I grew up during the time where children were seen and not heard. Where children didn’t partake in “grown folks” conversations. Where children didn’t have nerves to get on. Where children didn’t close room doors because you don’t pay no bills in this house. Where you couldn’t express feeling disrespected, unheard or demeaned. Simply put, a child stayed in a child’s place and boundaries were nonexistent.
Experiences with my own children often lead to moments of self discovery for me. When it comes to parenting my children, I’m definitely a new age parent. I am the parent that allows my children to have opinions, and dare I say it, speak their minds. When conveying how they feel, I’m able to separate my personal feelings.
I knock before entering their rooms, because boundaries. I respect, “mom I’m pissed and don’t feel like talking about that right now, so come back later”, because boundaries. I listen with my heart and parent without ego, because boundaries. I’m a strong believer that parenting from the ego impairs your hearing, and ability to make sound decisions.
A recent exchange between my middle son and I inspired this blog. My son and I were sitting on the floor and I asked him for a hug and he responded no. My immediate response was, “you better give your mom a hug”, then grabbed him and hugged him even though he was hesitant. He immediately said to me, “mom, you know that’s emotional abuse right?” Whew y’all, his response took my breath away. I’ve parented long enough, and have messed up enough to know that I needed to take a moment before I responded. I repeated what he said then got to thinking.
Y’all, I looked up the definition of emotional abuse. This 16 year old of mine is so flipping intelligent!
Emotional Abuse - Emotional abuse is a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate another person. In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviors that wear down a person's self-esteem and undermine their mental health. (From article https://www.verywellmind.com/identify-and-cope-with-emotional-abuse-4156673 )
One might think, reading and researching? Yes, this too is apart of successful parenting. Had I emotionally abused my son my forcing him to hug me? 100% yes. I completely ignored his no, played my mom card, and forced him to do something that made him uncomfortable. My actions in short were manipulative.
After a bit of self examining, I went to him and I apologized. I verbally acknowledged my wrong. Parents, never be too big to apologize to your children. It’s a teaching exercise for you, and them.
Allowing children to create healthy boundaries when their young leads to continuing the practice into adulthood. As a child who was forced to do certain things, to this day I still have a hard time establishing boundaries without feeling some kind of guilt. I’m still a work in progress.
I’m grateful that I’m raising strong willed children, and while sometimes they clam up on me, I’m thankful for the times they do speak up.
Until next time...🦋