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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions



As a parent, your wish is to keep your children happy and healthy. When they are little you protect them from anything that might harm them, either physically, emotionally, or mentally. This is usually very easy to do since you have complete control over their environment. When they start school it becomes harder to protect them. You still have control over their environment to a certain degree, but their world has been opened up to new situations and populations. In the first few years of school you become adept at skirting possible adverse situations and continue to keep your child safe. As the years fly by your child starts making some of their own decisions and choosing their friends and their world opens up even more. You have two choices now as a parent - you can allow them to make some decisions and have your child "own" their decision and any consequences that may incur, or you can choose to continue to try and control your child's environment and consistently struggle with your child in maintaining this control.





We have chosen to allow our new teenager to make some of her own decisions and to take ownership of said decisions. Of course we are very choosy in which decisions are allowed to be hers and our up most desire is to keep her safe. But, she needs to learn how to make decisions and how to learn from her mistakes.





As most of you know, we are sending our children to a "nice Catholic school" and the children in our daughter's class are not so nice, especially to her. Last year was a terrible year for her, and consequently for us. She really struggled socially with the idiots in her class. You know how every class had a kid that gets picked on? Well, that was our daughter last year. Quite frankly, we don't even like most of the kids in her class anyway and would not want her "hanging" out with them. Most of them are headed for trouble. We were contemplating pulling Cassie out of this school and homeschooling her for next year, her 8th grade year. Cassie decided that she did not want to leave the school she has been at since kindergarten, she wants to graduate next year. Her decision, she is owning it, she is at peace with it.


Cassie is a very sweet and sensitive girl and she is very trusting. She doesn't know how to play the stupid "girl" games, and because of these traits, she is an easy target. One girl in particular is her nemesis. She will call Cass and pretend to be her friend and then stab her in the back the next day. We have told Cassie over and over that she is not a true friend...but because she is such a trusting girl and views the world through rose colored glasses, she falls for this girl's false friendliness every time. Sometimes you just need to learn the hard way....



Before we went camping this girl called Cassie and wanted to "hang out". You no longer "play" together when you are 13, just so you know!! This girl came over and we all went swimming for the afternoon. At one point in the afternoon we were outside by the pool and she was in the house by herself (remember this point). When we were done swimming the kids watched a movie and then we all went out for dinner. After dinner we took this girl home.



The next day Cass and I went to the bank to open her first savings account. She has been babysitting and had $160 to deposit in the bank. That is alot of babysitting money, money she earned. At the bank we were dismayed to find $40 missing from her wallet. We immediately went home and searched her room, to no avail. The money was gone....we suspected the "friend".



Cassie called the friend and asked her if "by chance" the money "fell" into her bag. The girl "checked" and said that the money was not in her bag "or in her pants' pocket" (why would she say that???).



I immediately called her mother and explained the situation to her. She told me she would look into it....I have not heard back from her. It has been 3 weeks. The money is gone...we are sure she took it.



A lesson learned, the hard way. Cassie was very upset, of course. We did not want this girl to come over, but Cassie did. We allowed her to make the decision, unfortunately these are difficult consequences to deal with. Surprisingly enough, this girl called again to "hang out". Wisely Cassie told her no. I think she has learned a valuable lesson, I just wish it was easier. My first thought was to give her the $40, but what would she have learned then? I think the more the lesson hurts, the more learning that is obtained. In the next few years she will have many more decisions to make, some will have dire consequences. She will need to know how to deal with the offer of drugs/alcohol, the decision to have sex with her boyfriend, to get in a car with someone who has been drinking....these are life threatening decisions. I hope we are preparing her for these.....I think we are.



Last week she tested for her yellow belt in karate. During the testing and evaluation she broke a board with her fist. We were very proud of her.



Later that night I said to her - "too bad "friend" didn't see you break that board....I bet she would think twice before she stole from you again" - does that make me a bad person for saying that???? Cassie just gave me a sweet little smile.....no....I didn't really feel like a bad person!!!

