My seventeen year old, Riley, is working on a major video project, and she asked her little sister, Grace, the twelve-year old to help her by creating some kind of video animation or something technical that I don't understand (guess I really am old). Grace just loves her older sister and wants so badly to make her happy when she's asked a favor from her. So, Grace enters Riley's room today and asks if the animation was sufficient. And, Big Sis doesn't even look up at her and shrugs. Grace asks if Riley would like her to fix anything. Riley says, "I don't know."
Now, I'm mad. Grace comes back and says that she doesn't like how her sister is treating her. I tell her that she's just learned that next time Riley asks a favor, she should politely decline (which, I know Grace would never do...she loves Riley far too much). But, I'm angry because although Riley is my daughter, she was blatantly rude to my other daughter, and that's not something I take lightly.
Well, about thirty minutes later, I'm telling a story to my lovely wife, Mary, when the twelve-year old enters briskly and starts to talk to her mom over me. I stop her and ask if this is an emergency, because I'm telling Mom a story. Grace looks at me and just continues to say what she wants to say. So, I tell her, "Maybe you didn't understand, but I am talking to your mother, and you are interrupting. That's acceptable if this is an emergency. That's why I asked. So, now, is this an emergency?"
Unbelievable. She ignores me again, and starts to talk to her mom. I can't believe this is a child I have raised. Where in the world did she learn this level of disrespect (interrupting has always been a huge pet-peeve of mine)? So, I lose it, and I revert back to the kid that's still inside me, and I go off telling her that I stood up for her when her sister was rude to her, but then she turns right around and is rude to me. I say that she's on her own from now on with the Big Sis thing. She can fend for herself. One rude turn deserves another.
I know...very mature. But, that just goes to show us (at least me) that there's a part of me that will remain that kid, that young person who is winging it, the boy who really doesn't know how to parent, but acts like he does. I think (pronounced "hope") we all have that child within us, and I'm saying that when he or she comes out, don't sweat it. Let him rant, then tell him it's bedtime. He just needs some sleep.
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