come into my closet, come under my bed, where you'll find me hiding,
the fear in my head.

abuse in the past, now, where do i start, making my future,
healing my heart.

crushed, and broken, falling fast-
needing comfort, make it last.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Assignment from Hell?: her REGRET

I am currently taking a Marriage and Family course. I find myself struggling with some of the course material and we are getting into the issues of parenting, childhood; with abuse and neglect issues right around the corner.

The questions are loaded with meaning and as I write responses I find myself in conflict with what I
want to write and what I find myself able to write. Sometimes the assignments rip my heart, yet again, to pieces. I want to write something simple, easy and without really scratching my own surface...what I find is that I am writing more...

What I am finding
is that in the opening
of wounds I can heal them.

The Question:

Based on your life experiences, what makes a good parent? What makes a bad parent? Does your definition of what makes a good or bad parent change depending on the age of the child? Should our parenting styles or techniques change as our children get older or should they stay the same? Explain. In your family of orientation, what child-rearing attitudes (authoritarian, permissive, or authoritative) predominated? What impact did your parents child-rearing attitudes have on you? Interview either one or both of your parents. If you do not have access to your parents, interview the parents of a close friend or relative. Ask them to describe their greatest joys and challenges as a parent. If they had to do it again, what would they do differently? What would they do the same?

My response:

Looking to this assignment with trepidation I have finally emotionally and with great perspective completed the task at hand. Beginning with the "based on... life experience" I have come to some conclusions as to what I feel makes a good parent. Going into this assignment I had really strong affirmation as to what makes a BAD parent, both of my parents fell under that category.

What I discovered is that even as I make mistakes I am doing my best, ...better than that, I believe I am a GOOD parent!!!

Based on your life experiences, what makes a good parent? What makes a bad parent?
Beginning with the bad. Being selfish is the number one quality that I believe contributes to bad parenting.

I think that when you choose to become a parent that you have a crucial role in another persons life and well being and that you can not longer BE SELFISH.

Having perspective I realize that I make many wise decisions to put myself first and I do not see the negative effects on my children in stated appropriate cases because there is a GREAT difference between tending to ones self and being selfish.

My philosophy and perspective is this:

I have come to make decisions based on whether my need can be a positive thing for my children, needs like tending to ones self so that positive parenting is the outcome rather than negative parenting.

There is GREAT difference between this and being SELFISH.

Thus I do believe that
one's self must be attended to
in order to be
a positive parent.

The selfish that I allude to as negative is that of spending money and time for selfish desires. These negative desires include but are not limited to: alcohol, pornography, drugs, abusing for self satisfaction, indulgence in fast food, avoiding responsibility by reading novels/sewing/computer time/[
fill in the blank]... shopping, and anything obsessively allotted.

Selfishly choosing previously mentioned obsessions and addictions over spending money on groceries, health care, clothing and shelter, or paying school fees:... and time management that does not contribute to a safe and healthy environment of love and attention to a child's well-being absolutely has a negative impact; as was the case for me growing up.

This negative effect stays with a child and seems to create effects that are long term in adult children.

These effects include but are not limited to insecurity, post-traumatic stress, cycle of addictive behavior, feeling unloved, feelings of inadequacy, inability to function as an adult, irrational response and behaviors, never feeling nurtured, not allowing others to love you, mental emotional disorders, dysfunction, and often repeating the abuse that you suffered as a child.


I overlook this in many regards because I am so focused on what I am doing wrong, [part of thus stated INSECURITY].

What would I have wanted,
what kind of parent do I desire to be?

I desire to be the kind of parent who listens to my children. Who is firm in BELIEFS and in NURTURING. Whose children go to bed with FULL BELLIES, with WARM blankets, CLEAN pajamas and teeth. Whose child has GOOD HEALTH CARE and SHELTER.

Whose children are HUGGED, and TOLD that they are LOVED, whose children KNOW that their parents are going to stand on the sidelines cheering them on.

Whose child knows they have great value and worth and that they are LOVED beyond any human understanding. Which children understand FORGIVENESS and PATIENCE and RESPONSIBILITY and COMPASSION and INDIVIDUAL WORTH, because they have had these things abundantly all their lives.

