I am so tired of seeing the constant headlines about children being abused. My pulse races, and I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach.
If turning a blind eye to all of the news reports would be effective, I would just ignore all of it. But that doesn’t help. And it seems to be getting more brutal.
If I could save every single child from every kind of abuse, I would do it in a second, and I would give my life to do it. I know what it’s like to grow up scared. But until then, I have something I want to say to the abusers.
All of the abusers. Sexual, verbal, physical, psychological, neglectful, you name it, I’m talking to you.
No one denies that parenting is often infuriating. Kids can push you to the brink of insanity faster than anything I’ve ever seen. Kids are a lot of work. Kids push limits and known buttons. It’s their job.
I would even venture to guess that many abused kids have undiagnosed behavioral disorders or special needs. Or maybe they don’t, and they’re just kids acting out for any other given reason.
There are a myriad of sad and inexcusable rhymes and reasons why in all kinds of families. And none of them are justified.
No child deserves to be beaten to death over soiled pants. Or hung by their feet and beaten and tortured for days for anything they may have done. No one deserves to be kidnapped and scared to death by members of their own family because they’re too nice to strangers. Are you kidding me???
I cannot understand how you can look into the eyes of a child with a broken spirit and live with yourself. I cannot understand how you could use enough force on a child to break a bone or leave deep bruises and welts. Or how on Earth you can’t stop after hearing their terrible screams and knowing you’ve really hurt them.
You aren’t strong and powerful if your kids cower in fear or walk on eggshells when you are around. You are a monster. And you are an asshole. And it makes me want to smack you around for a bit.
You can exercise authority without fists or daggered words.
Kids aren’t going to ask you to have a seat next to them on the couch and hold your hand to discuss the root cause of your deep-seeded anger issues. They aren’t going to make you a cup of tea and lovingly ask you to lie down and take a break in the next room.
That’s your job. To know your limits. To ask for help. To remove yourself from the situation for a bit when you know you are getting close to the red zone. That’s your job and no one else’s.
If you are an abuser, I’m going to put on my love goggles for a second and look at you.
I see a little boy or girl that was probably also abused. Maybe you were “just raised that way.” I am looking straight into your heart and into the eyes of your inner child, and I’m telling you that I’m so sorry that happened. You didn’t deserve that. I am giving you a great big SAFE, long and loving hug. No one should have to grow up that way. Ever. I see and validate your pain, and I am sorry. I truly truly am.
And now my tough love goggles are on.
Do you want to know what’s impressive?
Beating down a defenseless child isn’t impressive.
Putting your foot down and saying THE BUCK STOPS HERE is impressive.
Taking a deep breath to compose yourself and think before you speak or act is impressive. Letting your kids watch you handle anger and stress the way they should handle anger and stress is impressive.
Rising above your own past to love and encourage kids is impressive.
Watching them model your behavior is impressive. Seeing them look at you with respect and admiration instead of fear is impressive.
Making the sacrifice to better yourself and STOP THE CYCLE is impressive.
Watching your child grow up happy and healthy is the greatest redemption for what you went through. And that is the most impressive of all.
You are raising children that will one day raise children. What do you want that to look like?
They are going to one day be mature enough to see you for who you really are. Teach them how to live. And make it count.