Monday, October 1, 2012

Protecting Our Children

I've got to get something off my chest. It's been bothering me for a while. And the recent "child shaming" story was the last straw.

To parents that degrade, harshly berate, shame and speak awful of their children: what is wrong with you?! You make me sick and you should be ashamed of your behavior. They are CHILDREN. YOU are the adult. What example are you setting?  That it's ok to say hurtful and hateful things as long as it's "anonymous" or in jest? It's NOT ok. Children deserve our love, not to be the butt of some joke.

It makes me cringe to hear parents put down their children. I've read mommy blogs (one in particular) that allows parents to anonymously confess whatever is on their mind. On any given day, there are a handful of moms complaining and saying truly hurtful things about their kids And for what gain? So they can receive affirmation or approval from other parents? And by receiving so many "likes" that they are justified in saying whatever they want?

Look, I realize that adults aren't perfect and will make mistakes. They are most likely going to say something awful in the heat of the moment and will probably regret it before the last word leaves their lips. But whether spoken or written, it can never be taken back.

I also realize that I'm no parent expert 10 weeks into this whole "being a mommy thing." But I have spent almost two decades as a babysitter, camp counselor, church nursery attendant working with kids from a few weeks old to pre-teens. Please believe me, I KNOW kids are not well-behaved 100% of the time. And yes, it can be frustrating when they won't stop screaming in the grocery store isle, roll their eyes and talk back, or prefer to running through the house screaming to sleeping at 11pm. But can any parent say they never did those things? We ALL did. It's a part of being a kid. Hopefully (if we had good parents or guardians), we had someone to put a stop to our behavior by setting boundaries, reasonable punishment, appropriate rewards and good role modeling.

I know my life experience have shaped my opinion on this heated topic.  I'm so happy to finally be a mom after going through one of the most stressful but exciting times in my life: adoption. We worked hard and waited for what seems like a lifetime before holding Emily in our arms. Knowing what it took for us to finally be a family, I cannot imagine mistreating my daughter with my words or actions.

It's been 2 years since our niece, Lauren, passed away after an awful battle with leukemia. What I wouldn't give for her to still be with us. I wonder if parents that say these things about their children would still do it if they knew their child would be gone tomorrow?

So many children in our country already suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of those that are supposed to love and protect them.  Do they really need more?  To parents everywhere: PLEASE, before you take a degrading picture or post a curse filled rant about your children, ask yourself: how am I a better parent for doing this and if my child were to see it, would they feel loved?