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Opinion

Parents’ actions have an effect on children

Annee Mayer-Chapleau

November 15, 2007

Whenever I woke up I wondered where I was. When my drowsy eyes finally adjusted, they watered. The realization that I was again at his house would break my heart.

As much as I despised that stiff bed, I never wanted to get out of it. That would mean I would have to see him and his ragged wife—a Disney wicked stepmother. They weren’t my parents, and I wasn’t their daughter. I was the little visitor they had every other weekend. They would dress me up, fix my hair and expect me to look like a cute little girl, but lash out when I behaved as one.

I cried every time their car pulled in the driveway. Clinging to any leg I could, I pleaded to stay. This was a tradition for eight years until I attempted to negotiate. I asked to spend one night instead of two. He didn’t take a second to even consider it. He told me that I either spend both nights or not come at all. I accepted the second option with pure joy.

I don’t resent his decision to never contact me again after that day. I have been fairly apathetic about his existence. Until one of my roommates suggested that I write about our terrible fathers, I did not realize just how disgusted I am to have the blood of a man who so willingly stopped contact with his only child. Three out of five of my roommates have brought up their fathers’ mistakes and how their lives have been influenced by those errors.

Children do not see parents as human. Even if your mom burns dinner while your dad shoots up at the kitchen table—until your innocence fades away, your parents do no wrong.

I know that most people aren’t crippled because their mothers or fathers were less than perfect. If that were so, this world would be much sadder than it already is. Bad parenting can result in an equally strong—if not stronger—individual as one who is blessed with caring treatment.

And for that reason, I am not writing this for pity or in hopes that my dad might someday stumble upon this column and shudder. This is something for parents-to-be to ponder and a reminder to those who already have children. The little eyes who look up to you are drastically affected by all that you do.

Annee Mayer-Chapleau is a junior studying creative writing. She loves astronomy and her main goal in life is to dance like David Byrne from the Talking Heads.

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