Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Kirkwood High School student newspaper

The Kirkwood Call

Leaving the nest

Side+profile+of+Ladybird+from+the+movie+that+shares+the+same+name.+The+article+is+based+upon+her+movie.
Claire Schlarman
Side profile of “Ladybird” from the movie that shares the same name. The article is based upon her movie.

*The name Sam has been used to protect the identity of sources used in this article.

The dynamic around parenting can come in many forms. Sometimes it’s closer to a friendship, other times it is a Jenga tower of emotion, or, both. Parenting strategies always bring results — good or bad. 

Michael Simkins, sophomore, said his parents practice a more unorthodox parenting style. Rather than his parents forcing him to show respect, Simkins said they gradually dropped their traditional approach, and by eighth grade, it was completely gone. He said he was allowed to treat his parents like one of his equals. 

“I think as the third child, [my parents] have been more and more [relaxed] and are never strict [now],” Simkins said. “For example, my parents let me call them by their first names.”

Simkins said he was given a lot of freedom from their silent agreement that he would not do drugs or get into trouble with the police. While they still financially support him, Simkins said he is free to drive anywhere and do almost anything. 

“I really like [the approach] but I think there are ups and downs,” Simkins said. “The parenting style needs a lot of self-discipline to make it work, which I do not have.”

It causes us to fight a lot because she feels I can do better, but I am already trying my hardest. It’s hard to prove myself to her when I am already trying to prove myself to me.

— Sam

On the other end of the spectrum is Sam, who said their relationship with their parents is far from ideal.
“My parents got a divorce when I was in sixth grade,” Sam said. “My dad and I don’t really fight but me and my mom have a lot of conflicts.” 

Sam said their fights are so intense because of their shared bipolar diagnosis. They said it is hard to know what sets the other off because they never know when the other is manic or depressed. Sam said their sister is closer to their mother; and was a harder worker than them, giving their mother an expectation for them to live up to that Sam could not reach.

“It’s mostly academic [conflicts] with her and I feel like that causes me more stress,” Sam said. “It causes us to fight a lot because she feels I can do better, but I am already trying my hardest. It’s hard to prove myself to her when I am already trying to prove myself to me.” 

Sam said their grades plummeted during freshman year of high school. Their sister, who was an eighth grader then, had higher grades due to how hard freshman-year classes can be compared to eighth-grade classes. Sam’s mother took this as a sign Sam was not working hard enough and punished them. Once their sister reached freshman year and her grades fell into the same pattern, Sam received a half-hearted apology but the damage was already done. 

I got it in my head that they would discipline me for bad grades. If I did get a bad grade, they wouldn’t punish me. Instead, they got me [tutoring] and I learned I could trust them.

— Delanie Chittakhone

“When your mood constantly changes and your parents want to fight with you and have unrealistic expectations, and your mood is already fluctuating and you can’t control it,” Sam said.

Delanie Chittakhone, sophomore, said she used to have a bad relationship with her parents. She said neither of them trusted her and she did not trust them because she did not feel she could tell them about her problems. 

“My dad’s a teacher, so there’s always been a big emphasis on grades,” Chittakhone said.  “I got it in my head that they would discipline me for bad grades. If I did get a bad grade, they wouldn’t punish me. Instead, they got me [tutoring] and I learned I could trust them.”  

Chittakhone said the main force behind not telling them when she needed help was fear of losing that trust. She had never gotten in serious trouble but the looming threat of breaking that fragile bond scared her. 

“I worship [trust], I think it is important and I value it,” Chittakhone said. “Now I feel like they are my best friends and I can tell them anything.”

Mrs. Amy Leatherberry, English teacher and mother of three kids, has been in the parenting game for over a decade. She has two sons, one 11 and one 9, and a younger daughter who is two.

It doesn’t mean there isn’t a consequence, but I think things generally work out better if you can show kids how to regulate their emotions.

— Amy Leatherberry

“Quinton, my older son, ultimately wants to fit in. He will do what he must fit in with the group, and Wesley is a big ‘walk to the beat of him own drummer’” Leatherberry said. “I worry about him because he doesn’t have a big filter. He also struggles to make friends, he always has something going on in his head.”

Leatherberry said that she tries to stay consistent with her parenting style. She lets her kids have a good amount of freedom but also lets them feel the natural consequences. 

“I try to start with connection,” Leatherberry said. “I think your kid’s problems are conflicts you have to work out. If you start from a place of connection you can have some common ground.”

According to Leatherberry, giving her kids responsibility lets them learn and help around the house. She said her style is her own but if she had to describe it in simple terms, nonpunitive would most likely be it. 

“In any conflict with a kid, you can choose to escalate or deescalate the problem and connect,” Leatherberry said. “It doesn’t mean there isn’t a consequence, but I think things generally work out better if you can show kids how to regulate their emotions.” 

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