I Know You Think I Let My Child Get Away With Murder
In fact, the word “discipline” comes from the Latin word disciplina, which means “instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge.” That realization forced me to consider a really important question: If there is no learning taking place, is it really discipline, or is it just imposing my will on a disabled child?
And this folks is the heart of it all. I don’t expect the parent judging to ever end, although I really wish it would. But at the end of the day we really need to ask ourselves if our children are truly learning and preparing for adulthood or are we just bullying our children into being little more than trained monkeys.
And it is this judgement that I struggle with every day. Mental illness does some seriously weird stuff to the brain. It will twist logic. It will drive you forward with the blinders on at high speeds. It will lie to you with a conviction like no other. Not only do I battle with this on a personal level every day and take medications for it to keep this in check, I’m now raising not one but TWO children that must do battle with this same thing every day. I know people think I’m spoiling them rotten. I get it. But know this: we are a non-traditional family doing things in a non-traditional way. My primary focus has been and always will be in teaching all my children in how to master, cope, and over come the disorders they have been diagnosed with. What good is it to teach them manners if they can’t remain mentally stable? I can tell you right now that manners often goes out the window when you have a psychotic break. I’m pretty certain anyone who has experienced frightening hallucinations, or has taken care of someone who experienced them, will agree with me.
Excuse me for “not caring” about swearing as much as you. It actually allows me to know how severe his state of mind is. Yes I address it, but not with punishment usually. Which words he’s using and how he’s using them tells me whether he’s in crisis or if he’s just stirring up trouble. I much rather address the cause of the swearing. If he was sneakier he would hide his trouble making intent by not swearing in advance – but then I would have a harder time in snipping it in the bud. If he was more self composed and emotionally regulated he wouldn’t be swearing like a sailor, but he would be better off for it. As uncomfortable as it is to hear a 7 year old swear, it’s actually incredibly useful – like the various gauges in the dashboard of your car. Is it normal? No. It is traditional? No. Does it work? Yes. Is he swearing at school? Not that I’m aware of. At least I haven’t gotten any phone calls about it…. Yet. But this little boy tends to come home wrecked and fully charged by the end of the day. Every. Day. So some days, yes, I let him rant and swear – as long as he doesn’t throw things while he’s at it. I even let him put himself in time out…
Because in moments like that it should never be about controlling the kid. It should be all about teaching our kid how to control themselves. They already know we have all the power. They are constantly painfully aware of the “Adult Conspiracy” as Piers Anthony likes to call it in his Xanth novels. Have we so easily forgotten our childhoods? Have we so easily forgotten what it felt like? Or are we just all too willing to enjoy the dominance and power that adulthood brings? We really need to be asking ourselves that when raising our children.
I’m still trying to process what happened earlier this week at my parents’ house. I get on Little Bear’s case because he was watching garbage on YouTube again. You know the violent crap with a lot of swearing nobody likes to hear. It’s distressing because most of it that he’s seeking out is typically the sort of stuff featuring mistreatment of others. Keep in mind it’s not the swearing so much as the violence and the mistreatment that has me calling it as a “no go” and instructing him to shut it off. But again, it’s usually the swearing that flags my attention. Innocent content doesn’t have swearing after all. So him and I go the rounds as always and my dad just HAS to butt in. Little Bear of course escalates and decides to put himself in time out and locks himself in the big bedroom upstairs. He didn’t slam the door or anything. My feelings on this was fine, he can do that and when he comes downstairs he will be grounded from the PC the rest of the night. But NO my dad can’t leave shit alone and literally busted the door open. He’s all satisfied with himself and Little Bear is asking me why can’t anyone listen to him. Meanwhile I’m wondering why is it so satisfying to be such a bully like this to a little kid every time? This wasn’t about discipline or teaching, this was about establishing power. And then he starts in with me about how I should be punishing my son. I told him he was already grounded from the PC for the night and that’s why he went upstairs for a time out. That’s when my dad went into his “I’m not going to admit I am wrong” pouts and said something about how Little Bear should be punished for more than that. Little Bear wasn’t the one that wrecked the door trying to prove his dominance. Little Bear just wanted space to be left alone and cool down. I’m still trying to figure out where the crime is in that. I recall the time my dad got angry with me as we were getting ready for my wedding and he hauled himself off in his truck elsewhere claiming his wasn’t going to be attending. Why is it okay for him to do shit like this, but not okay for Little Bear to ask to be left alone?
