Becoming THAT Parent
I made a deal with my daughter when I bought her a car. SHE was responsible for everything.
So, when I was borrowing her car and realized the registration was out of date, I didn’t quite handle it smoothly.
Back Up A Tick
Raising her, I was very adamant that the lessons be learned, rather than things go by what’s easiest for me. It’s often very easy to just appease our kids, rather than holding to an agreement – or accepted way of behavior.
Don’t take care of the car and you don’t get to keep it. That’s pretty simple, right?
Well, she hasn’t quite taken care of the car. She’s also been a bit low on money, so I’ve “borrowed” the car and filled the tank while I had it. When she had the opportunity to travel, I may have pitched in the insurance money that cycle. When she was busy working and trying to get ready for college, I took the car and got it inspected – including a couple bits that needed fixing.
These were all things that she should have been doing, but I kind of did them to help her out – knowing she was a bit overwhelmed and under-paid. Each time I did something like that, a conversation followed about planning financially and making sure responsibilities are taken care of.
But, This Time
Digging through the old mail, I found the car registration form and promptly went online to pay it and “just get it taken care of.”
Wait! When did THAT happened?
When did it become OK for me to just do it – because it’s easier – than to force the lesson?
I was actually more mad at myself at this point than I was at her. I mean teenagers aren’t the most reliable. We kind of expect that… even though we don’t really like it.
Did I do all the other things because it was easier… or to help her out? Great! Now, I’m questioning myself.
I sent her a text saying she needed to take care of the registration. I even sent her the info she needed to finish it online. She even has one of my credit cards, so she didn’t need to pay for it – just get. it. done!
“OK, Pops. I’m on it!”
So… here’s a little bit of truth… Since she had the car, I couldn’t finish the registration. I needed the odometer reading. THAT’S what really stopped me from just doing it. I mean it’s better that she do it. It is the lesson that she needs to take care of responsibilities. But, the reality is, I’m THAT parent that would just do it because it’s easier.
It’s OK. It’s OK. I didn’t actually do it… I’m making her do it… come down off the ledge, Stu.
About two weeks later, I send her a text asking if the registration is taken care of.
“Not yet. I have to wait until I get paid…”
So, now I have a conundrum. Just pay it? Get it done? Or wait, frustratingly that she’s not even out of college and already living paycheck minus one to paycheck?
At what point is it OK for us as parents to just let go of the “everything is a lesson” mentality and get back to us as people and doing what’s easiest for us?
I got nothing! I should just be happy that she’s waiting to pay it when she can, rather than just using my credit card.