I see discussions where parents are all trying to figure out how to keep their children safe. Safe from drugs, addictions, porn, etc. etc. and I just have an entirely new perspective of those things these days.
I obviously do think it’s important for parents to guide their children and to try and mold them into decent, moral and kind people but the thing I think we parents often forget is how we need to have a relationship with our children and at some point that means allowing them the freedom to make mistakes.
I expected perfection from Anthony. And in my presence, he was everything I expected him to be. But outside that? He was a normal person and he made choices I disagreed with. He smoked pot, he tried other drugs, he went to strip clubs and he didn’t always see how those things contributed to his stress in life. BUT he also couldn’t talk to me about any of them because he knew I would not stand for it. Me not standing for it did not get him to stop doing it.
So here’s my advice. And it’s kind of dark and it may seem like I’m saying it’s hopeless, but I’m not. You can not keep your children safe. I left my son safe sitting on the couch in my living room. He is still dead.
My advice is to love your kids, have open conversations with them and allow them to talk things out with you even if the conversation leaves you sitting alone with your eye twitching because what they decided to do is gonna end badly and you know this. Let go of the reins little by little as they grow up and be there when they come to you and say they made a mistake. Don’t lecture them on how you knew they were going to need you, just bail them out of jail and take them to eat and tell them you love them and help them learn from those mistakes.
Do not be so worried about having the perfect kids that you forget to appreciate the fact that they are alive, even if they are making mistakes. My three youngest kids are not coping with Anthony’s suicide in healthy ways and I’m just standing by loving them. My eye certainly does twitch when they open up to me, but my God if they can’t come to their mother and be real, they will surely be lost. Poor Anthony certainly couldn’t and he certainly was lost.
That’s my parenting advice for today. You may not like it, you may think I’m insane with grief, but I’m telling you, you can’t stop bad things from happening to your children. If that was possible, Anthony would not be in a grave.