Today the world came tumbling down around me and my family. Ill do my best to summarize, but it was an epically-stressful day.
We awoke to our 14YO son informing us that her older sister was not in her room and her car was gone. Apparently our older daughter (21) decided to sneak out after going we went to sleep last night. We called and texted all morning to no avail. Around noon we were about to transition over to calling hospitals and the police. She had never done anything like this before, and had spent the weekend recuperating from an illness; so we were all the more blindsided to learn that she had snuck out. So shortly afternoon she communicated back that she was safe and had decided to spend the night at the house of someone she started dating recently. We were disappointed in her actions, but relived for her safety.
I too had a pretty rough day at work too. It goes without saying how my morning went, but the job pressures are higher than ever lately so I needed to stay on my “A” game all the same. In candor, the boss doesn’t care about issues in our home life; producing is what counts. Deadlines abound, petulant co-workers, and arrogant partner teams. Furthermore, at the last minute before this went down my rental texted me to say that the well was out of commission. By all measures I should have blown my cork.
So this evening our son decided to turn on the worst case of adolescent anger we ever saw. On the way home my wife called in tears to tell me how verbally brutal he was toward her; he went on a tirade about wanting off the football team and it was “all her fault” that he had to play. My wife is a pretty strong woman but he really tore her down with his rebellion. So she it at Wit’s end, and with that context I come to the meat of this post –
She didn’t know what to do. I replied “Remember the Wolf in Pulp Fiction?” She replies “Yes”. I add.. “Don’t worry - - I got this”. No emotion, pure calm, I_Got_This. With that, I stopped by the house on my way to the football field. After a few calm but sharp words to my daughter, I left to handle my son. When practice ended, I met him on the field in front of his coaches and friends. My words were calm and direct –
“Take off your gear and hand it to the Head Coach. Tell him that you quit. Then go tell all of your team mates that you quit because you hate the game and your mom made you play. Then tell that to your defensive coach (who was like an uncle to him for the last 7 years) that you quit too.” He protested. I got inches from him and stated “This is what you wanted, be careful what you wish for because sometimes you will get it”. He begged me to relent. I calmly informed him that he was to NEVER abuse his mom like that again. He agreed with the utmost sincerity.
We got home, and I remained calm toward my daughter. After a really silent dinner, I told her to look me in the eye; which she tearfully did. I calmly explained that she could be an adult and accountable to herself in her own place, but if she still wants to put her boots under my dinner table then it comes with my rules. The next time it happens I’ll ask her to leave. My tone was solemn and firm.
My son hugged his mom with the most sincere apology. He came back down from bed to hug her again later; along with me. My daughter also owned up to her actions and the night ended in compassion.
I’m sharing the story with this community for two reasons –
A year ago I would have threatened, screamed, grounded, cursed, and brought down emotional “wrath” to the situation. Instead, I was stoic, firm, and loving. My wife pulled me away and sobbed in my arms. She thanked me for taking things on which she had nothing more to give.
Being the “Patriarch” is NOT a derogatory state as the Politically Correct would have us believe; the term represents the highest calling for a father and a husband. I didn’t know that my Red Pill journey was preparing for anything more than asserting myself as a Man. In fact, the lessons from this community helped me be a better father and husband.
I’m typing this as my son soundly sleeps and my wife and daughter are relaxing and reconnecting. The house is quiet.
EDIT 1 - Context around the situation with our 21YO daughter
She was sick all weekend with swollen tonsils. Literally to the point we were buying applesauce and popcicles, and chicken broth to keep her nourished. Sunday night she skipped dinner curled up on the couch watching TV and recuperating. After saying goodnight, she snuck out. The next morning we texted and called her, and could tell that her phone was on. She was not responding. By noon she was still unresponsive. The entire experience is out of character for her. It was a discipline issue that she was out until morning, but by noon our concerns for her safety were legitimate.
As for house rules, our house "shuts down" at 10:30 on a weeknight and 12:30 on a weekend. She has ample latitude to go past these times by talking with us. I set the expectation that she can be a "full adult" and have no accountability to us; no more than I have to my father. However that requires full ownership of adult responsibilities; your own place, your own car insurance, your own food, your own cell phone plan, pay your own college bills, etc. While she is chronologically 21, she is in college depending on us. She still not fully an adult in the responsibility sense. She cannot have full adult freedoms without full adult responsibilities.