’m sorry. I spent the last half of my childhood on a vegetable farm so I don’t consider earth worms as something that people would or should lose their appetite upon seeing. I simply chose an image that matched my title.

      Around where I live, there is a saying “opening a can of worms” to mean placing one’s self into a difficult position or bigger mess. I feel like that’s what I have done here with my life, just open one can of worms after another. Hence the title and the image. I’m sorry it is unpleasant to you, but I stand by my choice of title and image.

      Additionally, your comment was posted to the wrong post. I have no idea move it to the correct post, otherwise I would. Just pointing this out for anyone else that comes across this thread. It’s directed at the post “All with a Side of Worms”.

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