As a mother of children who genetically inherited mental disorders they didn’t ask for or even deserve, I often feel this guilt for the choices I made. I know their pain as though it were my own even though I try to not enable them just because they are battling. They are strong at the core even though they feel they are victims at times. I often think of it like those who speak of the ghost pain after a limb is amputated, As a mother our children are an extension of ourselves and we do actually feel the pain they go through whether it is real to us or not. We will forever be connected to them but have to accept that they are a separate being and have to be allowed to make their own choices and experience their own failures. Love them but don’t love them to death.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this has a special place in my heart as my regular followers know. I am the mother of children living with mental health challenges and I know first hand what this does to the individual living with the disorder and their family who would love them no matter what. Mental Health Disorders are invisible disabilities that most can’t even imagine how it impacts the thoughts that go through their heads. Often those suffering have no idea that they are even battling in the moment and those around them deal with the consequences. Society has labeled these battling with these disorders and made them out to be monsters or crazy, which then feeds the negative thoughts already tearing the sufferer apart from the inside. They want to just be “normal” and when they are constantly told they can’t be they often get discouraged. Society puts on the pressure and the result becomes rages, manic episodes, suicide, among other destructive results. Why can’t we get these suffering the proper help and stop stigmatizing them?
Can we take a bit of time this month of awareness and find out how we can all do our part to help and share awareness. Educate yourself a bit this month and try to understand what these battling are going through instead of hiding them and being ashamed if you have family members. The biggest thing these people need to be surrounded with are positive thoughts and lots of support. Show them that people do care about them and that there are people willing to listen.
When I think of Tough Love, I tend to wonder how can you be tough on someone you truly love? It isn’t easy to not want to help those you care about and watch them struggle when you have the means to help. How do you help them without actually enabling them?
Think about our kids and how we tend to want the best for them. If we continuously give to them without any expectations they aren’t able to learn how to fend for themselves. Now if we decide to teach them how to achieve their own goals we then give them the tools they need to succeed in life away from us. As parents we learned that we aren’t perfect ourselves but we want to give to our children what we didn’t have. In doing this there are times that we actually hurt them more than help them. If you can honestly say you have guided your children and given them the proper tools and they still choose the wrong path then it is definitely time to step back and let them figure things out for themselves. However, if you have only expected them to grow up and not shown by example how are they truly supposed to learn. Children are followers until they are shown how to be leaders. By first showing unconditional love, they still know they are loved when you are forced to implement tough love.
This same philosophy goes for those around us. If we continue to tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear, how are they going to grow and better themselves when they are perpetuating the same behaviors over and over. Tough love isn’t easy but again when your friends and family know you love them unconditionally, they will know you only say what you say out of the kindness of your heart.
Just remember that in order to implement Tough Love, you first have to show Unconditional Love. Otherwise you are just being selfish and controlling and that doesn’t teach anyone anything positive in the end.
We have two chances at a Parent/Child Relationship first as the child and then if we are lucky enough, as the parent. I am not sure either is easy. Two individuals with their own independent views can’t always see eye to eye. As a child, we often look up to our parents, believing they are perfect until that image is shattered by some event. We don’t understand until much later when we mature that we are all imperfect and we just have to accept our imperfections and learn to build up our strengths and surround ourselves with those with strengths that we have as weaknesses.
Once we grow up and become parents of our own we have another opportunity to have that Parent/Child Relationship. It is up to us to take those lessons we learned and try to teach our children from them, knowing that they may not really get it until they are parents themselves but be comfortable enough that we know we are guiding them properly. We can’t be selfish and emotional when it comes to teaching. It has to come from a grounded place and we have to not judge our children for their imperfections but not enable them either.
Guide our youth so they can become the adults we will be proud of later. Acknowledge that they may not do everything as you would but you should accept their paths and try to guide them when you are given the opportunity without judging. You never know if their way can teach them something that will take them even further than you ever imagined. In the end we have to be their role models and realize that is the only thing in our control.
As Children we are all extremely vulnerable to Negativity. If a child tells their parent they want to dance and their parent responds with something like, “Why do you want to dance? You’re too fat to dance.” Those two sentences can make a very negative impact on a child. The child looks to the parent as ” All Knowing”, if they think they’re fat then often they start seeing themselves that way no matter how the look. Same when an adult tells a child they’re stupid or a moron. This can play a huge part in that child’s self-image.
As adults, we need to learn to think before we speak to our children. Chose our words wisely and start boosting their self-image by using positivity and not allowing negativity to take root in our children.
I was recently under the weather thanks to my children being sick and them sharing it with me. It got me thinking about how we teach our children to share, but forget to tell them not their illnesses. We want them to be loving and caring and to be thoughtful and social and then we turn around and realize well there are certain things you shouldn’t do. There is always that exception to the rule.
We want them to understand that Sex is something amazing and to be shared as well, but we then tell them don’t do it. You should wait until you are an adult when you are ready for it. Well come on now if you tell a kid something is amazing or to share it, don’t you think they are going to want to experience that?
Hmmmm…Maybe these kids have us wired and they are getting us to contradict ourselves so that we question our choices when the big things happen. By them making us realize we are wrong once in awhile, then we will possibly over think our decisions when it is the big stuff. Just something to think about…or maybe it is the delirium from being sick for three days. Thanks kids, You Mother sure does love you. (Smiles)