Let me begin this by saying I know I’m not a perfect mom. I am far from being perfect. I don’t even strive for perfection because I am that far away from it…I aspire to be a good mom and mostly not to do irreversible damage.
Abuse, in any way, is something I am very passionate about. NO ONE should have to live in fear of another human being. No person has the right to hurt or harm anyone else in ANY way. Something I’ve seen recently is parents becoming so frustrated with their children that they resort to using methods to shape behavior that inflicts pain.
I saw parents who put soap in their child’s mouth, made them hold hot sauce in their mouths, and even made them stand under a freezing cold stream of water as a punishment. ANYTHING that a parent intentionally does that causes pain to their child is ABUSE. To hear these children cries of pain is torture.
I hope and believe this is the exception and not the rule. However, we all have an ugly side of ourselves as parents and if we don’t look at the extremes then we can’t look inside ourselves to identify the abuse we put on our children. And make no mistake, every parent abuses their child in some way.
Last week we were driving home. Josh kept asking the same question over and over after I had asked him to stop. I was tired. I was stressed. Finn started kicking my seat. I screamed at him to stop. As soon as the words had left my mouth, I cringed. I work very hard to not get to that point with Finn, unless it is a dangerous situation (such as screaming at him to stop if heads out to the street or reaches up to put his hand on a burning stove).
We were only blocks away from home. I overreacted and I took it out on Finn, whose actions hadn’t warranted my reaction. I simply could have asked him to stop kicking my seat and he most likely would have stopped. He just picked a bad moment. I don’t want him to live in fear of knowing the smallest action is going to set me off. One day it’s one thing and the next day it’s something different. It’s like trying to avoid stepping on a land mine while walking across a field.
My heart hurt. As soon as we got home I got him out of the car and I squatted down so I was at his level and I told him that I didn’t like what he did but I was sorry that I yelled at him. I told him it was not ok or kind of me to yell.
I expect Finn to apologize and admit his mistake when he makes one. The very least I can do as his mother is to practice what I preach. It’s one of the very valuable gifts my mother gave me…knowing that even parents aren’t perfect. This has not been the only instance that I have been ashamed of my actions as a mother. If anyone says they haven’t made any mistakes, (and their child is older than 4 hours) they are lying. However, I attempt to make less and less mistakes each day and overall I feel very proud of the mother I am.
The severity and kind of abuse is on a sliding scale. It’s human. If we don’t get to where we’re uncomfortable and shaken, then we can’t truly assess our actions as parents in a true way. Too many actions are swept under the rug and regarded as “harmless.”
Only when we are shocked, honest, and aware can we look inside ourselves to see our demons.
Only with true honesty can we change.
There is no worse bully than a parent who bullies their child.
When consequences become about punishment more than teaching, the line is crossed. As parents we have to be vigilant about how we teach our kids and what we are teaching our kids. We made the choice to have kids and so we are responsible for making them into the best version of themselves.
I don’t understand why people don’t get that if they are intentionally inflicting pain onto their child, it’s abuse. PERIOD. END OF THE STORY. What does abuse teach kids? I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume these kids learn to deal with their anger by being physically aggressive at school.
Here is a video of one of the shows I watched. I was really torn about putting it on here or not, I certainly don’t want to publicize this. It is SO difficult to watch. I can’t watch it…I have to take it in small doses and I have a high tolerance. I forced myself to watch it before I put it on here…I’m not exaggerating when I say I can’t watch the entire video without stopping and taking breaks. Just wanted to give you fair warning, if you can NOT watch it, I really encourage you not to. Be prepared before you press play.