kids are people too dammit

By the age of ten, I had experienced every form of abuse possible at the hands of my two dads (a biological and step-father.) Though I wouldn’t remember some of it until a later age, it certainly affected my thoughts, perceptions and feelings throughout life. The effects of abuse, for me, wouldn’t come to a complete head until I had my own children.

The past couple of days I have jokingly or rather light-heartedly referenced how I can “lose my shit” over someone correcting or speaking to my children in a way that I don’t necessarily like. Some of you may be thinking, “Jeesh, woman! Get over yourself. I would want to send your kids to the corner if I were around them too!” And that may be true.

The thing is, no matter how much my kids may be misbehaving, I never want to make them feel disrespected or small. Do you know what I mean by small? The way a child feels when someone who is twice their size gets in their face and pokes them in the chest with their finger? It doesn’t hurt them or terrorize them, but it makes them feel out of control physically. You’re in their space and yelling and, frankly, when I see it happen to my kids I go right back to being a ten year-old little girl with no rights or respect. Just an object to be yelled at.

I know the people around my kids would never purposefully make my kids feel that way. And hell, my kids may not even take it the way I see it. But when I feel it for my kids, I see red. My mama bear instinct kicks in and I will protect my kids from whomever, whenever, wherever. It’s happened between my husband and I on more than one occasion. He gets stern with the kids and has a gruff voice and all I want to do is protect them. I know I’ve undermined him and pissed him off beyond words, but I can’t help it. I know he would never harm our children and has no intention of making them feel small, but my knee-jerk reaction takes over and it happens.

There are some things that I definitely have to get over. And then there are some things that I know may not be the big deal I make them to be, but I don’t care. I will always strive to make my kids feel respected and safe. They may be little hellions in the process. They may piss everyone around them off, including me. And I will deal with that too. But I hope to do so in a way that creates a conversation, and understanding. Not in a way that just scares the shit out of them.

I don’t want to be my kids’ friend. I honestly don’t, but I do want to have open lines of communication that stems from mutual respect. If they can’t respect me without fearing me then I don’t know what to do. But I don’t really want to be feared. I spent my life in fear of the authorities in my life. I don’t like the insecurity I felt from that as a kid and I don’t like who that made me as an adult. There has to exist a happy medium somewhere. I know my kids’ grandparents and older people in our lives absolutely don’t agree with me. They think I’m soft and a less than great mom at times. That bothers me, but I’m not sure it bothers me enough to want to change it or apologize for it.

My kids aren’t out skinning cats or flaunting their boobs. If that starts, I guess I’ll have to reconsider.

I know this is a break from my usual irreverent and childish behavior. I just want my voice to express from time to time the things that are important to me. And, right now, my kids and their state of well-being are heavy on my heart. I want them to know that their mom believes that kids are people too dammit.

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4 thoughts on “kids are people too dammit

  1. ohhh, this is a very sweet blog – almost making me cry friend! you have every reason to be where you are at and you have every right to raise your kids the way you feel is the best – and who are we or anyone to judge you? who says that you have to raise your kids to “fear” you?? i try to be stern with max – but its a joke – no one fears me, especially my own child. i’m barely 5’1 and even when i try to have an authoratative voice its a joke. so, i have to find otherways to discipline and raise max. having your kids respect you sounds like a good idea to me. you are a great mom – and a great person kel! don’t let anyone tell you otherwise:)

    • Thanks, Erin! It is kind of funny to think of you trying to scare Max. 🙂

      I know I can get all up in my kids’ business with the best of them. They’ve certainly had their share of time-outs and *gasp* spankings. But I see a difference in my kids if I parent them out of anger and intimidation. Elle is a brilliant girl- very well behaved and respectful. It may take Jordan a bit longer to make it to that point, but I’m confident he’ll get there.
      Anyway, no one is out and out telling me I’m a loser mom, but… you know the feeling of when someone is looking at you sideways and down their nose? THAT! Ugh.

  2. It’s an important voice to have and make known…even if only to your kids. You know, I think outside of abuse, people need to mind their own business when it comes to how others raise their children. If they think you’re being too soft, well…fuck em. The fact it, we are all products of our experiences and that’s going to affect every aspect of who we are, including how we parent. If they have such strong opinions on how to raise yours, might I suggest they head down to the county or state offices and sign up as foster parents. There’s plenty of kids in need of some of that excellent parenting they feel so inclined to share with you.

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