My first thought — and it’s a bad one — after learning that actress Debbie Reynolds died Wednesday night from a stroke, only a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died after a heart attack was this:
Really, she couldn’t let her daughter be. Couldn’t let her daughter have her own moment of remembrance. Had to upstage her, again.
Yes, I know evil, but you might have thought it, too, or you might have thought that it was really sweet that Debbie Reynolds reportedly said she wanted to be with her daughter.
Theirs was a complicated relationship, for sure. The public really only knows about it from pictures of taken when Carrie Fisher was growing up as well as from Fisher’s own writing in books like “Postcards from the Edge.”
Their relationship — or at least the public persona of it — reminds me of some of the unhealthy relationships I see as a fellow parent and as a Girl Scout troop leader:Parents living vicariously through their children. Parents not allowing their children to make their own choices. Parents who speak for their children instead of teaching their children how to talk to adults. Parents not allowing their children to suffer the real consequences of their actions. Parents waiting hand and foot on their children and not requiring their children to have any responsibilities in the forms of chores. Parents checking the online grading system every day. Parents emailing the teacher and fighting their children’s battles for them. Parents doing their children’s homework for them — especially when it comes to science fair projects. Parents who post on Facebook all the achievements that Johnny did that day, and yet never post that Johnny also stole a friend’s iPad and was in detention. Parents who give in and give in and give in to whatever whim their children want. Parents who are going broke doing so. Parents who haven’t taught their children basic life skills such as how to manage money, how to load and unload a dishwasher, how to do the laundry, how to cook a few basic meals, how to drive. Parents who want to be the cool mom or the cool dad rather than the parent who sets expectations, limits and consequences. Parents who don’t really want to parent.
And so, if you have observed all of those things, or have perhaps done all of those things, what is a parent to do?
In the past year, we’ve really taken a hard look at some of the parenting skills or lack there of we’ve observed, and talked to a few experts about it.
And so, we have some recommended reading for you:
“Your Kid’s a Brat and It’s All Your Fault,” by Elaine Rose Glickman for parents of the toddler, preschooler and elementary school set.
“The Collapse of Parenting,” by Dr. Leonard Sax for parents of preteenagers and teenagers, especially.
By the way, I’m not perfect either. I’ve probably done every single one of those things I listed and I’m currently waiting for my 13-year-old daughter to announce what food I need to fetch her for dinner because she can’t stand the food currently available to her.