When the Battle Of The Sexes went to DEFCON 1 and the nukes started flying Flapz was one of the first ones hit. His wife was a nice but troubled woman (today she's batshit crazy). In any event, they divorced and their family and three kids went their ways. This was right at the time when The Manosphere burst on the scene. His wife's behaviour was classic. She wasn't haaaaaaappppeee any more, and he damned well wasn't either, if she had anything to say about it. She made a 'living' caring for troubled foster kids and relied on generous alimony and gubbiment funding to get by. The family courts ruled that Flapz had to fork out $1900.00 bucks/month to support his three kids which he did for the last decade and a half. Earlier this week his ex was trying to shake him down for more money and he lost his chit.
He sent her a text: the oldest was 19 now and he was still paying for her. The second daughter turned 18 and legally he was no longer financially responsible for her either, but he was still paying is $1900.00 plus at least half of everything the kids did outside of the stuff covered by the $1900.00. His youngest is 16.
So he snaps. He sends a text to the ex telling her he is done. She won't see another dime out of him for the two adults, and only what is legally required for the 16 year old. As for the kids, he is pissed right off with them too. They're young adults now and they only call him when they need something. He's furious with them too - they don't call or visit him, they ignore the grandparents even when they give the grandkids money for Christmas and birthdays, and he's had enough of their bullshit too! And of course, the furious ex shows that text to the kids. The oldest unfriended him on facebook, and the other two haven't spoken to him in a month now. He's in the chithouse with his youngest son because he found a bag of dope in the boy's Jeep and pulled his car keys as a result.
As Flapz continued to bitch I half tuned out. Dear God - it was my own kid all over again. Only mine is now 32 and still hasn't grown up. I lost myself in past battles, vitriol, and old psychological scars opened up. JFC - they still ache a bit, even after five or six years. After awhile I noticed Flapz had trailed off and was waiting for me to comment. He was talking to me the same way I used to talk to my elders and mentors when I ran into shit like this. Somewhere along the line I must have become old and wise enough for Flapz to maybe look at me that way a bit. I'll be damned. Not sure if I like it...
So I grit my teeth, slammed the last of my cold coffee and said it right out: Welcome to Generation Snow Flake, Flapz! No doubt, he caught it too from the baby boomers, the helicopter parents and society in general: parents are expected to be their child's best buddy. If you stop being a parent and instead become your kid's buddy - you end up acting like a child and they never grow up. I saw it with my daughter and in-laws. I've seen it again and again with other parents - their adult children aren't growing up - and they've tried nothing and they're all out of options!!! Is it any wonder your 28 year old son is unemployed and spends his days in the basement playing video games? Is it any wonder that full grown adult students need nannies and safe places to console themselves, and censorship to silence people they don't agree with?
"Flapz," I said, "You don't have any choice in this. You HAVE to do exactly what you're doing now: you have to cut those kids off and they have to grow up and make their own way. They can't blame you for their failures, you can't bail them out when they screw up, their actions have consequences and they have to own them the same way you and I do. As a man, you have to cut them off. As a father, you have to cut them off. They won't grow up any other way, and like me...if anything, you were TOO nice to them and not fast enough in pushing the out of the nest. Even if they flip you the bird and walk away for good - as my kid did...you still have to do this. If you don't, they won't grow up. That's not good for them, it's not good for you - and you have absolutely no real choices in how to deal with this. Hell's bells, if they won't look out for themselves, who will when you're gone? The gov't??? Hate to say it...but it's on them now, Dad. You've done your job, you have your own life and they have theirs. All you can do now is hope there is some room in their lives and hearts for you... And - it's even tougher for you as a father because the ex is actively trying to undermine you. My in laws did that to me and interfered with my parenting and I know a little bit about how that works. From where I sit, you're doing exactly what you have to do. The ONLY thing you can do."
Flapz looked intensely relieved and I just felt sick inside. I know what happens when family feuds get real, I know how Generation Snow Flake plays the Boomers and Gen X f-tards like they were violins, and I know what kind of road Flapz has in front of him. Today's kids won't grow up unless there is a gun at their heads and some refuse even then. Most will make that maturation process as painful as possible - as petulant children always do.
Flapz packed up and left and I found myself the only guy at the field this morning. I sat around for awhile longer and just shook my head at the hell of it. I had sat on that picnic table listening to woes and dispensing advice and opinion the same way Leisure Suit Larry did for me when I was younger. Prolly gave Flapz the exact wrong advice too, judging from the way my daughter turned out. But his kids aren't as messed up as mine - his son is a big strapping boy and captain of the football team, his second youngest is an honours student, and his oldest is a sweet natured adopted native girl. They'll be alright. They'll patch things up - I hope. Goddamit, I was asked for my opinion and I gave it. I wish Leisure Suit Larry were there.
I started to feel a little forlorn alone on the field this morning. I took my coffee cup over to the garbage can to throw it away and look at the obits... and then high-tailed it for home.