To The Mom Who Criticized My Parenting In Front Of My Kid: Eff You

I've been doing this a long time. If you think I'm doing something wrong, keep it to yourself.

Dear Fellow Parents:

My teenage son said something out of the ordinary the other day when I scolded him for not picking up his dirty laundry:

"Mom, I don't understand your parenting."

This came from the mouth of a kid who typically talks about Minecraft, movies, and his girlfriend. Not much else, unless it involves gaming, eating, or having fun.

To say his comment sent up red flags is a bit of an understatement. Warning sirens signaled like an oncoming storm.

He doesn't "understand" my parenting? Which part? Wait. Where did this come from?   

When I asked him to elaborate, he withdrew, visibly uncertain how to respond. He twitched nervously, trying to change the subject.

After using a series of hardcore interrogation tactics like staring at him without blinking and threatening cell phone deprivation, he finally gave up intel: 

"So and so's parents think you have a weird way of parenting. They don't understand it and I guess, neither do I."

He went on to detail how you, fellow parent, thought I was too hard on him and didn't let him have enough fun. He should be allowed to stay up as late as he wants, even until three in the morning since it's summer, you said.

He shouldn't have to help with the yard work because that's for adults, you proclaimed. Grounding a kid and taking his stuff away isn't effective, you went on.

You even threw in some granola mumbo jumbo parenting advice, stating that, "Your mom should just talk with you when there's a problem. Communication solves everything. There's no need for anything beyond."

I know you said these things, because he 'd never think of this stuff on his own. He's too wrapped up in being a teen to get dragged down to this assh*le level of treachery.

So, here's what I have to say to you: First, BACK OFF. Enough said.

Second, you don't know this, but I know your kid well. While you're busy talking with him about hacking into a school website or communicating for the fourteenth time about how important it is not to be rude to teachers, he's already planning his next move.

He's talking about downloading illegal apps to the library server and posting nasty comments about Mrs. Smith. I know this because I'm the mom who periodically checks her kid's Facebook account.

It's my parental right and duty to ensure his safety online and have a clear understanding of who he's communicating with. It's not that I don't trust my son; it's that I don't trust yours.

But that still doesn't give me the right to criticize your hands-off, there-are-no-repercussions approach to parenting, ESPECIALLY in front of your child.

I wouldn't think of filling his head with confusing bullsh*t so his impressionable young mind begins to wonder who's right and who's wrong. Our parenting styles may differ, but that doesn't mean one is better than the other.

I'm more of a drill sergeant mom. There are rules. There are limitations. And there are absolute consequences for your actions.

I believe in being involved and setting boundaries. That doesn't make my parenting barbaric or cruel. I'm not exercising an antiquated form of parental torture.

Plus, I have years of experience. I've already raised two kids into adulthood. Neither has ever been in serious trouble. They're workhorses and completely self-sufficient.

One has built an entire house with his bare hands and can boast that it was done mortgage-free. The other is a walking ray of sunshine. He's the family rock. When I look at them, I don't see perfection; I see success  mine and theirs.

In case you've forgotten, let me remind you: This parenting gig is hard. There are days when I'd trade back-to-back root canals for the anguish of non-stop tantruming and teen eye-rolling.

Sitting in a dental chair alone with music serenading me? Heaven. Don't even get me started on the complimentary funny fumes. Better than a day at the spa.

Unlike the behavior you've demonstrated, I'm trying to take the high road and be the adult in this situation (give or take a few well-deserved jabs). If you don't understand my parenting, ask. You might learn something new.

I've been doing this a long time. If you think I'm doing something wrong, well, keep it to yourself. We all walk a different path. Mine may look beaten, but I can assure you that my kid isn't calling Mrs. Smith a b*tch online. If he did, he'd be grounded, lose all his stuff, and apologize.

So, rather than question or criticize, how about we band together? We parents have hard enough jobs without being jerks to one another. A little support and understanding really do go a long way.

And finally, if you feel so compelled to question my parenting in front of my teen ever again, be prepared. I'm nice, but I'm also highly trained in parental psychological warfare.


The Drill Sergeant Mom

P.S. Now drop and give me 20!

This article orginally appeared at Your Tango.

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