GUEST BLOG POST: When Parents Make Mistakes by C. Lynn Williams
Parents are invincible…infallible…Human!
My husband and I saw Black Nativity last night and I am glad we did! Being a person of color, we usually support movies with African-American actors, directors, film writers during the first weekend the movie airs to support it financially. While I love, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett, I’m not crazy about musicals, so I almost missed a golden opportunity. If Black Nativity is still playing in your area, go see it! Anyway I digress… There was a line in the movie that absolutely spoke to me about PARENTING! Rev. Cobbs (Forest Whitaker), the estranged father of Naima (Jennifer Hudson) said “Parents make mistakes…I am so sorry that I meddled in your life.”
Have you ever felt that way about something that occurred between you and your teen or adult child? Were you able to admit it and have an honest conversation with your son or daughter? Or did pride keep you from opening the doors of communication with that person that you love with all of your heart and soul? The movie had another theme that has been really missing up my parenting theory about our teen (or twenty-something) daughters getting pregnant and having children without being married. When my daughter was a teen, we had the ‘SEX’ talk a few times. I wanted to make sure that she understood the consequences to getting pregnant. I felt (and told her) that she would have to move out if she got pregnant before getting married. I felt that way because she, her dad and I talked candidly about waiting until marriage to have sex; if she couldn’t wait then use birth control. I know you’re thinking OMG – it’s okay for her to have sex??? She did not get pregnant, but what if she had? Would I have made her leave home for this mistake? Would we have been estranged? What about her future? Would she have gone to college, grad school, become a professional woman?
Well, no I didn’t want her to have sex, but let’s be honest here; part of the teen experience is that LOVELY puberty that starts to occur to our kids when they turn 12 or 13. The boys you couldn’t stand in fifth and sixth grade, now start to look a little less like wimps and more like hotties! A kiss on the lips turns into raging hormones! Right?!? If your daughter loses control (and has sex) she’s screwed (no pun intended) unless she is taking birth control. Again I digress. So for mothers like me who take that hard line, what are our daughters supposed to do if they find themselves pregnant? She did not get pregnant, but what if she had? Would I have made her leave home for this mistake? Would we have been estranged? What about her future? Would she have gone to college, grad school, become a professional woman?
That was the dilemma of Mary (Grace Gibson), the very pregnant and homeless teen in Black Nativity. She said, “I made a mistake and got kicked out. I have nowhere to go, so here I am pregnant and homeless.”
The other theme that caught my interest was the relationship between the mom (Naima) and her teenaged son (Langston). God, she really loved him (and he loved her too), but as a single mom trying to make a living for the two of them, she was unequipped to offer him the masculine discipline & love that he needed to grow into a man. Well I won’t tell the entire story, but I’d like to end with this: if you and your son or daughter have not spoken to each other because of miscommunication or disappointments, reach out and call them and begin to mend the fences. There is nothing worse than not having an opportunity to say “I’m sorry” and having regrets for the rest of your life.
C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Author & Parent Coach
Trying to Stay Sane While Raising Your Teen (St. Paul Press, 2010)
The Pampered Prince: Moms Create a GREAT Relationship with Your Son (St. Paul Press, 2012)
Raising Your Daughter Through the Joys, Tears & HORMONES! (220 Communications, 2013)