I have a 14 years old niece with whom I started living 3 years ago, and to be honest it is quite fun for me to see her grow as many times I see myself reflected on her for all the drama that being 14 represents. A few months ago she came back from her other house (As she lives with us and her mother,) with her hair cut as if someone had just taken the scissors, close their eyes and given her a haircut; it was pretty bad. Yet, as soon as she came through the door she started telling us that the woman who gave her the haircut was trying to make this hairstyle on her and that suddenly she heard her said “Ups.” Supposedly when she looked up she had this uneven and really short hairs on the front of her head, and that the hairstylist took more hair from the back and cut it to try to make it seem better. The story seemed weird but everybody started laughing and in the middle of that her little brother said, “But you told Mami Mami (her mother at the other house) that it was grandma (my mother) who did it.” And that made everyone stop and the whole scene change from laughter to tension. My sister, who is her stepmother, turned red and she was pissed not just because of the lie but because the lie was involving my mother, who actually is a hairstylist. When she calmed down she sat down with her and made her understand that she wasn’t mad because she cut her hair, it’s her hair after all and she is done that before, but that lying is never a solution for anything and much less giving another person a bad reputation. After that they both looked for a punishment, it consisted in an essay of why her actions were wrong, and her iPhone was changed to a flip phone for the rest of the summer, and she couldn’t go out with friends for a week. She was feeling really bad and she hated every single bit of the punishment but she agreed to it. She also called my mom and hers to explain the situation and apologize. However, as talked in class how do we know that a person actually learns the lesson? Well, when she came home last weekend with a ‘new hair style,’ we looked at her and even though nobody said anything she said, “OK OK it is a bad idea to cut my own hair.” She hasn’t had any problems with lying and although it could be because she hasn’t been caught, I do believe she learned her lesson. I grew up in a family that used to be more violent at the moment of correcting a child, but I believe that there are so many batter ways to approach situations like this one and to me, this was a proven example of that. Living with my niece and her parents has made me realize that parenthood is tough and that even when parents seem to have all the answers they not always do. Yet, they are testing different strategies and trying their best to teach us important values that will help us in life.
This was a personal observation. The first part of it was made the early days of summer 2016 on an evening in the living room of an apartment in Brooklyn. The second part of it was made on September 9 in the same place.