It is with much and very real concern that I sit here and write this particular blog post today, because the more it sits in my head the madder I get – when the hell are we going to stop blaming those who are not responsible for the things that they do and say and I say that they are not responsible because the people being blamed, while not blameless, are being blamed for things by people who really and most likely do not have a real idea about why it is that a kid will strike out at the adults in their lives.
I know why they do, and like anything else in life that is learned, striking out is not learned – it is a survival mechanism that most abuse survivors know too well. I know it. I have lived it. When you are constantly being told, even if you are not being told, over and over again, that what you are doing doesn’t measure up, isn’t the “right” way of doing things, is somehow disagreeable in the eyes of those who are the adults in our lives, a kid takes it personally, and they should.
They should take the barbs personally, because we, the parents, didn’t teach them the art of telling others what it is in their lives that bothers them so much about the things that we tell them that they can or cannot do. Case in point – right now, in the Hawaiian islands, there is a girl who ran away from home, and while it is that the belief is that she ran away at the behest of others who are also her own age – others who live on an island that is not the one she lives on – I must disagree with the idea that it is the other kids who are to blame. While it might be that those other kids influenced this child, we must ask the question of where the parents of the other kids were when the child was “enticed” by their words and their actions to run away from home.
Yes, I said MUST.
I am a product of an upbringing that can outwardly be regarded as “fine and upstanding,” and yes, I find myself to be quite the fine and upstanding adult, but I did not get this way because of my parents’ influence only, if at all. Yes, they instilled in me the idea that I need to believe in something, but when it was that the things that I believe in did not match with theirs, I was somehow…wrong. I will not say that my parents did not do the best they could, at least over all, but I will say that they most surely do NOT deserve all of the credit for it because I had to go out into the world, much as any child does, and see for myself that there are other truths out there and that yes, we get to form our own truths as well. I Love Mom and Dad, immensely and without end, but the truth is that there are a lot of things that I went through and lots of ways of being that never fit me that I thought were the right way, but they were not right for me, and the problem is that I was never told that there was another way – MY way, and until August of last year I lived in truths that were not mine.
Well, I promise you now, though, that anything that I live these days ARE mine, ALL mine, and it is a good thing because there are things that I was taught through their actions as well as their words that I find to no longer be the truth because there was never any real truth to it all to begin with – such as when you marry it is forever and nothing can break that bond…really? How about guns at my head and how about knives at my throat? How about all those things? How about all the names I was called and the shit I was blamed for….all these things, while not normal, became minimally acceptable because of the way that I was told to live was the real and the only way to. No, not that it was okay to have these things happen to me, but for me to live biblically in that “wives must submit to their husbands,” and he took it to heart and used it against me, over and over again. By the time that I’d begun to figure out that changes needed to be made, I was already no longer believing that God cared about me…..but it was not God who did what was done to me – those were human beings who were still believing what the adults in THEIR lives told them…and those adults are freakin’ DEAD!!!!
Let it be known right now that we cannot tell our kids that who they are is WRONG because it does not match what we wanted for them according to us, and the next person who tells me that I am wrong for this way of thinking is most surely going to get their asses chewed in a long, intellectually inspired email that will most surely let those who would tell me that it is a kid’s fault that they make the choices they do because of other kids, I will remind them that they are kids, that kids have their heads up their rear ends for the most part and until they grow a little, and that kids, for all their craziness and all of their rebelliousness – kids are not to blame alone for the stupid shit they do. When a kid rebels, and this is me just being the preacher’s kid that I was brought up as, it is not because they want to do what they want to do all the time – mind you, I am not one of those moms who is trying to hang out with her kids and be “friends” with them. I Love Them, and I want them to have the best of everything, and that means I cannot be their “friend” right now because I am too busy mothering them, yes, even the 18 year old…kids do the stupid shit they do, and rebel, and do things that blow our minds because we – the adults in their lives- were so busy defending beliefs that were handed down to us that we forget that it is our duty to hear them.