Does your definition of what makes a good or bad parent change depending on the age of the child?
I do not think that my definition of bad parenting is different based on the child's age. I think that a selfish parent has different effects at different ages because children have different needs and demands at different stages.

Parents who are selfish have difficulty meeting those diverse needs. Parents who are selfish don't recognize the negative effects on their child, they are completely lost and blinded by their selfishness.

The definition of a good parent, on the other hand, can have different meanings. I believe that children need many of the previously noted qualities in their lives. To what degree each is offered is individual to the relationship between the parent and the child.

In my lacking of many of these qualities I find that some are much more important to me than others. My children, on the other hand, who have been blessed with these in abundance, would pick some to be more important than others. Again, because their childhood is the only experience they are going to have, they are going to be much more secure than I can ever imagine, and their needs are unique to what they have experienced.
Should our parenting styles or techniques change as our children get older or should they stay the same? Explain.
Parenting styles must change as children get older. Rules and definitions of abilities change based on what is in the best interest of the child. That can be hard when you have children of all ages because to a child they don't feel like things are fair when the rules are different. I always explain that you are right, the rules are different because of your different needs. If your needs were the same as your younger/older sibling than the rules for you would be the same.

Usually a child can make sense of this particularly when you state that a 15 year old should then have the same bedtime as an 8 year old if the rules were to always be the same. And an 8 year old does not want to have the same chores or hours of homework as their 15 year old sibling.

Children can understand with confidence in their parents when communication is open, often and effective.

Therefore parenting techniques and styles have to change to meet the needs of the child and the parent based on age and stages of life.

In your family of orientation, what child-rearing attitudes (authoritarian, permissive, or authoritative) predominated?

For my childhood I could not really put the parenting into one category. Without getting too personal here there was absolutely no consistency:

it varied between neglect and beatings.

Interview either one or both of your parents. If you do not have access to your parents, interview the parents of a close friend or relative.
I spoke to my mother briefly about her parenting once and have chosen to not open the can of worms again for this assignment.
I had a dead-beat dad, who has become an in and out grandparent, and thus can not or rather, choose not, to open that can either.
My step-father should be removed from the universe and I prefer to not attempt a conversation with him.

My mother, in our brief conversation stated that she had a lot of regrets.
I have a great deal of scars emotionally when it comes to her regrets;
I am one of them
. I am her regret.

At this point I must say that I am indebted to foster parents who took a late teen and loved her to a point of being secure enough to marry and desire to have a family of her own.

In third person,
I see this girl
and have a great compassion
and appreciation
for what a bit of love
can do for a child
who has withered away in abuse.

If you do not have access to your parents, interview the parents of a close friend or relative. Ask them to describe their greatest joys and challenges as a parent. If they had to do it again, what would they do differently? What would they do the same?

I remember many conversations with one of my Aunt's based on the assignments criteria and she stated that she had regrets, or rather she looked back and could see where she could have done things differently. However, she felt that her children were her priority in life that she had done everything to her best ability in those moments.

Her greatest joys were seeing her children raised healthy and happy and that they each have chosen marriage and to begin families of their own. She sees this as truth in her accomplishments being successful. Her greatest sorrow was that as an aunt she knew things were not right for us, her nieces and nephews, and that she had not done enough to help us during our time of need.

Her compassion and ability to move forward proves that while I make many mistakes as a parent that my children and I can overcome with resilience founded in LOVE and that in the end we will all be greater human beings.

What impact did your parents child-rearing attitudes have on you?
Every child deserves a childhood,
as Richard Paul Evans states based on his charity

The Christmas Box International,
a home for abused and neglected children.

I had one, and wished that I hadn't.
...or at least had not had the neglect and abuse in mine...

Now I look back and see that I can grow with hope and faith and grace and that all will be well as I continue to desire to heal.

What I can do with this experience is to be a different parent than my parents were and I try everyday to keep that in mind. Being a parent and healing from a tragic childhood is one of the hardest things that any person could possibly take on.

I am doing my best everyday to keep my childrens childhood in mind and keep their best interest at heart, I have hope my best is good enough and I believe that I am a GOOD parent.



Marsha said...

