I recently received a letter from a grandmother who told me her 14-year-old grandson is afraid of his single mother. When told this by her ex-husband, who was concerned, Mom said, “He’d better be!”
Mind you, the grandmother was not concerned in the least. She celebrated the fact, proudly reporting that her grandson is well-mannered, respectful, does well in school, performs chores willingly, etc..
I was afraid of my mother (who was single for most of the first seven years of my life).
But let me be clear: she never yelled, spanked or even threatened to spank. In other words, I was not terrified of my mother. But I was afraid of her.
The question is, why? The answer is that she conducted herself as if she was in complete control at all times. She acted like exercising authority over me was the most natural thing she’d ever done. She made it clear that she was not there to be my friend, playmate, go-fer or fixer. She expected me to entertain myself, do for myself and fix my own problems (although she did fix those I was incapable of fixing).
She was not, as are all too many of today’s moms (and dads), a vending machine to be taken for granted and disrespected when it doesn’t produce.
“John Rosemond,” she sometimes said, “you don’t need a mother right now and I’m not going to be one. Now, run along or I’ll put you to work around here.” And I ran along. And I was better off, although I rarely realized it.
A child does not possess the ability to comprehend such a natural display of power. Therefore, the child is “afraid.” I use the term to refer to a sense of respectful awe.
Sometimes, the child complains that this parent is “mean.” By that he means that he realizes the parent means what she says. That’s one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child, especially when it’s a woman giving it to a young man.
John Rosemond: rosemond.com