Passionately Passive Parenting

This post is part of the “Blogging from A-Z April Challenge”! The “P” themed inspiration for today is “parenting.” Enjoy!

Parents. Mine are pretty decent, but our understanding of each other is exceptionally limited. For the first part of my life I was a classic overly protected child. Eg: As a skinny grade-fiver I was forced to sit in car seats because my mother insisted that I was too light to go without them. Like…not only in our car but in anyone else’s car I got in. School field trips were the bane of my existence.

This manic protective phase was intense and it carried on right up until mid-highschool.
And then I guess they just gave up.
I almost feel bad for them. It’s like they put on a good show and then just as I approached adolescence they couldn’t keep up the act.
And it’s fine now; I’m a passably responsible young adult, I just find their feeble last tries at parenting kind of hilarious.
I’m talking about statements like:

“Don’t get sick.” ( …because sometimes I forget, and revert back to my habits of licking the seats of toilets in public bathrooms…so the reminder is nice.)

“Be safe.” (I get this ALL the time from both parents, which is fine, it’s just that the words themselves do quite little in protecting me. But they ACTUALLY believe that by telling me to ‘be safe’ I will be untouchable. They feel comforted that by saying these two words they cannot be blamed for any unsafe situation I may get into. Going to hang out in dark alleys? “Be safe!” Running drugs over the border? “Be safe!” Becoming a certified lion tamer? “Just be safe!”

“Stay dry.” (This was said to me by my father as I left the house on the way to dance on an exceptionally rainy day after having denied allowing me to borrow any umbrella. For some reason my entire family has a completely irrational obsession with who gets to use what umbrella and under what circumstances. I left an umbrella on a bus ONCE and have since been banned from using any umbrella other than a child’s sized one I got at the aquarium when I was five that has cartoon sea creatures on it and reads: “Friends of The Sea!” We quite literally have at least fifteen umbrellas amongst the four of us, yet even if the rest of the family is staying in for the day it’s “Friend’s of The Sea” for me or nothing.)

“Don’t fall down the stairs!” (I swear to you this is my mother’s greatest fear. Our kitchen is located at the top of the stairwell in our house and any time I get within 10 feet of the steps while not directly looking at them to acknowledge their dangerous presence, she sees my life flash before her eyes. We used to have an animal/baby gate to protect us from the evils of gravity, until as a HUMAN TEENAGER I requested the privilege to not have to ‘let myself out’ just to get down the stairs. No one has ever fallen down them. Ever. No one has stumbled. No one has tripped. BECAUSE no one has such appalling spatial awareness or lack of knowledge of the geography of the home they’ve lived in for most of 19 years, but still, morning, noon, and night: “watch out for the stairs!”

(Sidenote…okay so maybe I am a huge klutz and she has some reason to be concerned. See: https://sohelpmecats.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/failure-the-grand-escalator-exodus-of-nyc/ But still, this is not NYC, it’s 15 spaced out steps with railings on both sides.)

And the grand finale: “Get home safe…or if you’re not coming home tonight…okay…well, just…come home if you want. I’m just trying to acknowledge that you’re leaving in a parenty way but clearly it’s a bit stale.” -My mother.

Ah parents, they do their best to keep you protected for a while, but after that you just have to pat their tired heads, give them a treat, and tell them they’ve done well.

Are you a victim of non-comittal parenting?

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6 thoughts on “Passionately Passive Parenting

  1. I was pretty much a feral child. No seat belts, got to walk uptown by myself starting in third grade, and was told in high school that I didn’t have a curfew “but you are not missing school/church/work tomorrow. No matter how late you stay out, no matter if you have a 103 degree fever. You can stay out til 3 in the morning, but you still have to do you daily duties.”

  2. My parents followed the ‘front porch school of child rearing’ which meant that if you kept the chilluns on the porch at all times they would stay out of trouble. I learned to climb the railing at an early age. Poor mom and dad. I drove them nuts.

  3. Pingback: Mew, Mew, it’s The A-Z Challenge, in Review! | ...So Help Me Cats

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