“12 Rules For Life” Series, Part 5

Almost halfway through the book and we are on chapter/rule 5 which is ” do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them”. As a soon to be father, I paid extra attention to this rule. I would never say that I know how to be a parent yet because this is the first time I have done this, but the one thing I tell people is I do know what I WON’T do with my children.

I’d like to start by saying none of this is a critique of my mother, she absolutely did the best she could and knew how and I would never fault her for anything that happened when we were young. Growing up, I was the youngest of two and my sister was 7 years older than me. Single parent home with a Grandma that also lived with us we did not have the traditional nuclear family, which is something I have mentioned before, but our home life was not made any easier by the behavior of my sister and myself.

There is not really a nice way to say that we caused problems. A lot of problems. From, depression, trouble both with grades and behavior in school, drug problems, friend and girl problems, the list is very long of the things we are not proud of. Even after my sister left the house, after I got into highschool, that was really the beginning of the worst of my problems a youth as well. I think my sister was a little harder to control than I was, but I also think at that time in her life my mom was tired, and didn’t have the energy for what I was dishing out 7 years after my sister had done the same.

We both got into it so bad with my mom at times that we moved out. Both had serious problems with drugs and alcohol in our youth. Both barely graduated highschool. As dark as it might sound and many people may not agree, I think part of the problem is that neither of us had any fear of my mom. My mother would never abuse us, but we got spanked as a kid which I don’t think is a bad thing. But I don’t JUST mean a physical fear. The punishments we got for whatever we had done, rarely stuck unless there was no way to get out of it.

My mom worked all the time because she had to in order to provide for her family, so we were afforded time away from whatever restriction she had implemented until she got home. Many times she forgot she had grounded us from something, and sometimes if you complained about it enough she would give in and overturn the punishment. At a certain point I knew she was smoking weed but was being told I wasn’t allowed to. Which is not by any means absurd but gone unexplained to a child it can seed resentment. The boundaries we had were not always clearly outlined.

I think it’s possible that part of this comes from exactly what Dr.Peterson warns of in this chapter. My mom said to me many times that she loved me with all her heart, but sometimes she didn’t like me very much. I’m sure she said the same to my sister at least one time. I don’t think this is ureasonable. In this chapter there are a few stories that make it easier to begin to understand, by those who are hesistant, that it is only logical as a human-being to not look forward to spending time with someone who is constantly doing things you don’t want them to, even if that person is your child.

As I said above, my mother did the absolute best that she could and I 100% believe that. For a lot of reasons, many financial and social, I don’t believe my mother was afforded the chance to give her all at any one problem because she had so many that she had to deal with at one time. It’s one of the reasons I hold true now that two-parent households, in many cases, are important to all individuals meeting their full potential. I truly think that if this were the case for our family, mom would have had the opportunity to implement this rule I think is vital for all parents, to not let your children do things that make you dislike them. Not only for your own sanity and ease of raising your children, but to allow the two of you to establish and maintain the best relationship possible. This is absolutely something I will implement when Dax arrives.

Donavan Phillips