A local morning radio DJ recently asked listeners to call in with stories of their worst birthdays.
A woman called in saying not one of her three grown sons bothered to call to wish her a happy birthday. She was most upset by her oldest son whom she explained is currently living out of his car.
He still shows up unannounced and sleeps in her guest room. Furthermore, he “smells real bad,” so she always has to wash the sheets afterwards.
This poor mother was baffled how her own son, who imposes himself on her all the time, couldn’t even be bothered to call on her birthday.
The radio DJ was sympathetic. I rolled my eyes.
Sure, sure, it sounds like she has some pretty selfish sons. Especially the oldest one. Sure, sure. But I couldn’t help wondering how the hell her son ended up like this. If he’s a grown man why is he living out of his car?
Or, even better, what kind of mother lets her child get to this point? That’s the question she should be asking herself.
A friend of mine at one of the local school districts has worked with troubled youth for ten years. I asked for her take on the story.
“I can pretty much guarantee if a kid puts himself down a “bad path” the vast majority of the time it’s due to the parents.”
Maybe it’s under-parenting: they’re negligent and don’t watch over their kid. Or maybe it’s over-parenting: they’re so smothering the kid starts getting into stupid shit just to rebel.
Either way, you can pin the hairy tail of responsibility on the parents’ misguided asses. Kids are blank slates and on these blank slates parents get to paint the most beautiful works of art, or the most vile graffiti.
Yes, sometimes kids are born with conditions that may lead to certain behaviors. Yes, sometimes kids have friends who are ‘bad influences.’
But ultimately, if a kid turns out to be a fuck-up of the living-out-of-his-car magnitude, it’s probably because of something the parents did, or failed to do.
Yes, sometimes there are circumstances outside parents’ control. Yes, sometimes parents do everything they’re supposed to but their kid still gets…