crouching dysfunctional kids, hidden parent
I would like to begin and end this post by saying that the living skeleton in my family is a Cuban called Fidel Castro. Unfortunately, dear bloggy reader, my life could not be that simple.
The living skeleton is actually a single parent who is raising two kids in sunny Miami, ignores what the kids learn in school, loathes the act of cooking for them and feeds them breakfast cereal for dinner.
She is my cousin. My Cousin in Miami (CIM).
Perhaps I am overreacting in giving her living skeleton status. But last night, after a two-hour phone conversation with another cousin in South Carolina, I learned that CIM's breakfast cereal-turned-dinner is occasionally replaced by a Dunkin Donuts "meal" (Tony Bourdain, I am right there with you on your recent criticism of Rachael Ray. Her latest endorsement is just Evil. Could someone finally please teach Ms. Ray about Integrity in Food?).
I am guessing that CIM is not the only one who relinquishes her childrens' brains to the random schoolteacher, and allows the system to work its magic on their grey matter. But my South Carolina cousin (SCC) informed me, "No, you don't understand...she doesn't even know her kids' teachers by name." Worse, SCC became concerned enough to ask CIM's kids to show HER their report cards. SCC flipped. "You're failing in Math? Does your mother know?" The child shook her head.
Neglect is a touchy subject in my family. I was a child of regular doses of neglect (a.k.a., The Spectacular Free-Spirited Seventies!). And I suspect some of us homeschooler parents may overcompensate in our kids' educations because of our own perceived parental uninvolvement -- but I'll leave that one to you kiddos to psychoanalyze for yourselves.
Anyhoo, SCC decided to intervene in the food matter and let CIM's kids eat a real sit-down restaurant. No instant gratification facilitated by quick meals, no plastic utensils. So SCC and CIM's kids go to at Gloria Estefan's restaurant on Ocean Drive. Yes, that one. It was during this noble venture in (greasy) food education, that one of CIM's kids blurted out, "BUT I'D RATHER EAT BURGER KING!" Note: The kids are age 12 and 14 years old.
SCC and I agreed that CIM's kids need help. I want to call a family intervention on CIM, I really do. The issues we'd address would include her kids' malnutrition, CIM's partying ways (sorry, won't get into that here, but let's just say there is an issue of a certain quantity of men), and the need for her to pay attention to her kids' education.
Unfortunately, because neglect is not a new issue in that side of my family, the fractured relationships prevent a family-size "intervention" from happening.
A question to ponder from LaMai: In addition to your involvement with your kids' education, what do YOU do to reinforce healthy family relations?