Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kids Growing Up

Our youngest son is sixteen. The age when boys are perhaps at their most sexually curious, if not active. He told me the other day that the first time he saw his father kiss me he felt uncomfortable. It made me a little sad. He has never lived in anything but a plural family. When he was born, #2 was already here, and she had a big part in helping to raise him. I'm hoping his uncomforableness stems from the lengthy period of time between #2 and then my arrival. He has a girlfriend now and since having one he has become more open and communicative. I think the young lady asks questions about our lifestyle. She's a sweet girl.

None of hubby's sons (the only children who live here) are at all interested in living in polygamy. They don't "judge" it they just say it's not for them. I wonder if this is really so or if it is because our family's lifestyle isn't based on religious belief or salvation. As far as I know the married son has no desire for another wife, and she has out and out said she wouldn't want to share him. The middle son accepts our lifestyle but openly says he thinks it's "weird". When pushed to explain, he says things like: Why would anyone want that? In other words, no concrete answer. The young man with the new girlfriend says things like he just can't imagine loving more than one person.

So why do they reject how we live? This is something that weighs on hubby's mind. I think he worries that somehow they have been unhappy with his and his first wife's decision to have a plural marriage. Do we seem unhappy to them? I highly doubt that. To be honest, I think the two biggest negatives are the "out of the norm" way of life, and main streamed kids don't like to be different from their friends. The other negative would be lack of privacy. It is almost physically impossible to have secrets (not that I want any) and it seems as though everyone knows when Dad sleeps with who. I've mentioned bathrooms before and it sounds petty but it seriously isn't when you are a teenager, or even a middle aged woman like myself. A bigger house might help.

I think those two so called problems are even worse than the friendship issue. By the way, the poll indicated an even split among folks who voted. So the question of whether or not one can have a "normal" social life is still a big question.

But back to the kids. I believe I mentioned that they don't keep this secret for us. That indicates that they aren't embarassed or ashamed. But they still seem to reject the lifestyle for themselves. I think more pragmatically. I think how lucky they have been to always have a parent figure at home. In the past, the three adults more or less took turns depending on various things, either working from home or not going to work so someone would be here for the kids. That was a financial sacrifice. I think, they are very fortunate now to have built in babysitting for their young children, and a lovely home that we collectively bought so they could live nearby. Things like that. The neighbors tolerate us and have at times been friendly. The people next door over the years have invited this family to special gatherings in their home. There has really been no ostracism, in the neighborhood or at school. Hubby's extended family is warm and welcoming to all of us and they live nearby.

There are other practical matters that are positive too. For instance tonight Hubby wanted to watch a movie I had no inclination or desire to watch. But hey, not my night! lol :) Stupid things like I don't have to watch any Science Fiction or Star Wars stuff. I only have to cook every other night! Someone else makes sure the bills are all paid. It's really nice that I don't have to worry about that.

So what do you think the kids are rejecting?


Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that his discomfort regarding his father's affection for you is a "timing issue". From his birth, #2 has been a maternal figure. That probably allows him to accept his father & #2 as a couple. He may see you more as his father's girlfriend, which would naturally make him feel that his father is being unfaithful to those he considers maternal.

Children who are too young to live on their own generally have no say as to who the parent(s) bring into the home/family to live. They are forced (for lack of a better word) to deal with having basically a stranger (in some cases) be an intimate player in the child's family. I'm sure children feel helpless and frustrated. The child may see the new wife as one more person to have to compete with for his father's attention, another person who will take a portion of bathroom availablility, or another person who they have to aclimate with and try and explain to their friends the unconventional lifestyle.

You seem to be looking at it from a pragmatic eye instead of the emotional one, which I'm sure is were the children are coming from.

John said...

I would suggest that the kids are frightened by the culture. How many teenage boys are going to get a date from a secular girl, if they tell her they like polygamy? Perhaps its greedy and selfish, but girls are taught that they will get one white knight complete with castle and undivided attention. Polygamy is about pragmatism, community, and sacrificial love; All values that are discouraged among teenagers. Teenagers are taught by our culture to be idealistic, rebellious, and hedonistic by their television and school system. Give them time to grow up and realize that society has more problems than answers, and that the grass isn't greener on the other side.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call it "rejection" because none of the children have chosen plural marriage. First, they are all still fairly young, they may change their minds. Second, though they have been raised in a polygamous home, they live in a monogamous society which would have a huge impact on their views. And third, children almost always want to live their lives differently from their parents, it's part of the separation process. withay

UCBerkeleyResearch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen said...

My best web friend of four years is ill and I miss her.
I more than miss her. I crave her company, the daily
knowing how she is.

I have kept everything. She puzzled my by joining
the Church. I talked about my family, that should
have scared her off.

I remembered this Morning that she had another
Mormon Friend. It's not that I'm not Mormon,
but that it seemed too precipitous.

Her daughter's school and her house was bombed.
She is raising a grandchild and I think she wanted
her to grow up without the stress. Muslims may
become Christians without shame. And they may
retain their Muslim Identity in Morminism, teach in
Mormon Achademe, etc. And there are special
programs for Children. Not just one long Sermon.

So I'm open for a new freindship. See, you have to sign up on Xanga to get in to my site. Then we'll find somewhere more private. And I don't live thousands of miles away