12 comments:

Jeni said...

Nope! After the circumstances you put forth here, your comment about breaking the board definitely does not make you a bad person, not in the least!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

You are nicer than me, I'd have probably said something more like "hey, take that board and go smash it over friend's head!"
It makes me so mad when kids bully.
I hope she has a better year next year!

Heather said...

I'm so sorry Cassie has to deal with a girl like that. It's frustrating to say the least. You made the right choice in not giveing her the money. I remember vividly when some money I had was stolen, along with a brand new purse I bought earlier that day. I assumed my mom would replace both, but I assumed wrong. AS difficult as it was, I learned a lot about taking care of my own things.

Allowing my kids to make decisions is a bit frightening. My oldest is almost 9, so it will be starting soon. (He has made good decisions about friends thus far - I hope it continues)

And yay Cassie for your Yellow belt! That's awesome!

karisma said...

Life is full of challenging moments and decisions. You are doing just fine! She does need to learn who to trust herself. Trust me, my 3 girls have all been there, done that. TC was very much like Cassie. We were going to pull her out of school also at the same age. She decided to stay. Again last year we talked about pulling her out. Once again she stayed. In her case she was in the same situation as Cassie but by last year she became much more confident and fearless. She takes no crap from anyone these days. Even the teachers! LOL!

As for the not so nice "friend". I tell my kids that we can only feel sorry for people like that. If they feel the need to be so horrible to others, they can't be very happy in themselves. Its really sad.

Stella said...

I don't think you're a bad person for that!

I'm sorry that Cassie has to deal with girls like that! What I've found is that when girls like that want to be around wonderful people like Cassie it's because they see how great she is and how wonderful she is. Yes, it's partly about taking advantage but I think part of it is because they see that Cassie is such a great person and they want to know her.

That's very little consolation for a teenager but as her mom you should be very proud to have raised such a wonderful young woman!

Irene Latham said...

What a tough situation for all of you! We want so much to protect them from the harsh realities of life, but you know, it really is true "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." What better time to get stronger than when you still have your parents in the house to catch you? Kudos to you for allowing Cassie some decision-making power. There are many issues (of course) that kids just aren't equipped to make decisions about and it's then that we parents MUST step in and shelter them. Sigh. Tough job, this parenting biz. But yeah, karate is great!! One of mine did it for 2 years. Very confidence-building. I see good things happening there. xxoo

Mother Goose said...

cassie, is a great girl. she really is special and the world needs more people like her. MY DAD is one who is very trusting and continues to trust even when scorned. i believe it is a talent and a spiritual gift to be so christlike. everyone has their agency. they will answer one day.

Mamarazzi said...

bummer!

we had a similar situation at our house last month (i blogged about it). CRAZY! it would have NEVER occured to me to take something that didn't belong to me. at least "friend" didn't take ALL of Cassie's money, that would have been an even harder lesson.

J still talks about the "friend" who stole from her. i think she was soooo willing to forgive in the beginning, out of not understanding the gravity of the situation, i think the mor she has thought about it the more angry she gets.

life lessons are the hardest of them all...

Jan said...

I think you and Cassie each handled this situation well. I will say that 'breaking that board' might be worth 40 bucks.

Jennifer said...

You did the right thing. It hurts to watch our children hurt, but they have to learn, sometimes the hard way. She will be a much better, much stronger person for it.
BTW, I took my kids out of their "nice" Catholic school two years ago and I haven't looked back. Hands down, it was the best thing I could have done for my kids. Good luck!

Becky said...

Bless her heart! I don't know why kids...girls...have to be so mean!!! And, to steal!!! That is just infuriating!
Good for her on her karate accomplishments! I think she should make this group of kids at school aware of her abilities! :o)

Debra W said...

I love what Jan said about how breaking that board must have been worth about $40.00!

My heart goes out to both you and Cass. It's so hard to deal with people who have different ethics than we do. You are teaching her to listen to her own instinct and that will serve her very well.

Hugs,
Deb