Monday, April 26, 2010

Bad eggs

It's unfair to blame the parents for a bad egg's behavior.  I've witnessed this in many families and among friends. A nice, respectable, responsible couple will raise a child or multiple children and something will go wrong with one of them. You know the kid. There's one in every family. He still lives at home at age 30.  She's in her sixth year of college, but still hasn't declared a major.  He's been arrested three times this year and been unemployed since this time last year.  She has three kids by different fathers and a drug problem.

Why and how does this happen?  Blame it on birth order, blame it on over-indulgence, blame it on genetics, but don't blame it on the parents.  I spent most of yesterday in the hospital ER because two "bad eggs" decided to get drunk, hop in a two-person ATV, and then flip it.  Both survived, but this was just one more story in an epic saga of car accidents, police arrests, etc.  Their parents waited outside their rooms, wringing their hands with worry and awaiting their prognoses.

I heard one of the patients (age 34) remark to his mother that his behavior was her fault because she doesn't love him enough.  He drinks because of this reason.  Never mind that he still lives at home, has little to do with his own four children by three different mothers, and is abusive toward the woman who rushed to the accident scene half-dressed and without pausing to brush her hair.  This is the same woman who never missed a parent meeting or baseball practice when she was raising him all by herself, and the person who still pays his bills and never closes her eyes at night without praying for his safety.

Even so, he blames her for all of his problems.  And he has a lot of them.  This was his second major accident in a week, just following his most recent arrest.  I guess what I find most upsetting is that these parents DO blame themselves for their children's mistakes.  No one else needs to point a finger in their direction; they already feel responsible and like general failures as parents.

It disgusts me. I pray that my girls don't turn out like these people, but I know that it is a possibility beyond my control.  It happens to good people, good parents all the time.  I just hope that if it does, I am able to withstand the manipulation and guilt that these rotten eggs seem to enjoy wielding toward the only people who still give a damn about them.          

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