I have written a lot about glass houses. Maybe because I despise those who judge. Perhaps because I just might find myself behind those very same glass walls from time to time. As a parent, I have had my share of stellar moments and I have had my share of not so stellar times. When I was growing up, I had a pretty decent childhood. I never saw my parents fight. I never heard them talk about finances and never had to worry about their bills.
I did however, know that my dad had “a drinking problems” he had to wine and dine clients in his line of work and my mom made the mistake of unloading her worries on me at a very young age. I am not blaming her. She did not realize that she was rocking my solid childhood to smitherings at the time. She threw me wonderful birthday parties and baked with me, she read stories to me and built me wonderful doll houses. She was defintely where my artistic and creative side comes from and she taught me about Jesus. My dad was the one who I hung out with on the weekends, if he had a project, I was his wingman, tagging along to the hardware store or the barbershop. He took me school clothes shopping every year and encouraged my writing. I remember some amazing talks with both of them. But even though I am a “talker” I never felt that I could talk to my dad about his drinking.
When you are a kid and the one person who is your hero, who makes everything better, could make everything come tumbling down as well, it kind of shakes a kid’s whole being. You feel out of control and yet you really don’t understand any of it while it is happening. Years later, I studied Psychology. I worked in a private Psychiatric department at a hospital in my twenties. I even considered a profession in it. The whole thing fascinates me. I started out working with adolscents and that was about the time when the insurance companies started screwing around with coverages and adults and geriactrics had better coverage so slowly over the years that I was there, I was moved to the adults. It really frustrated me because it IS all about where we come from. We need to start with the kids and give them the tools in their adulthood. I know now that as I look back at the damage done in my own young life that I could have used some kind of an explanation why I felt so odd, scrambling to find my own control in my so called perfectly imperfect world. Kids are great in following the lead and pretending that everything is okay when it is not.
When my kids were young, I tried to never say bad things about their dad or burden them with too much. But I know they heard our fighting. I know I made a whole set of other mistakes and no matter how hard I tried to protect them, their childhood damaged them in someway. We are never going to give our kids the perfect childhood. But we do need to make an effort to protect them. As I look back through my own journey and education. I think that the thing that made me so frustrated with the switch from adolescent and not want to continue with working with adults… is because adults are so darn selfish. We say we put our kids before ourselves but we need to consider them more. What are they hearing? How much do they really know? Are you really protecting them? Or…Are you fooling yourself? How much do your kids know about your problems? Think about it for more than a minute.
I don’t mean to judge. I see my own glass walls perfectly clear and realize I have shared too much with my kids even though I set out to never do that. They are both adults now and I stand at my glass wall and look out at the world that I have created for me and them and think that now that I have some perspective, I want to share my message…. If you are reading this and have young children, I’m not judging you… I am imploring you to stop and really look at what you may be doing. I am trying to help you not make the same mistakes that I have come from… The whole point of my blog… heck, the whole point of all of our lives… is to learn from our mistakes. And I am here to tell you that your children and mine really don’t need nor want to know our every waking thought. And for some reason, I feel the need to share the message TODAY
Please STOP robbing your children of their right to be children.
I mean, I get that we can shelter them to the point of them not being able to handle real problems when it is time for them to go out and live their own lives. But I am not talking about that… We just need to stop in our tracks when we are going through a moment of crisis and consider who else is in the room… And if your children are nearby…save that break down for another time behind closed doors and…. for heaven sakes… let them have their childhood!