Hon, considering it's an assignment write what the reader wants to hear. Cover it over and gloss it up. Your personal stuff is noone's business but your own, and you don't have to answer this stuff with your life out there. You can make it up, it can be fiction all the way.

Marsha said...

If it helps you to get it out there, that's fine too. In something like this do what's best for you. Don't feel like you're obligated to straight-out tell anyone anything you don't want to though.


Marsha said...

I guess my point is what happened happened, but YOU are in control now my dear. Don't let the past control you, right? You own it, it doesn't own you. Divulge as you like or don't.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Hooray for you for doing this difficult work!

(BTW: I tried to stop by earlier but that was right when IE decided to crash on me. But, I'm back!)

I think you make an important point that you have to practice self care. You won't have anything to offer your child if the Mom Well is dry, right? I think there is a big difference between being selfish or self-centered and being CENTERED in the self.

This is such an important topic, we could make a whole BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE edition around it. Maybe we should do that sometime. In the mean time, why don't you simply use the submission form link at my blog and submit this great post for Thursday's edition? It would be a great one for World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Thanks, in advance!

Just Be Real said...

Great encouraging post dear one. ((((mile))))

Shadow said...

what you wrote about being a good parent, brought tears to my eye. yes, i too, would want parents just like that! this is some course you're taking, opens the wounds, yes, but very worthwhile for the healing process too. hugs and love.

Marsha said...

How's the paper going?

mile191 said...

Marsha, Thanks for asking...The paper....well, I put a great deal of thought into it and have revised much of it, I put a positive twist on it. A control of sorts that has given me power over it. I am walking away feeling really good about it.

I am glad that it is an online class. I like that I don't have to be face to face with the instructor or students, rather that I can be honest and really dissect my thoughts and feelings; particularly being that I would like to move on to a healthier future with my children, and even my parents. The assignments may be hard for me but I think taking the hard route is the best way to go because it is pushing me to think, feel and HEAL...YeaH!!!

Thanks for caring so much. I love that I have sounding boards here and that you put so much thought into caring about my healing. GRATITUDE for you my friend.

Marj, I submitted it, Thanks for encouraging me to. I am glad that you came back today. Amazing how we can be on the same wavelength sometimes. Hugs.

Shadow, You, my dear, can always see the light in the darkness. I love that you pointed out the positive parenting part. Made me go back and re-read my own thoughts and I too found some good tears. I have such Hope...

I have opened the wound, and hope to HEAL from the inside out!

Just Be Real,....Thank you! ♥

Lisa Marie said...

I completely agree. This is Carnival material! Thank you so much for sharing. This must have been extremely difficult, although very insightful to write. (((hugs)))

who I was, who I am, who I plan to be...

i am trying to heal from severe childhood sexual, emotional,
physical, and mental abuse; and abandonment.

this is my story.

i have good and bad days, and some days the odds seem insurmountable.
i cling to the hope that healing will come to mend the shatter pieces of my heart, mind and body.

mile 191, well, you will understand as you read along.
mile 191, portions of my past have a link on the top right.
mile 191, bottoms up. hears to you and to me.

please, if you know me, just let me know you found me. i need honesty. (and please do not use personal names)
if you want to follow my story, please try to heal with me.
if you want to share with me, please do.
i will post bits of my pain as i can, and leave it here.
i once thought that i would publish...i haven't had the courage.

this is my closet, you are welcome to come in.
just know this is my refuge, healing takes place here,
maybe it will be a refuge to you too.

Quotes from Suvivors United - Standing Strong Together Against Abuse

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.
Eleanor Roosevelt

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
Helen Keller

Success is not to be measured by the position someone has reached in life, but the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.
Booker T. Washington

When I hear somebody sigh, 'Life is hard, ' I am always tempted to ask, 'Compared to what?'
Sydney Harris

Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
Richard L. Evans

Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
Joshua J. Marine

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks CORNUT32! ♥

What a sweet award....and thanks for creating something so wonderful that can be passed along to bloggers who are indeed making a difference by sharing their lives.

I invite all my faithful and dear blogger friends to take this award. You indeed have made a difference in my life.

Thank you so much for being with me on my journey to heal....mile 191