Old Enough to Know Better
RSM recently talked about her relationship with her mother and gave some examples of punishments she received growing up. It made me think of me and my mom, and some of the things we went through when I was growing up.
My parents were great at punishments. I'm sure I stretched their imagination a time or two, because I was always getting in trouble, but they sure never let me down in my belief that their sole purpose in life was to make me miserable. The simplest thing they did, and the one that caused me the most heartache, was that they would never ground me for a definite time frame. When my friends screwed up, they got grounded for two weeks, or a month, or whatever their parents deemed appropriate. When I screwed up, how long did I get grounded? "As long as I feel like it." was my dad's standard response. It made making plans a real pain in the butt.
Some of the better punishments my parents came up with involved touring a working convent, moving my bed into their room (when I got caught sneaking out at night), and threatening to throw all my clothes away and buy me nothing but Tommy Hilfiger instead. I know to some people that probably would've been a dream come true, but I hung out with the goths and the skaters and the punks. It would've been hell. Actually, this must've been the most effective threat that my mother ever came up with, because it never actually progressed past the threat stage.
I actually moved out of my parents house the first time because of a punishment that I felt was unfair. I had stayed out past curfew (my 11:00 curfew at 18 years old and already graduated from high school), and when I got home, my dad was waiting up for me. No big surprise there, but what he did next pissed me off to no end. He made me sit in the living room and stay awake ALL NIGHT LONG. Looking back, I see his point, that I made him miss sleep, so he would make me miss sleep, but at the time I was livid enough to pack up all my stuff the next day and move in with some friends. And I do still to this day think 11:00 is a ridiculous curfew for an 18 year old high school graduate.
Luckily, my parents and I both survived adolescence with very few psychological scars, and we're closer now than ever. It's amazing what grandkids will do to mellow a person out.