The photo below is son, Zonnie and me when he was in his early twenties.
I've always heard the cliche, "The proof is the pudding." Seems to also apply to raising kids.
In the late 70's, my son, Zonnie just got his driving license and wanted to drive to Northern Mn for a weekend skiing. I said, "Definitely no. " A winter snow storm was on it's way according to the weather report. But, he borrowed his Father's pickup and left without telling me. (Daryl, the Narcissist and I were split by that time)
A huge storm came, they ran off the road and smashed the pickup. It was still drivable but it needed a tow that cost $100. No money between him and his buddy but he promised the tow man he would pay him. (Before credit cards were so common)
Of course he couldn't ask his Father for the money after just wrecking his pickup. He asked me for the money.
Oh no, dear God. Please no. I recognized this as one of the lessons that parents are required to honor, always harder on the parents than the children, at the time. I told him, "If you think you are old enough to make your own decisions, you're old enough to pay the consequences."
Zonnie had been washing dishes at the Country Club for a buck an hour. He had saved up and bought all the boy toys he wanted, a boom box, a new golf putter, and electronic stuff of that time. All he could do was call the guys he knew and have a quick sale on his precious hard-earned stuff.
When the boys came to the sale, I had to go in my room and cry. I could have easily written out a check for him but what was the lesson in that? Would he then think that any time he got in trouble, his parents would bail him out? So many parents fail to recognize the life lesson moments.
He gave up his toys and never mentioned it again. That is, not until a few years ago we were talking about the past and he mentioned that episode and said it was the best life lesson I had ever taught him. He thanked me for it.
Today, Zonnie is in his late forties. He is the son who calls me often to ask if I need anything. He shovels my snow when it's deep. He respects women.
They say you mellow as you grow old. I wonder if it would have achieved the same result if I had given him the check. I'll never know. But I do know he grew into a fine, honest man, a good business person, and a loving husband.
Please feel free to give your opinion because after all this time, I sometimes wonder.