I went to my book club last night, an outing which will inevitable lead to a lot of posts here, since something always gets me riled up at these things. Aside from the fact that most of the people there thought that "Pillars of the Earth" was a good book (someone even called it "literary" which made me want to poke my eyes out), the main thing that upset me was being reminded of how most families interact.
Fortunately, we've isolated ourselves from most of this crazy culture, but every once in a while we venture out and are astounded at how most people live their daily lives! What is it with the warring between parents and children? Rarely do I hear such unpleasant talk as I do when a parent is talking about their child, and most of the listeners seem content to play along. "Oh, she just turned 13, so the next 5 years are sure to terrible!" with lots of eye rolling and snickers and good-luck-you'll-need-it wishes. More eye-rolling when describing how said 13-year-old has posted rules for how her parents should behave in public, so as not to embarrass her, but cheering when mom fights back with a list of chores that she'd better finish or else! - that'll get 'er! God, what a way to live.
This is not normal behavior. It's not natural behavior. It's common in our culture, certainly, but it's not normal or natural. Family units are designed to work harmoniously together toward common goals, and the dynamic most prevalent today is enemies grudgingly sharing space while working towards completely separate goals. This dynamic has grown up due to the institutionalization of children (schooling) which broke up the family unit. Among other things, the inherent age segregation in the school setting sets up this Us vs. Them mentality which I find absolutely abhorrent. I especially resent being in a group who assumes I am complicit in this war, including me in the snickering, eye-rolling, and back-stabbing just because I happen to be a parent.
Here are some basic revelations (i.e. what I would love to say to people who diss their kids in public). If your child doesn't treat you respectfully and lovingly, it's simply because you did not treat him or her with respect or with love during the years when they were learning how to be their best self. Children are hard-wired to love and respect their parents, so if you have modeled for them a different dynamic (by parenting with fear, manipulation, coersion, or neglect, and/or by abdicating your responsibilities as a parent to parent-substitutes) and are now reaping what you have sown, then it's your own damn fault and you should shut up and quit complaining about it.
Ahh, okay, now I feel better.