Something to ponder

Even though we don't have children yet, Nate and I enjoy watching the NBC show "Parenthood." (Well ok, I probably enjoy it just a tad bit more than he does, but he does watch every episode with me so I give him credit for that!) I think it is a very well done show that has so many levels - family dynamics, communication, drama, joy. Many real life issues that families deal with.

Last week's episode was thought provoking in a way. One of the characters, Haddie, is dating a guy that her parents do not approve of her seeing. He is older than her and is dealing with adult issues and while he was up front with her parents about all of it, they made their wishes clear, she cannot date him right now. Of course, Haddie refused to listen to them and continued to sneak around behind their backs even after being grounded, culminating in her mother saying "you live in our house, you abide by our rules." Next think you see is Haddie showing up on the doorstep of her grandparents asking to stay there for awhile - and that was the end of the episode.

After we watched it, Nate actually said, "wow, how do you handle that kind of situation?" I started thinking about it and remembered - while it was not to nearly this severe of a degree, I dated a guy my parents didn't approve of before Nate. Yes shocker, there were boys before Nate. Not many mind you, but a couple. And there was one that was very difficult for my parents.

We'll call him "B". It's not that B was a bad person or anything like that. But he was different. My first boyfriend, who we'll call "D" was friendly, outgoing, polite and a bit of a charmer. He'd talk to my dad on the phone for five minutes before I even had a chance to jump on. It was a short lived relationship, but a parent's dream in a first boyfriend. After D and I were finished, I was burned a few more times by some others and so when B started paying attention to me I liked it. He had long hair, he was a musician, he seemed kind of dark and mysterious. And he liked talking to me in class. So I asked him to homecoming. And pretty soon even though it was never "official" we were pretty much together all the time.

He was shy though and quiet and that made my parents kind of nervous. And yes, his appearance was a bit of a turn off for them as well. And I can admit this now, he made me different. Our relationship was complicated and strange and it affected my personality, my daily life. My grades suffered a bit during that time. I wasn't quite "Me".

So now the big question, how did my parents deal with it? Well, simply, they handled it by not really doing anything. They waited it out. Yes, there were some consequences for the grade issues, but they never said to me "you cannot see this boy, you cannot talk to this boy." I'm sure it broke my mother's heart too, but their patience with the situation did pay off. I started seeing the light on my own that this wasn't a good relationship. And again, I don't totally blame B for that, he wasn't ready for things that I was, he was more immature. I made the choice to break it off and get out - and my parents cheered.

Now, had there been more serious issues with this relationship, I am sure they would not have hesitated to step up and do more - but in this situation, it worked for them to leave it be. I wouldn't even know until years later just how hard it actually was for them. Fortunately, it wasn't a long relationship - probably four months at the most, but, it was longer than a few days or couple of weeks, so I give them a great deal of credit for their patience. A couple of months after my split with B was the trip that changed my life in the best possible way when Nate and I got together. And my parents were comfortable with him from the start - he'd been around for years as we'd grown up going to school and church together, they knew his parents and it was all around a much better situation. Maybe that was their reward for their patience with the B situation, you never know.

But getting back to "Parenthood" it does raise an interesting question - how would you handle that situation? And I'd be willing to bet, like me, we have all probably had a relationship that made our parents nervous or maybe made a decision that they were less than happy with at the time - I think it's a right of passage actually (I kid a little here). So looking back, how did your parents deal with it? Would you choose the same approach as them?

Nate and I are years away from dealing with that kind of thing of course since we are still not moving towards having children quite yet, but we could be in that boat someday, so it's interesting to ponder just a bit.

Or maybe I just have too much time on my hands!


Gina said...

Very interesting question to ponder. I don't know how Steve and I would handle the situation. I mean I know Haddie's parents did what they did because they love and care for her. I think too that the whole situation is they just want to make sure the guy is someone who is able to handle these very tough adult issues he's been dealt with.

That being said, if our daughter or son for that matter showed up at their grandparent's house to live, I think I would let them for a couple days and then once everyone has cooled down, sit down and talk everything over. Although this is what I say now...if it acutally happens and what I do could be completely different.

simplicity said...

Such a good question! I'm not sure because from one hand I see the parents point but on the other hand, in the show we see just how great a guy he is and I don't know that the parents see that in the show.

I love that show too :) It's my fave!

Jes said...

There were a couple of boys I dated that my parents didn't like. Of course they told me not to see them, and of course I snuck out to see them a bit - really, that was easy in a way since I was taking college classes at the age of 16 and driving myself, and working (even though I worked for my parents, we didn't always work the same shifts).
Things started to get really difficult with one of the boys, and finally my mom sat down with me and gave me a card that said "Stand tall, sweet lady, you are far stronger than you know". I still have that card hanging on my wall. She told me I was better than all these boys, and that someone who was really respectful and caring would come. I don't know what made me finally believe her, but I did. I got out of those relationships, (they were one after the other, not the same time!) and eventually found my husband :)

Julie said...

I think you're parents had it right. I love Parenthood too. But if Kristina Braverman was my mom, I would go nuts. Can she ever just shut up and not always have to talk over people? On a positive note, Sarah (aka. Lauren Graham) makes a great mom.