I have been away from my blog for quite some time. My life has been crazy. I have a 17 year old nephew living with me who lives in "I don't care what people think" land. I had not been responsible for his upbringing until 2 years ago when his mother (my sister) died. His mother truly existed in a state of not caring what others thought. This was the cause of many relationship issues in her life. She was estranged from most of her family for most of her adult life. She was brash and rude and dismissive. She said whatever came to mind regardless of how it would be received. She never considered the tone of her message. She simply didn't care what people thought. Her son inherited this from her and it has caused many problems in my home and at school.
I currently live in a home with a child who does what he wants and says what he wants. He does not do chores. He won't even clean up after himself. He refuses to show respect and has told me on multiple occasions that he doesn't respect me. He doesn't do well in school. He failed a class last year that required him to attend summer school. His punishment was to get up in the mornings every day during the summer and read so that he will be better prepared for his senior year and to take the ACT or SAT. I explained all of that to him. He called me "f*cking stupid". He did not get up 1 morning this summer to read. Literally. And ironically. This is his norm. When I found out that he had all Fs so far this year (his senior year), I told him that he would no longer be allowed to come home after school and lay around. I told him that I would be locking the door until 5:30 PM and that he needed to go to the library to complete the work he had been neglecting. He called me a "dumb b*tch". He tells me often that he doesn't care what I think. He doesn't care what the principals think. He doesn't care what the teachers think. Not only does he say these things, but he shows it in his actions. His parents did him a disservice. He believes that the opinions of others mean nothing to him.
I have tried to explain to him, in the last two years, that the opinions of other people are very important. In every aspect of our lives, we need people to have favorable opinions of us. When you are a student who has worked very hard in a class and have a 59 percent at the end of the semester. You hope that you have a teacher who thinks that you worked really hard. That you are respectful. That you are a person deserving of favor. You hope that the teacher thinks of you and gives you a D because they know that you deserve it because of all the effort you have made. When you are a jackass in class, and sleep, and don't complete work on time, your teacher thinks very little of giving you that extra point. They feel in no way obligated to give you the benefit of the doubt. And in this case, you don't deserve it. In a work environment, you will not get a raise or a promotion if your supervisor thinks poorly of you or your work. You will not be able to maintain interpersonal relationships if no one likes you because you are rude and nasty. None of this has registered with him. It is sad that he will enter adulthood with this mindset.
Everyone in the world is not going to like your child. I am not even suggesting that we teach our children to be likeable because that can be problematic. I am suggesting that we teach them to be good people. To care about people and to care about their feelings. To show basic human respect. To be humble and grateful. To work hard at whatever you do. To accept love. To accept correction. And to realize that everyday is a new day to start over when none of these things have fallen into place on the previous day.