Thursday, March 16, 2017

The battle cry of every caring parent

When we managed student rental properties, this was an all too common response to any situation where the student had not kept to the agreement, and parents stepped in to 'help'.  It usually goes something like this:

"Please don’t treat my children like they’re stupid children, except when it’s my poor child who doesn’t know any better, because despite the fact I also work in the industry (or at least, in something vaguely related, close enough that I know enough jargon to hopefully scare you into submission) and I have first hand opportunity to teach them how the world works, but I didn't take it.  I chose instead to manipulate and misconstrue every rule in the book to have exemptions made for my child and teach them that personal responsibility and accountability apply to everyone but them.  So while you’re not allowed to discriminate against them because they’re a stupid, sorry, student, you MUST make exceptions for them because they’re a student, and most importantly, my child.  I will fight you to Kingdom Come if you dare try to get them to act like an adult and take responsibility for themselves.  Even though technically they are an adult and entered into a contract as an adult.  But they didn't know what they were signing because they didn't run it past me first, and if they had I would have told them to sign it anyway and we'd deal with the consequences afterwards, like I am doing right now in haranguing you until you find it easier to give in than continue to fend me off.  I can't believe you actually asked me to butt-out, which although you did that professionally and with some delicacy, it offended my parental sensibilities, as this is my child we are talking about, my precious child, and they are special and different from everyone else's.  And anyway you are being unfair and picking on unfortunates who cannot defend themselves (not that I've given them a chance to, don't worry Dear, I'll handle this), and you are exploiting them and their vulnerabilities, and we'll sort this whole matter out later anyway, when I've talked to my lawyer, when we return from our family Canadian ski holiday."

Yes, this really happens.  So many times it was a cliche.

I can count on one finger of one hand the number of times a parent said to us 'Yep, fair enough, my child didn't do what they agreed to do, and this is the consequence.  Please carry on teaching them about life, contracts and moral obligations, well done and thank you'.

I loved that parent.  The 'kid' took their parents advice and did as they were asked.  It all ended well, and I believe the world was a better place for it.

As for the others?  All special snowflakes melt down at some point, right?  I wasn't there for their particular Spring, thankfully.

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