Oh yes…believe it when I say that this is also NOT a posting which vilifies parents, which makes it seem like kids should just run the fuck amok – it isn’t like that at all. I am saying that we have to clue into what a kid is telling us they need so that we can have better communication with them – they are watching what we are doing, waiting to check us, but sometimes, when the message we give is assumed accepted by them and is discerned and deciphered the wrongest way? Kids lie about things that their parents did to them and cause havoc in the lives of their family, but you cannot place the blame on the kid for being a little shit – somewhere in their lives, an influential adult was there actively living the truth that the child thinks and believes he, too, is privy to, when not even the god damned adult showing the kid this shit is correct because he is NOT!!! Yet, this is the message that the child receives, lives, and creates bullshit in the lives of others with.
We don’t hear them because we are ignoring the idea that they know what is bothering them, but they are too scared to bring it up to us because they do not want us to be mad at them for having a different thing to believe as their own truth While the girl in Hawaii should have known better, it would not be up to the parents to punish her for her actions only but also to bring about a better and clearer understanding of why it is that they would be mad in the first place. Yes, she did something stupid, and yes, she should receive some sort of discipline, but of what sort? Does she deserve to be physically punished, or does more need to be revealed? My hope is that this girl’s family will allow her to tell them what her problems are and will not judge her for them as much as I fear they will. It all boils down to just exactly what it is that we as parents and influential adults in the lives of any kid offer them, both verbally and through our actions. We must ask ourselves why it is that this child hurts enough to want to run away from the people who love them the most and more, we must be willing to accept their answer as the only truth they know, because it is a truth which they formed all on their own.
We adults have this stupidity about us that makes us think that just because we are older than our kids are that we know it all in comparison. Umm, no…wrong answer…no no no…
If we see a kid crying and we ask them what is wrong, and they tell us that they got into trouble, and we choose to go on about parenting them with our mouths through a lecture about why it is that we think they are in trouble, and we do not bother to let that kid have a word in edgewise, we are being just as bad as were the parents who brought us into this world who also, some of them, still want to see us as less intelligent than they are. While it is true that we will never have the quantity of stuff we know while our parents are living in this day age, make no mistake that it is not because they are smarter than we are – wiser, sure, but smarter? Nah…but rather and ONLY Because they have been here longer and the longer you have been breathing, naturally the more you are going to know in so far as factual information and life experience. Yet, not even that is enough of a reason to make a kid growing up now realize what it is that we are really saying when we tell them that maybe the choices that they made were not the best ones.
And further, we are not inclined to explain to them what they need to hear. We are only willing to tell them how their actions have affected us, most of the time. What they really need to know is that the reason we are angry is because of their actions and not because of who they are. This is something that was lost on me for a long time, both as a child as well as a parent and mores so, a wife. I felt like no one listened to me, no one who mattered and who could have made a difference. Truth of the matter is, it mattered, and also, it would have made a remarkably huge difference in the way that I have handled my life and my Self all these years.
Yeah – I said it, now deal with it. Our parents were not perfect, guys, which means that by no means are we perfect, but we want the kids in our lives to believe every word we have to say to them and we want them to grow up into being fine and upstanding adults in the world but we want them to go out there and spread OUR truth rather than allowing them to discover who they are through their own truths. This may sound like a whole lot of flighty bullshit to a lot of people, but the reality is that we do our kids no kind of service when we tell them that they are wrong about things which apply solely and only to them.
When I was a 17 year old girl my ideals about life, love, men and living were all formed through what I was shown as well as what I was told. I was told constantly that “a man, is a man, is a man, is a man,” by my mother, but it was not until many years later, when in conversation with my kid sister, Napua, that I’d heard my own voice saying these same words to this child, and it was at that point where, when it came down to it, I figured that I should take this one chance to tell this child that no, little sister, not all men are evil. While they may LOVE the attentions and the physical attributes of women, no, child, they are not all pigs. No, child, they will not all hurt you. No, child, I am not lying.
It was then that I began to question what the motives were of all of the adults in my life up to that point. It turns out, and quite by my own finding this out through going through things that could have been way better explained to me, that a lot of what our parents tell us is meant as a face-saving mechanism that protects them while keeping their kids ignorant to the truth. I have done this. This is how I know that this, for real, is the truth.
And again – yup…said it…deal with it, because it is the truth.
