The death of Amy Winehouse has left me thinking. As the mother of two teens and an 8 year old, I realise that my job is far from over. (Far from over - how old will I be when the last one leaves the nest?) Even though the Queenager is just about to leave for college, the parenting job goes on, and willingly so. I remember asking my mother-in-law when you finally stop worrying about your children and her prompt response was "Never". In fact, as most of us know, the older you get, the trickier and bigger the problems seem to get, in our own lives and in our children's.
It's all very well to sit in judgement of Amy's parents and upbringing, or the parents of her ex-husband who is deemed by many to be the cause of her decline. What the hell kind of parents were they? Couldn't they have done more? Amy's parents are accused of interfering too much, but wouldn't you do the same if your daughter was clearly under such a negative influence? And what if your's was the recalcitrant Blake Fielder-Civil? Excuse the French, but what an effing nightmare. While recognising that such a child had a severe problem, could you bear to throw him under the bus and admit that he might be the cause of someone else's continuing decline. Doesn't every mother see the best in their child?
I'm resisting the urge to use Amy's death as a "teachable moment" for my teens, one of whom is on the rock 'n roll track and needs no encouragement to live on the dark side. I do hope however that it gives us teen parents a warning to be both caring and vigilant. If I think my kids are at risk I will face their wrath as I confront them with it, curtailing their activities and their ability to purchase drugs. I will point them in other directions if I can, and I will use sticks and/or carrots to keep them on the up and up.
I am not their friend - I am their mother.