Well after both settled down and were leaving me alone, I finally figured out how to use my father’s anti virus program to completely block YouTube on Windows 10 on the PC that Little Bear is allowed to use. Well at least until the boys figure out how to change the settings on the firewall…. Now I just need to figure out how to do the same on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I’m done with this fight. He’s been warned a million times. Time to shut it down.
My dad later commented he hadn’t thought that maybe Little Bear would be close to the door and would get hit. He was lucky that he wasn’t. My dad is right. My dad has no idea how tightly we are watched for abuse and neglect for the simple fact that I am a mentally ill mother with special needs children. What would have happened if Little Bear had gotten hurt and had to be taken in to the ER? Nothing good for my father. That shit at the very least would have been documented. There is a very important reason I do things with my children the way I do. Just one. And that reason is CPS.
The “normal” folk may have the bliss of never having to worry about them from one day to the next. But not me. Not when I know that every single provider is an obligated reporter. Not when I know that statistically special needs children are at greater risk for abuse and neglect so these children SHOULD be watched more closely for signs. Not when I know that the stigma against parents with mental illness is out there. And let’s face it, most of us – myself included – are struggling like hell to be functional. So we too are being watched like hawks. I want to believe they are watching so they can swoop in with support when it’s needed. Sadly this isn’t always what happens. So I do my best to surround myself with a good army of watchers. People that care. People that listen. People that actually help when you say you need it. This way CPS never comes into the picture. They don’t need to if you proactively protect yourself with the right people. But that takes time, knowing how to read people, and being willing to invest in working relationships. It’s exhausting.
And the people that judge… they just throw monkey wrenches into everything. Nothing good comes of it. I believe that for every person you judge – for whatever reason – there are at least two other people judging you. That’s a ton of energy wasted on negativity going around. Shouldn’t we be making an effort to break this cycle and instead make an effort to understand? I mean if we are going to spend that much energy on a person, the least we could do is spend it on understanding. I don’t get why my dad does what he does. I probably never will but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying.
6 thoughts on “Parental Judgement Blues”
This is fantastic. If only I had a mother like you. My great grand father , my grand father, and my mother were all raised in military familys. Then my mom married a guy in the military. The was your father reacted would have been normal for me. As it sounds like it was for you. I try to not be like my mom because I do remember what it is like to be a child. Michael my not married to other half was also raised in a military family. His solution is to yell. I hate yelling. His thoughts on the subject are his family is like that and he turned out fine. I would beg to differ on that subject. I admire you for letting your children be little people and not trained monkeys as you put it. Lol ( great mental image) I would have loved a childhood where anyone would have heard what I was saying.
I did not proofread it. Sorry.
Again I’ll remind you I’m no saint. There are times I too lose my temper and yell. But I’ll own it and apologize after and try harder to not let it happen again, but still. I am my father’s first born after all.
I too grew up in the military and yes this was pretty much the norm for me – if anything what happened between my son and my father was actually mild sadly. To be honest though, I do have to give my father credit for the progress he has made over the years. Still it’s exhausting having to explain to him why this kind of stuff is not okay. There was a time where it would have gone farther than just breaking the door. There would have been a spanking.
And this is the part I never could understand with those that call spanking discipline. If taking a belt and using on an adult is considered legally as assault and battery then why is the same thing on a child considered not only as discipline but as a right?
I find it distressing that animals have stricter legal protections than children do in this country. Whether those protections are enforced or not is another can of worms, I’m just saying we have stricter laws in place for animals than we do for children. In our country there are many people who call themselves parents of dogs and cats – or whatever pets they may have. We have elevated these animals to this level in our society but for whatever reason we are not willing to do that for our human children.
It even shows in our schools. In many cases, our labor laws give us more breaks and more rights than what our children have in many of our schools. Yet we do not think to question this. We do not stop to ask why. I don’t know what it’s like in other states but in my state if you work 6 hours by law you MUST have a 30 minute lunch break minimum. They in school from 8am to 2:30pm. That’s 6.5 hours total for their school day here. The high school only gets a 20 minute break for lunch.
