Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Last week a friend of mine told me a story about a fight she had with her sister-in-law. She had asked her niece to watch her two kids(ages 14 and 17) for the weekend. Upon her return home, her niece told her that the 17 year old had been annoying all weekend. When she investigated it further, she found the following things had happened on Saturday:
1. Her niece told the 14 year old to ask the 17 year old if he wanted to go swimming, but the 14 year old neglected to do this as the 17 year old was just rolling out of bed. They left without him.
2. They called the 17 year old later in the day to see if he wanted to go to a graduation party with them. He said no since he didn’t know the person.
3. Around 8 pm, he called them and asked if they were all going to dinner. They said they had already eaten and he should just order a pizza. He tried to call a local pizza place. They did not pick up the phone. So he called them back and asked if they could bring him something and they agreed.
4. Around 10 pm, the niece, the 14 year old and the niece’s parents show up and give him McDonald’s. Most of the fries were eaten. Two bites were taken out of the sandwich. Half of the drink was gone. They said they had gotten hungry on the way to the house.
5. The next morning, the 17 year old asked his aunt and uncle if they could pick him up for church. They told him to drive himself.
When my friend found out this stuff, she was livid and then her sister-in-law told her that her son will have a hard time in college because he can’t do anything for himself. The argument got intense to say the least. My question is, when someone in your family criticizes your child (sometimes in front of him), what is the best way to handle it?
A Concerned Friend
Dear Concerned Friend,
Gosh, I miss the good old days, and by the good old days I mean the mid-80’s when my parents would just leave us for a week when we were 16 and 17 years old. I mean, sure there may have been a few parties and all (and oh, don’t tell my dad that the ‘vodka’ he drank from his liquor cabinet from 1984-1988 was actually 90% water), but during that week we both made it to school every day as well as to any commitments and work. But the most amazing thing we did was not starve because we could drive to the grocery store or even to the golden arches if the fries were calling our name.
I do have to say that if the 17 year old has a form of transportation, as his aunt and uncle declare, then why didn’t he just go get dinner? Or, here’s an idea, make a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal and eat an apple, because I don’t believe anyone else was required to feed a 17 year old. Now I understand that the niece was in charge of watching her cousins – but I’m not sure watching consists of preparing three squares for a functioning 17 year old who chose not to go with them that night. I mean, I don’t even cook a meal for my 9 year old now if I can get away with it. Turns out even she knows how to make a bowl of cereal when I let her.
Now as far as calling someone annoying…well that is super annoying and I certainly would not want anyone criticizing any child in front of him. But then again I don’t consider a 17 year old a child. Unless, of course, he can’t fix his own dinner. Hopefully by now your friend has cooled off and made nice with her family. Life’s too short to quibble over fries.
Tracy, Guest TMH