I like it so much I will say it again!! YEAH! I SAID IT NOW DEAL WITH IT because you know it is the f*cken TRUTH!!!
Yes, I happen to be every bit as foul mouthed as I am because I am fucking MAD MAD MAD!!! We have the very nerve to tell kids to not make us look bad, but we do not realize that everything they know, they know because of what we have both said and showed them. It has little to do with a material thing that causes a kid to go out and steal that thing, and everything to do with the sense of superiority within their peer group that any kid will steal a new gadget (or shoes, or clothes…) RARELY is it because a kid is a thief and rarely will it ever be that the kid is a thief when said kid actually gets caught doing what they do.
It is the attention, and kids need lots of it. We parents are more inclined to tell them what they are not allowed to do than what they ARE allowed to do, and this is something that I learned in the rearing of both my kid sister as well as my own oldest kid, Jeremy. We are more willing to tell a kid what he or she is not allowed to do than we are to tell them what they are allowed to do, and we do this as a measure of keeping them controlled and thinking like we think we want them to.
We cannot do this to them if we expect them to have as much of a fucking clue as we think WE have (we don’t…I promise we don’t….it’s the truth and I will never back down from it – we do not fucking know it all so please hurry up and get over your selves already, ok?). We are the ones who cause them to do what they will, because kids, until we teach them how to have a response, are reactive. Once we realize that kids are reactive and not responsive we can begin to teach them how to be responsive.
Too often we have reacted when it is that we should have responded. Our reactions are chock full of negative jargon and there is already enough negativity in their lives as it is …yet we feel as though somehow it is okay to teach them through negative means who they are, and really doesn’t have to be this way at all. We can hold them up and glorify them in their talents and tell them that it is okay to be who they are as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and more, we have to let them know through our actions preceding our words that they are fine and good people, that right now at this time in their lives the world seems like it is going to always coddle them and always going to Love them for them and we know that it will not.
When they find themselves in trouble we need to Love them rather than only chastise them, and when we chastise them we need to address the action rather than the kid. A kid’s actions …hell a lot of kids’ actions…are stupid as hell, but this does not mean that we are allowed to call the kid stupid. It is one thing to call the action stupid, or foolish, but we do not realize the impact we have on people with our words, and the word “stupid” is one that was used to describe me by a math teacher…three of them, really…and it was used to address me by an anonymous male adult in my life when I was 17 that the reason that I might not have graduated was because I was too stupid to figure out math….can you feel the difference in energy between those two things?
“You are too stupid to do math,” versus “why are these math problems such a hard thing for you to figure out?”
Can you feel how each of these things can impact a kid, one way or the other? Can you feel that energetic shift in the middle of your gut go from tense to relaxed when you read them aloud? Do not forget that feeling, because that is the feeling which a lot of adults do not believe a kid feels when they are presented with one problem in two different ways.
HEY! ADULTS!! Get a FUCKING CLUE ALREADY !!!
STOP blaming kids for things that the adults in their lives are supposed to teach them how to prevent, ok?
In fact, why don’t you go ahead and chomp off a little bit of that humble pie you’ve been actively telling your kids to eat but that you refuse to eat a piece of, yourself? Why don’t you walk a minute in their shoes and recall what it felt like when your own parents reprimanded you when instead all they really had to do was listen and trust that you were there spilling your guts to them, fully trusting that they would, at least that one time, respond rather than react?
Why don’t you remember that feeling and then hate on me once you have done as I and many, many other parents who have formed their own truths and have given those lessons in forming their own truths to our own kids and then you can come back and tell me that I am messing with your broken bullshit child rearing program as it is…and yes, if you are mad at my words, then that means I am sitting here either making you think outside of your own tired box, or I am making that kid of yours RIGHT!!!
Pie, anyone? Eat it, because you forced your kids to…in the catering business there is a rule that a good chef will always eat what he expects his customers to….so go ahead and chomp down on some of that humble pie, because very truly, YOU FUCKING EARNED IT!!
Listen to your kids, dammit!! They are the first ones who will know when they are hurting and more, when you are the one who hurt them…
And yes, of course…I still LOVE YOU ALL !!