I recently went to see Parental Guidance at the movies. It was a cute comedy about grandparents, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler coming to take care of their grandchildren. The trouble starts when the grandparents discover their way of raising their child is considered outdated. The grandparents seem to be the ones in need of parental guidance.
Billy plays a baseball announcer who discovers he is getting fired for being too old and now feels lost. Bette is well, Bette-funny and dead on as the Mom who just wants to be near her daughter and get to know the grandkids she seldom sees.
Just who is need of Parental Guidance? What this couple realizes is that their daughter feels her parents were lacking especially the father who was always doing his announcing. She seems to have forgotten any special moments she shared with him. That amnesia is very common.
This movie focuses on 2 themes-
1- that our parents made a mess; one we will not repeat
2 -that we never had any special moments
That is a concept I have noticed with my own teen daughter. In their rush to grow up, be independent and separate from us as far as possible, they forget how much we actually did for and with them.
This is a generational complaint that I am sure most parents have experienced. There is indeed some merit to this claim-in the eyes of your child as they enter their teens. All of a sudden parental guidance is not required and independence is the goal.
You remember the teens don’t you? Teen years-those confusing years when the last place you want to be is with your parents. That is the time of life when friends and activities are much more important than any moment meant to be a memory with your parents.
It is no wonder it is hard for teen/child to remember their formative years and the many memories their parents felt were essential for them to be well-rounded. Those moments took place in their early childhood and are distant memories today. They may have long since forgotten that trip to Disney World or the great party you threw for their first (most special) birthday.
What they remember is immediate and how you interact now, not when they were a toddler. So all those special birthdays may be committed to photos but not so much your child’s memory -at present.
In your teen’s mind the memories are not so strong and certainly not too significant. (Notice I did not say all kids or teens but most go through that separation period when they want to be as far away as possible from their parents except when they need a ride or money).
Billy and Bette want to reconnect with their daughter and become a part of their grandchildren’s life even though they do not understand their daughter’s parenting choices. You would be surprised just how many parenting styles there are to choose from and how they vary.
My daughter is one of those teens who complain that we did not do very much when she was a little girl because she actually cannot remember much of it. Luckily for her I kept a picture and sculpture library so there will never be a doubt (all right I kept it for myself but it helps me prove my case with her too).