My best friend’s daughter was about to finish her senior year in high school, but she’d had senioritis since 11th grade. She used to have stellar grades, star in all the school plays, and lead the student council to new heights. She was the darling of the dean’s eye. Her parents thought it was worth it – scrimp a little here and there to put her in the finest private schools and keep her away from the “elements” that might distract her and send her life whirling out of control.
What they didn’t expect was him. He was nice enough at first – very Eddie Haskel. Can I help you with those groceries, Mrs. X? Mmm, sure smells like you’re cooking something good… Everything but the dreaded “I can see where Carly gets her good looks.” But Carly’s grades started dropping. She didn’t have any homework that night (again) and could Dylan please come over? Oh, she and Dylan were just going to stay home and play with her little sister and watch movies while my friends went out — usually with us.
They couldn’t help rejoicing over the fact that she was so happy with Dylan. Happier than she had ever been. No more constant stress about the weekend and who was doing what with whom, who she was going to hang out with, whose house she was sleeping at, what she would wear, and all that craziness – it just ended. There was only Dylan and things settled down. But her grades? They kept sinking like cement boots. And that could affect her college acceptance. Was it drugs? I finally asked my friend. Was Carly sitting around smoking pot with Dylan and losing all motivation to study? Then my husband and I had to hear them worry about it adnauseum. We suggested they drug test Carly and put their fears to rest.
The first time they drug tested her and it came out positive for pot she had a million excuses – she’d just tried it once, it wasn’t hers, she couldn’t sleep, she had terrible menstrual cramps, migraine headaches, you name it. Her mother didn’t know what to do and gave her another chance. The second time they drug tested her it came out positive again and the excuses were the same. It wasn’t hers, she’d had horrible cramps, sleepless nights, migraines, the whole shebang. She was so convincing, her mom made an appointment for her to see the doctor.
Nobody thought to talk to the boyfriend about it. Sure, Carly was getting ready to go away to college and Dylan was staying put. But the idea that he might be helping to sabotage her chances to go never occurred to my friends until I finally brought it up. And I got a hell-storm for that one. He’s the only steady thing in her life! (Yeah, steady supplier) He’s her best friend! (Who should be in re-hab) Without him she’d be hanging out with those wild girls! (The one’s getting A’s and B’s.)
Carly never made it off to college. She stayed home to be with Dylan and took a few classes at the local junior college before dropping out and getting a job. Dylan ran off with someone else and most of Carly’s friends from school were away at universities. It was pretty sad.
I have my own children and certainly my own problems, I just hope that if I ever have to walk down the same road as those friends, I have the sense to listen to my heart and the advice of those who love me, and take some real action.
This article can also be viewed at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-simple-life/201005/no-more-mr-nice-mom-0