Don't Mess With Momma!
by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families
'A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down
remorselessly all that stands in its path.' Agatha Christie - The Hound of Death.
Think about how a mother bear protects her cubs in the face of impending danger. God has built in mothers and fathers the capacity and the willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their children, to the point of forfeiting their own lives if necessary. I was talking to my daughter about this built-in protective mechanism parents have and she said, "If my kids are being disrespected or bullied by some other child and that parent is doing nothing about it, I am right in there, telling that child to back away or there will be trouble!'
None of us want to see our children being frightened by anyone else, be it child or adult. We rise up with indignation at the injustice of it and often our feelings overcome sensibility when it comes to our reaction. In former days parents taught their child to thump the perpetrator back if another child was physically accosting them. We know now that using violence to curb violence is not the answer. My husband says that if a parent decides to take the situation into his/her own hands and visit the home of a child who has been bullying their offspring, they are often likely to be staring into the face of an adult bully. There is a clearly set out process for dealing with bullying in schools.
The overwhelming 'need' to protect our child at ALL COST is not always the wisest thing to do. It is very difficult to be objective when our child's behavior is called into question by others. It hurts. It questions our parenting skills. It forces us to see our child as others see him/her and not as the 'good' or 'perfect' child we believe them to be. We don't want to believe or accept it. Could it be that our little Jonnie or Susie started the fight? When you have three or four school teachers telling you they saw your child swing the first punch, they are right. Accept it. Don't deny it. Ask for help in dealing with Jonnie's behavior rather than refusing to believe it could possibly be true.
Then there is injustice, which is a very hard thing to accept. Sometimes situations arise that are just not fair. Unfortunately, that is the world we live in. There are times to join the fight against injustice in such things as racism, disability, inequality and the like. But there are other times when we need to teach our children how to face and deal with unfairness in every day life. One child being favored over another, subjective grading of tests, missing out on opportunities in such things as sport, work, music are just a few things where unfairness may rear its head. Life is just not fair sometimes and our kids need to learn not to feel defeated, but rise to the challenge of trying again or trying something else.
Parenting is like walking a tight rope. We have to know when to put the protective safety net out and when to take it away. Our kids won't always have us to come to their rescue, and neither should we. What we need to do is
- Protect them while they are too young to make their own wise decisions.
- Watch their behavior and attitudes as the children grow and accept that they may not always be as angelic as you imagine them to be. Correct negative behavior and get help if necessary to instill great values in them.
- Teach them that even in the best of worlds, life is not always fair. Show them how to respond to injustice and disappointment in a healthy manner.
- As they become more independent, encourage them to continue to apply the values they have learned so they make wise and objective choices throughout the rest of their lives.
If you have any comments or questions on this subject we would be pleased to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also feel free to check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blogsite at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com for more helpful advice on effective parenting.