Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Battle of Wills

This morning I was chatting with a friend of mine whom I have known for about 14 years. The conversation eventually focused on his younger daughter, who is now in her early thirty's. Throughout the past, oh, I don't know, maybe 5 to 8 years, we have had this same conversation probably 3 to 4 times a year. The major focus is his daughter's penchant for the party type lifestyle. Believe me, I understand what he is talking about and most of the time he just uses me as a sounding board and I'm fine with that. But, every now and again, I have to kind of reign him in a little because he generally forgets that he can't live her life for her. Nor can he impose his will upon her. I think he is realizing, that as he gets older, he is running out of time to try and corral her. And she, being a bit of a free spirit, will be damned if she would stay still long enough to let that happen. It almost ended very tragically around 3 years ago when she totalled her car on the way back from visiting friends . She was very lucky that she was wearing her seat belt. Needless to say, he has been trying to make it his mission ever since.

I don't see anything wrong with trying to protect your children, in fact, I encourage it. However, there are certain things in life that you cannot force upon people. They have to want it. The more he pushes her, the more she balks. There isn't a snowball's chance in hell that she will ever admit to having a problem to begin with. So it kind of becomes a moot point. I've actually been privy to some of the wars of will and it was never pretty. The louder they screamed at each other, the smaller their ears got. Although words were coming out of their mouths, the dialogue ended as they let loose the first volleys. So, every now and again, she will do something stupid, he will try and impose his will on her and the stalemate remains the same. Pretty sad.

Our community has a number of facilities that deal with treatment for substance abuse. One of these groups sent around a letter seeking donations to help with additional funding. On the top of the sheet, the byline read, "10,000 local teens struggle with addictions!" It continued to deliver it's push for funding but I was jolted by the statistics it presented.

"25% of local high school students admitted they had a drug use problem when
surveyed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in 2007."
What they were saying was that about 10,000 of the 43,000 secondary students in the region are struggling with substance abuse. We're just talking about kids between the ages of 14 and 18 here! This is mind boggling. If this is typical of every community within our Province (plus or minus) and then you add up the averages across the country, I would say we have some serious issues on our hands. It makes me think of a comment I made sometime earlier. I really don't see what the huge rush is to become adults. What is wrong with just trying to be a child for awhile. Why do kids feel the need to be "all grown up" before they are ready?

As for my friend and his daughter, knowing more than I can tell you, there are issues other than what is seen on the surface. If she can't begin to get to those issues and deal with them in a healthy fashion, it could be years before either of them can enjoy anything more than superficial happiness.

9 comments:

Lover of Life said...

At some point not knowing everything that they are doing is a blessing...

BTW - Loved your comment on my blog about the seeds. It's very true.

Amel's Realm said...

Ahhh...battles of wills...I'm the type that if I'm told to do something with a fierce tone of voice, I'd balk...it's better just to let me make mistakes and learn from my mistakes...sorry to hear about your friend's daughter. I hope one day she realizes that she's endangering her own life (and maybe others, too, if she drives under the influence).

Drug problem...fortunately when I was at school age, I never knew anyone who sold or used drugs...thus I never knew the temptation or the pressure...but I'm also rather scared that if I have kids later on, what should I do to make sure that they stay out of drugs? Hmmmhhh...

Natalie said...

It is totally scary. I was thinking about it this morning. ARGH!

Michelle said...

Yes, it is terrifying really. We can only try to bring up our kids with awareness of the end result...

Lisa said...

at some point we need to hand their lives over to them- not easy but so necessary x

Audrey said...

Excellent post Bogey! Youth and addiction are an interesting phenomenon - it has always been there - I think, if I am honest, the stats were probably about the same when I was a teen. But what I find most frightening is WHAT the youth are becoming addicted to - crystal meth is beyond crazy to put into their young bodies and brains, yet they do so at alarming rates. I don't know if they start drugs to be gown up - I tend to think it is more as a means of fitting in. And then, some are pre-disposed to addiction and the "sampling" becomes a lifestyle. Tragic, isn't it?

I commented many posts back about Steven Adler of the band Guns n' Roses. It was a day I was feeling a bit down, and I had watched him showing up at a rehab centre totally wasted. In my anger/self pity, I wrote about how I was dying to live, and he was living to die!

lakeviewer said...

They grow up eventually.

Bogey said...

LoL, not knowing everything is fine, knowing they are "playing safe" would be nice.

Amel, if you are aware of how you deal with people in your face, don't you think your children will have a little of that in them as well? You were very fortunate to not be around that kind of atmosphere. It is pretty much everygwhere these days.

Natalie, I'm sure if you keep being the parent you are you won't have anything to worry about!

Michelle, Amen to that! Getting them to understand the consequences, now there's the rub.

Lisa, it may be easier to let go if you know they have an understanding of the dangers. Scary for sure.

Audrey, you should get a copy of this weeks Maclean's Magazine. There is an article/interview with a Harvard Psychologist who claims that his research suggests that addiction is not an illness, it's a choice. Yeah, kind of like choosing to have cancer or a heart attack. I don't know.......

Most do Rosaria, but some want to remain an adolescent as long as possible.

Winifred said...

You're right you can't impose your will on your children. They will make their own mistakes you just have to hope they'll get over their problems. Hard when they involve so much risk. However at over 30 she should have more sense by now but obviously hasn't. Just have to pray she doesn't kill herself or anyone else in the meantime.