CranberryHorn: Why I don't Always like My Kids

Most parents would gasp in horror if someone said this to their face, but the reality is that I doubt very much that I'm alone in my feelings. The reality is just what I said. Sometimes I just don't like my kids.

I should preface this by saying that my "kids" are not really kids anymore. My oldest is 22 and my youngest almost 17. By all accounts, they are intelligent, polite, well-spoken and loving. My daughter graduated Cum Laude with a double degree. My son does well in school and is passionate about his football and his environmental studies. Often, when we would go out in public I would have people approach me and remark about what polite children I have.

There's only one problem. Included in all those manners and studies we instilled in them a free-thinking mind. They can converse intelligently (and often passionately) and love a challenging duel of wits. (Add highly competitive here). I love that they have opinions and are not afraid of sharing them, but sometimes I think that I forgot to teach them one of the most basic skills... listening. When the free-thinking mind and the challenging demeanor get together, sometimes the listening falls away. Add to that the free-ranging teenage hormones still coursing through my 6"4' son and you have a recipe for many battles, with my husband and me... and our daughter. (Did I mention that we're all under one small roof.)

The hardest part of this is to practice patience and step away from the battles. But since they are family they know exactly which buttons to push and do it well. My son is very good at manipulating that Irish Guilt gene into a full blow attack, and my daughter has the Welsh stubborn gene that refuses to back down. I have no idea where they get them from. :)

Raising them has been my greatest pleasure and my greatest learning experience. I remember well when, as an adult, I began to understand that just because someone is your parent, you don't always have to like them. That was a huge epiphany for me, one that allowed me to roll some of that Irish Guilt off my back. I assume that my kids often feel the same way about me. After all, they inherited their directness from someone.

So, the lesson that I'm going to impart is that Love and Like are not mutually exclusive, nor are they permanent. I can just as easily be frustrated with my son, but melt into a puddle when wraps me in a bear hug. Either way, I think I'll keep them.

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