I find it completely odd how it’s against the law to do that to adults in the workplace, but totally legal to treat minors like that in the classroom. Bear in mind that many jobs involve sitting at a desk, dealing with paperwork. Yet we wonder why our children are not doing as well as we hope they should be. Not only do we have this long history of treating children as less than human but our country has been applying extra pressure on them through the schools ever since the No Child Left Behind Act. It has become more about the performance of the assessments and less about the quality of the education for these policy makers.
And yea, as a child the most frustrating thing for me was feeling like I was never heard. Back then I was damn near willing to sell my soul just to have a voice. And the most insulting thing about all of it was having every adult telling me how smart I supposedly was but then getting immediately dismissed simply because of my age any time I did speak. What was the point then in telling me I’m smart? What was the point then in all that hard work in earning those grades if I wasn’t allowed to discuss what I had learned? I got to a point where I felt like it was a hoax. Like it was just a big lie to get me to do the work in the first place. It took me going to college to restore my faith in the education system, or at least in myself.
I don’t want that for my boys. So it broke my heart to see my oldest throw in the towel two years ago in the public school. It’s why I’m homeschooling him now. It breaks my heart to hear my youngest shout “Why is no one listening to me?” like a broken record now. I’m trying to listen and I’m trying to understand. I haven’t forgotten how hard it is where he is at and admittedly I still have days like his. School sucks, dealing with Papa is hard, and then you have all this noise in your head on top of it all. I know! Heaven knows just how well I know. I just wish he would believe me when I tell him there is a better way than raging and lashing out. But I get why he does that too.
Sorry it took so long to respond. I go through phases like a tree. Sometimes in bloom, sometimes it’s like winter.
To often people forget what it’s like to be young. I remember what it was like to be their age. They act like children have nothing to say. Like because they are small and their brain is still growing that they can’t think logically. I believe without the frontal lobe children have the ability to see right and wrong and not be distracted by the grey area that is our society. Mt daughter is as tall as me and wears a size 11 shoe. She complains when people treat her like she is small and her opinion does not matter. A lady at the store talked down to her the other day because of her age. She was not happy. She kept saying why would she treat me like that, I’m taller than her. lol She was about a foot taller than the lady in the store.
She also ask why I talk to my mom. She says my mom is mean and acts like a spoiled child. It’s hard to explain why we put up with difficult parents. I tell her it’s because she is my mother, and her behavior has helped make me who I am. I like who I am, and my mother taught me how not to act.
Maybe we should suggest to them writing a blog. Then they could share and not have to hold it in. I think keeping it to myself was the most toxic thing I could have been doing.
The school system is producing broken children. It’s awesome that you are homeschooling. Speaking of, how are you and your sons doing? I hope well. Are you homeschooling your youngest son now to?
My youngest son is still going to public school due to the fact we have shared custody and he doesn’t want our son to be homeschooled. He actually had the nerve to suggest military school at one point and even my father, who is a veteran and very much a military man, said would break this child. My now ex-husband at least had the decency to back off on that when he heard that. Little Bear is getting better now that they have changed his diagnosis to Bipolar and Autism. He had spent about 40 days in in-patient not long ago and 3 doctors observed him during that time. His meds were completely over hauled and now the school has him on a modified day and they are working on evaluations and completely reworking his IEP to meet him where he’s at right now. We’ll have another meeting some time in January I believe.
My oldest son, Scholar Owl, is doing loads better. They recently switched him from Unspecifed Bipolar to Bipolar 2. We enrolled him in the Adult Ed’s High School Diploma program this year for his final year of homeschooling and not only did they accept all of his homeschool course credits, but he also aced all of their assessments. All they needed him to do for his diploma is a senior portfolio project, which he’s working on right now. I am so proud of him!
Tuxedo Cat is still in the public school high school, but he is thriving. They have him in a career exploration program right now as part of his IEP and he’s surprising everyone this year with it – including me. He’s still developing his figurative language and he’s becoming more health conscious.
Wow, that’s awesome. So happy for you. My friends some has autism. So I have been doing research for about three years now to find the root cause. They say it’s aluminum poisoning. Heavy metals. Now we are looking for ways to detox heavy metals out of the body. In hopes that this will help. You are an amazing mom. 🙂