A few years ago I learned something I have had many opportunities to use as a parent. My children are 11,9 and 7 years old. We have been through an addiction and pathway to recovery with their father and a divorce. Durring this time they have needed to test my boundaries, rules and patience to really understand where I stand as their mother. When we find ourselves in a conflict I have been able to tell them that it is ok that they test me it is their job as the child but my job as the mother is to help them continue to follow and understand the rules we have, even if they don’t always like them. Sometimes they don’t like me or the rules! I have decided that it is natural and OK! I will still love them even when they don’t love me.
Yesterday my nine-year old was really mad at me. He had not kept his end of the bargain and felt I was unfair when he didn’t still receive the privilege we had decided upon. He told me he hated me and that he wanted to move to his father’s house. He told me I was mean and that he understood why their daddy didn’t love me and didn’t want to be together with me anymore. His words hurt. They stung my heart and I am so thankful I was aware enough of my own feeling to not feel sorry for myself but to instead feel secure in my role as his mother – I know why he needs to learn about keeping his word and doing his part. I told my son it was ok that he was mad. I told him that I understood he felt I was mean and he was even allowed to hate me, BUT I was still going to love him and do my job as his mother. Stand my ground.
My eleven year old acts like the pre-teen his is becoming. He looses his temper and tells me just how unhappy he is with me. I use the same tactic with him. I like to tell them they are acting just like teens do and it is good that he is working towards independence but it is still my job to lead and guide. As his mother I will do just that. My job as mom. I am not their friend or pal I am the mom and that is not always the fun role to have.
When we have heated discussions about the rules, I often explain why I believe the rule is a good one and if they have other suggestions in how we can reach the same outcome in a more positive way I am open for new ideas but again the rules will be followed in my house untill they move out! When they cool down sometimes I tell them that when they are fathers or mothers they can allow their children to do just whatever they or their children want! They are usually wise enough to realise we have rules for our own good and they tell me that their children will not do just whatever they want but will also follow the rules.
You never know how much a child understands unless you talk about and repeat things over and over. Have the same discussion and allow for disagreements again and again. When I overhear one sibling comfort the other with ” mom has to do her job as our mom even when we don’t like it.” Then I know I am getting through to them but the road is long and sometimes bumpy.
I am happy to say after my nine-year old went to bed and thought about what he had said and my responses he was able to come to me the next day and said. “mom, sorry I was such a jerk yesterday, sometimes I say things I don’t mean when I am mad but I know you’re doing your job.” I find comfort in his words. I find satisfaction in knowing that we will not always agree but they know I love them and really understand why we do things differently than some of their friends . They will be thankful for the different perspective and experiences they receive now, and I will respect and allow them the freedom to make their own choices whatever they may be when they are able to take that responsibility.
Now, I hope my strength doesn’t fail me when I have three teens in the house! The serenity prayer is a big help already so I may just paint it on every wall in the house in a couple of years!
- & i had to pick sides (landingtrue.com)
- Evolution of Motherhood (joyofspa.com)
- This issue with children these days (rickysangeleyes.wordpress.com)
- CANADA: Growing Up As An Adopted Child (worldmomsblog.com)
- Parenting Help for Single Mothers Announces a Website to Help Single Mothers With the Best Parenting Resources (prweb.com)