mercredi, octobre 05, 2011

The legal and emotional implications of cutting loose my daughter

It was the email from her English teacher that tipped me over the edge this morning.

The DQ had only done the beginning of a paper. She'd failed her reading test.

When asked why, she'd told her teacher that her dad was in the ICU, and she was upset -- after a week and a half at home and in class to write the paper and prepare the assignment.

It's normal to be distressed when your dad is in the hospital. But she uses this kind of excuse often, and in many less tough circumstances.

I've been working every day to stay on top of her assignments (something many parents don't have to do with 16-year-olds).

When I saw the email, I called the DQ and left a message -- no privileges unless and until she starts getting her work done. And, by the by, how dare she use her dad as an excuse? Had she no shame?

Almost immediately a text came back: She would emancipate herself. I wasn't her mother! I would NEVER be her mother!

I have to admit, I enjoyed the idea for a few moments.

Then common sense kicked in. I don't think she could actually get "emancipated." There's no neglect, no abuse -- bickering and tears don't constitute grounds for emancipation.

Not to mention that I want her to succeed -- and she still needs our help.

I'm not the wisest mother, nor always consistent.

But I'm making a full court press to follow through.

And her dad and I have seen evidence of change -- teachers report a polite, engaged, and responsive teenager.

Except when it comes to classwork, and homework.

The DQ does have to emancipate herself. But right now she seems to think that this is about failing to live up to the expectations of others.

Instead, it may be about freeing herself to truly explore and appropriate her deep potential.

I can't do that for her.

But darn it, I'm still her mother. And I have to act that way -- whether she likes it, or not.

Whether I like it, or not.

Guess what kind of day it is today.

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