Saturday, November 27, 2010

Family Counsels & Chore Lists

My mother loved to take actual good ideas of parenting and twist it to her own sick needs.  Take for example chore lists.  Chores are a good thing in teaching children responsibility for not only them selves but for their environment.  Chore lists are a good idea for reminding them what their responsibilities are and keeping them organized.  People probably wonder how you can twist that.  Well someone like my mother could.  The step kids and I didn't have a chore list.  We had a chore booklet each.  Yup I said each.  Mine of course was the thickest since I was the oldest then came the oldest step kid then the step son and so on.  My mother of course didn't have a list.  She was management.  Her husband Mr. Fix It.  So my mother was the only one that didn't have to do anything yet took all the credit and would constantly complain about how hard her job was.

The list of chores were insane and all had a time limit.  If you missed your time limit then the consequences were bad.  For example the step son was responsible for feeding the dogs.  One was a very big black dog named Bear.  He was always kept chained to the Quonset.  If the step son did not place the dish just right then bear could knock it over.  If the dog did then the consequence of it would be he had to eat the dog food.  I remember once the dog threw up the food.  My mother told the step son it was because he didn't clean the dishes good enough.  So made him eat the thrown up food.  He cried the entire time.  If he argued or made too much of a fuss then she would yell at him and smack him on the back on the head. 

Perfection was the key to do the chores and everything had to be done just the way my mother dictated.  For example dishes.  The water had to me the temperature she required.  Which meant scalding.  Your hands would be red as lobsters withing minutes of starting.  To this day I can handle hotter water in the sink then most because of it.  If she caught you adding cold water then she would refill the sink and stand behind you.  On most occasions, unless you were a favorite that week(and this could change from week to week) she would find fault with every chore you did.  Requiring you to do it over and over and over.  Yup her house was spotless and her kids were always clean.  But not by her hands.  By our own.

Family counsels happened every week.  And yes family counsels are an awesome parenting tool in the right hands.  It gives everyone a voice and a chance to air grievances and so on.  Not in this house.  It was a change to single one child out and humiliate them in front of the others.  It was also a time to unleash fear and threaten.  On many occasions my mother would look at all of us and tell us that they could drop us all off in the middle of a large city and no one would notice or care.  There would could be murdered or raped.  She also would tell us on many occasions that she could kill us and no one would notice.  She would also tell us that we should be thankful to be living there because if we left we would be put into foster homes and they like to rape children there and a lot of the time kids go missing and no one cares or notices.  We were always fearful of losing our only home.

The restrictions were also crazy and fanatical.  No music or radio unless it was Mormon or church music.  No TV ever and no movies unless they were church movies or g rated.  All skirts or dresses had to be below the knee, no vee necks ever, nothing even lightly tight.  All the girls had to have long hair and the boys short.  No friends allowed over ever.  No calls.  No dating.  I was not even allowed salt on my food.  And since I have a salt deficiency this really affected me badly health wise.  Up by 6 for scripture study.  I also had to write reports on the scriptures read.  We were totally isolated and had no access to anything that would tell us that this was not legal or right or even how to seek help. 

It was like a totally different world.  No one had to tell us what Hell was.  We lived it every day.

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