How did we stay so normal?


Teaching our kids how to survive in this world is the prime function of any parent I believe. Sometimes we get it wrong but most of the time we muddle through and get it right in a fashion.

Teaching kids the difference between right and wrong can be trying at the best of times but extremely rewarding when they get what you are teaching them.

We all have our own standards that we learned as children ourselves. I grew up in the era when the words “wait until your father gets home” struck fear to the very core. You were taught respect to your elders and manners were never something to think about because they were automatic.

When you have your own kids you remember your childhood, and your partner does the same, then between you the decisions of how to raise your own children is established, based on what you perceive as positives and negatives from your memories.

I am a great believer in the old expression that “manners maketh man”. The boys learned their pleases and thank yous very early on. I am pleased that on several occasions I have been complimented on their manners. The use of them has diminished since school as they are something that doesn’t get reinforced there. I think it is a sad reflection on society that manners are thought so very little of. At home the boys are reminded to use them and they do. D uses them more of the time than M, and I do wonder if M doesn’t use them because he doesn’t want to stand out as being different for yet another reason.   He has previously commented on being bullied for using them so it is kind of understandable, if not acceptable when he doesn’t!

As an ASD parent, rules become very important. The boys have to have the boundaries they are expected to live within. I remember an early conversation with one of Ms P1 teachers and trying to explain that if she needed him to do things make them rules and he would be more likely to conform than making requests of him. It was soon learned by the school the truth of that when the nicely approach used with most kids just didn’t work for him!

We do tend to jump on bad behaviours in the house. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between tantrum and meltdown, but you just have to hope you get it right. The stairs are our naughty step, and it does get used a great deal! M gets very upset if sent there and will usually calm down fairly quickly. D on the other hand, is so stubborn, that when he has backed himself into a corner, he just doesn’t know how to come down so will often keep it going because he can’t do anything else.

The problem this week with the Olds here is, they enjoy baiting the boys, especially D. The know which buttons to press to set him off, or how to get M to do it for them, and then they almost glow as they watch the horror unfold before them. It is evil. There is no other word to describe it. You tell them to stop and you get huffed at for hours, and the sucked lemon look goes on their face – if you are unsure what I mean by this, try sucking something sour and see how it contorts your face. It is an impossible situation. I am in a loose loose situation. If I tell the kids off, I am being made to feel like a bad parent, if I don’t tell the kids off I am actually being told I am a bad parent! It doesn’t help that Hubbys Mum doesn’t accept the diagnosis for either boy, and according to her, M is just shy and will grow out of it, and D is just plain evil, and like me!

Hubby and I have often spoken about how we grew up so “normal”.      Both Old people are not in the best of health, and I do wonder if that is part of their ill humour.    A reason though and not an excuse if this is the case, especially as neither of them are honest with their GP’s about what is wrong with them.      I am sure if both of them got their hearing tested life would be so much easier for all of us for a start!

I do get upset by them.    For almost 12 years, I have tried my hardest to break my MIL down and get her to stop the negativity.   I can’t help being English, but like many people in this area, she believes anyone from south of the border is devils spawn – she forgets she is only a 2nd generation Scot, and I am only a 2nd generation English with a Scottish Granny, so I think that pretty much cancels out that irrational hatred and makes us both Brits!       These days, rather than confront her nastiness, I do tend to steer clear of her.   I am the sort of person who gets on with most people, I might not always agree with them but I can respect different points of view, I am though also quite stubborn, and I refuse to let her beat me, and  while sometimes her attitudes make me cry – in private, I will keep going back, because one day she will acknowledge that if she likes it or not, Hubby chose me over her!

My Mum used to be really vibrant, but her self-imposed laziness has not just taken a toll on her physically, but also on her mentally.     I grew up in a loving home, that she created for us.      I do not know when she came so bitter and twisted, but it has happened over the years.    Sometimes you still see a glimmer of the old her, and that I think is what keeps me hoping that she hasn’t disappeared totally.

My worry is that is they don’t stop and think of their behaviour, then what are the boys going to remember of their Grandmothers?    How positive will these memories be for them?     The thought of them not remembering them fondly I find really upsetting.     They might not be as physically active as many kids Grannies, but that shouldn’t stop them wanting to interact with them, and to enjoy this time in their lives as well as the boys.    The boys are growing up fast, and have more and more things to do away from the house, with the likes of Cubs and Beavers, their time becomes limited.   Will they want to be spending it with 2 miserable old bags or with 2 people who give of themselves to make them happy?     A silly question I know.

I am saddened by the atmosphere they create and joked to Hubby we should go away for Christmas next year, other than I would hate not to be at home – I worked Christmas Day for many years when I worked in hotels, and felt sorry for people not being able to slob after their meal, I just know I couldn’t abandon them.

In the mean time, I just think, as girls we grow into a form of our mothers, but I know that I use her as an example of what not to become, and while no girl will ever be good enough for my babies, I will never become so bitter and twisted that I try to bring everyone down with me!


3 responses »

  1. I often wonder how you both grew up to be not just normal, but to have found your own way as parents in the face of such challenges. So it’s interesting (and sad) to hear more detail about your mum’s decline. In fact you and Neil are sandwiched between two difficult generations so whatever your mum did positively for you in the past it seems to have made you into a strong grounded person to cope with this, plus of course what you have decided to make of your own life.

    I am so lucky that my parents are improving with age! But I would say that through the worst of things, what my mum did give to me were the values that you should always do your best to make things work for you, even if you had very little, and that was enough to keep me going through the more difficult times.

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