Perhaps she's ignored the laundry because she's stressed about school or antsy about a boy who hasn't called her back.
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If your son calls just before curfew and says he needs a ride, save your questions and lectures for the morning. Act like a grownup,' one day, and then turn around and say, 'You're not old enough to do that. You're only 17,' the next," says Izzy. Make up your mind! Eventually they'll do something dishonest just because they're sick of being wrongly accused. Trust your kids until they give you a real reason not to. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. The 10 Smartest Cat Breeds.
She needs privacy. Sometimes he just needs you to listen. She may be dating—even if you've explicitly said she can't. He may not be getting great grades on every assignment. She doesn't want to talk to you about sex. He hates when you don't hold his siblings accountable. She wishes you'd cut her some slack. He lies to stay out of trouble. I thought for sure the coach would take this time to focus on his chosen defensive players, but instead, he called over a team of 12 and year-olds, who were practicing on another field, and asked them to scrimmage with our 9 and year-olds!
So the whole practice, five of our players were forced to stand on the sidelines at a time--not playing, not learning by doing, not receiving any instruction, just watching a game in which their teammates got pulverized by kids 3 and 4 years older than them. How inspiring. How encouraging. For an hour and 20 minutes, I saw Sam's confidence plummet as his shoulders slumped lower and lower, and his eyes glazed over in detachment. My own agitation grew, because I knew I was going to have to drag Sam to the first football game unprepared, uninspired, uninvolved, and unmotivated.
What was this coach doing? Didn't he want the kids who weren't as experienced to learn? Was he just there to watch a game, instead of coaching a practice? As if in answer to this internal debate, the coach suddenly plucked Sam out of obscurity, calling him over by pointing at him because he hadn't learned his name.
Because he'd never spoken to him before that moment! After three practices, and without any play time, any instructional time, any word, nod, or acknowledgment, the coach was barking at Sam to run a play. A play he didn't know. Sam ran awkwardly down the field, his tall, gangly form zig-zagging confusedly, and dropped the ball when it was thrown to him. John, another player, showed Sam how the play was supposed to work, and I could see Sam's lips moving.
He was talking to himself. This scenario was an anxious child's living nightmare: being unprepared, being criticized, being made to look a fool, being exposed, being inadequate. I saw my child, who tries so hard to hide his anxiety, about to break. I was facing a tough decision. Do I sit and watch him suffer through this dilemma without intervening, because he needs to learn how to deal with assholes?
Do I potentially embarrass or emasculate him by jumping in and tearing this asshole a new asshole?
Do I just wait silently until it all plays out, then comfort and counsel him later? My own mother pounced all over contentious authority figures, all throughout my childhood. Some would call this protective alter ego "Mama Bear," but I always likened my mom to a lioness. If any teacher, coach, principal, secretary, priest, nun, parent, or other adult in authority treated any one of her six cubs unkindly or unfairly, the Lioness would shred them into a stuttering pulp. Hackles raised and eyes blazing, she was a fierce sight to behold. Even though she was defending us, and I was glad to be on the safe side of those claws, it was also embarrassing and awkward for me.
After the fur flew, I was the one who had to face the carnage. I dreaded seeing those adults again. I dreaded their diminutive, dismissive treatment of me, their eye rolls and head shakes, their whispers about my mom being crazy or being a bitch, their gossip, their open resentment. The teacher never calling on me; the principal singling me out; the parent refusing to let me play with their kid again. I just wanted it all to go away, and most of the time, I thought it would've been better if Mom had never interfered at all.
Having borne those experiences in childhood and after making plenty of my own parenting mistakes in adulthood, I try not to judge my mom for making the decisions she did. She was doing her best and following her heart. I know I'm not a perfect mom. After more barking from the coach and catching a pass to the stomach that knocked the wind out of him, Sam burst into tears in front of his peers as well as the crowd of adults watching.
I knew that it was the LAST thing he wanted to do. I knew if he had a shovel, he'd dig a hole and jump into it rather than face everyone with tears streaming down his face.
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Crying is a much-needed stress release for adults and children, and it should NOT be shameful. But unfortunately for boys this age, and especially this boy, my boy, to cry is to wear a stigma of weakness, of defeat, of helplessness, of worthlessness. No matter how much reassuring and comforting I might offer later, I knew he would never stop punishing himself for this day--the day he lost to the worst of his demons.
I watched, twisted with my own emotions, as Sam turned his back to the coach in an effort to gain composure. Coach ignored the fact that Sam was crying and just continued to bark plays at him. Suddenly, without thinking, not knowing if I walked or ran, I was beside the coach.
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My heart was pounding, and it was like the world went into slow-motion. I looked around and saw the kids' mouths agape, Sam's tear-stained, horror-stricken eyes, the parents looking embarrassedly down at their shoes, and the coach shaking his head.
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His mouth was moving. He was saying something. The first 15 minutes of the first practice? Because since then, you haven't exchanged a single word with some of these players! The second practice you worked only with offense!
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Today, you scrimmaged a team twice as experienced and let half of your players twist in the breeze! Sam, just go on to the car. And, just like that, I was transported back to elementary school, to middle school, to high school.
History was repeating itself, except now I was the embarrassing, crazy bitch, and my kid was the one who, after the smoke cleared, would be left to navigate the scarred terrain alone. After Sam was calmed, fed, immersed in mindless TV, and tucked in bed that night, I let myself wallow for a long while. I drank a good bit of wine.