Thursday, August 26, 2004

Thursday August 26, 2004 - Child Abuse?

I'm rather troubled. Desiree has been writing recently of an incident where she witnessed a scene between a mother and child that could be construed as abusive. From the sound of things, the incident is escalating into something major (the authorities are investigating).

Desiree is outraged by what she has seen. I don't blame her - child abuse is unconscionable. I support the stand that she is taking on this.

But I also see the other side of the incident - the side of the frazzled mom who can't take one moment more of the misbehavior. I understand how it can happen because I've been at that point too many times - when it just seems better to smack the damn kid than to handle it reasonably.

I am very aware of my own tendencies towards this kind of behavior. That is why I am particularly conscious of my anger and frustration toward my children at times. Most of the time, when I get that angry, I succeed at being rational and adult. Rarely, I fail. And those few times that I have failed fill me with guilt.

But knowing is half the battle. I had to make an active decision to handle these situations better, and for the most part I have succeeded.

You probably think less of me now for admitting this to you. I understand. Please have no fear that I am abusing my children - that would be abhorrent. Please know that I am always trying to be a better parent every day.


Blogger Jade said...

That is the difference. You can see when you've hit your limit and would act irrationally. I've done it. I've been there, and yes, the guilt is so horrible, but this is what empowers us to look at the situation subjectively, realize we are human, even though we are parents, and learn accordingly. I'll be the times you acted irrationaly are for one, few and far between and for two, you've never repeated the same act of irration twice. Because you saw, you conqured, you moved on. You learned how to better satiate that anger when it happens. Believe me, a single mom of three children, one standing strong in pre-teen behavior, I know. I also have learned some really interesting techniques to keep my anger, frustration and temper in check when those children are pushing my buttons. And mine are the only ones they have to push so they believe they need to push extra hard and twice as often. I've no doubt you are an amazing mother. I've no doubt you are human. I also know for a fact that you are bright and intelligent and learn from those mistakes you make and take your parenting skills to a new level and are a better parent for it. That woman Desiree speaks of has some learning to do, and if one can't teach themselves, then it's up to someone else to try because the children deserve it.

8/27/2004 9:18 AM  
Blogger Desiree' said...

Please do not think for one second I (as insignificant in your life I am and all) think less of you. I have one child, and I too, have reached limits. The matter that I discussed and was witness to was nothing more than causing pain to a child for the sake of causing pain. That is why I blew up as I did. I am a rational and logical enough of a person to see a mom who is frazzled and strikes (not always literal) in anger but realizes the snap reaction to the child. I can also see when someone is hurting someone else just to cause pain.

As a parent, I know what it can be like. At your wits end ready to blow for whatever reasons, and you (or I) do. I don't believe that makes for a bad parent. That just makes one human.

I am glad for you that you have recognized the behavior that *you* dislike in your family and are changing them. The choices we make are monumental not only to our children's growth, but to our own. We do the very best that we can. You have done something that actual *abusive* parents have not. You have seen that you reacted to something in a way that wasn't right (for you) and you are trying to rectify it. I speak from experience as my biological mother whom did beat us just to hurt us, still to this day thinks that we deserved what we got.

And I too, am trying to be a better parent every day as well. That is what being a parent means. Live and learn....but always with love...

8/27/2004 6:00 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

We have all been there. I have always felt for the single parents in those situations because I know on the days when I was on the edge I could always count on Will to step in and take over so I could take a step back and vice versa. On those days it was really easy to put myself into the shoes of an abusive parent. It's gotten easier as he's gotten older but he can still turn me into a raging maniac in a moments notice.

Parenting is the hardest job we will ever have.

8/27/2004 11:36 PM  

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