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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

a heartache and questioning...

I've been gone for a little longer than usual...

Something has happened that has given me a huge jolt. It's made me question my ideas about bringing up my children and made me look all the decisions I have made over the last few weeks and months and years as a parent.

I'll be brief about the issue, but basically one of my children has felt pressured by another child and made some silly decisions that could have badly affected her.

I now ask myself, why did I let her have a friendship with this other child - her parents seemed to responsible and think the same way I do. (Perhaps part of the answer is that the child already has some deep problems that I didn't know about). My child didn't want to be the last one to abandon the other girl as all her friendships seemed to be falling away because of the kinds of erratic behaviour she was displaying. She felt a loyalty to her that I actually don't ever want her to feel again.

A saving grace is that in the face of certain bullying my daughter came clean. She recognised the risk taking behaviour and faced up to the consequences. She knows that others who have been affected by this child (and maybe were a bit excited by it all) will be upset that someone has "dobbed" and she will have to stand up to them as well. She's felt the release of a burden that she was carrying for a few days and that has more than made her feel glad she has owned up. She's thanked us for loving her...one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard my child say to me.

I am so shocked by this. I have spoken with all my kids about the kinds of dangers they may face, about alcohol and drugs - I've done all the things I have been advised by books, media, schools, parent groups, police, politicians.  The only access to the internet is in the family room. I have facebook passwords and I have to be their "friend" or they cannot have fb ("if you don't want me to see what you are writing then maybe you shouldn't be writing it!"). I follow through on consequences for every issue that we have ever had. I think I'm fair with them. I do say no and mean it. They don't get everything they ask for - birthdays and Christmas are for getting special presents. I give them pocket money, but there is always a reasonable discussion about what will be purchased with savings. They have time limits for going out, pickup times from birthday parties...I absolutely love every single one of them to bits and tell them often. It's not just about "imparting information". I live how I want them to know is the right, kind, fair, just and loving way to live as an individual and in a society and community. There is a lot of love and laughter and friends in this house and home.

I thought I was doing everything "right" - that magic way we think as parents that means we are setting the kids on the right path. 


I'm so sad and relieved at the same time. I'm scared and full of doubt. I'm disappointed and angry. It seems that other children...and maybe even their parents...may have been aware of what this child may have been up to...I am angry that no one thought to say that maybe she wasn't the right person to 'hang around'...I feel compelled to say something to the parents of girls who are still "friends" with her...and scared that they may treat me as the problem...the angry part of me wants to quash and belittle the family, the sane and rational part of me knows that's not the way to do it...


How do we really protect and guide our kids? How do we really combat "peer pressure"? How do we teach them to turn away? All these questions and I am still no nearer to finding the answers...

thanks for taking a peek over the fence...

11 comments:

  1. You can only do what you think is best and hope that your kids will go through life unscathed. Sometimes they make mistakes no matter how well we raise them. Maybe you should let the other parents know what's happening just as you wished someone had told you. By fessing up to you it is obvious her upbringing did win through in the end.

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  2. I think you are saying what so many of us have experienced in one way or another... mine have left home now and of course I didn't do everything right.. but it sounds like you are doing great... in my experience the most important was keeping the communication going and showing your love....
    Hugz

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  3. Hiya, It sounds to me like you have done everything you can to protect your children and to bring them up right. It looks like you have she has owned up and that is a big thing for her to do. I think you should be proud of her and proud of yourself. Linda x

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  4. I just read this, and remembered how it was for me at about that same age with both of my girls...and feel for you my dear. Recently at a lovely pot luck dinner, I witnessed a rebelious young girl asked by her dad to give mum a goodnight kiss; she dragged her feet and tried to do this reluctantly; but for the briefest second as her gorgeous mum kissed her - I saw the softening. I knew then as I always have known that this stage will pass.

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  5. I can only echo what others have said already and keep you and the family in my prayers and thoughts. I hope that the issue will be resolved soon and that your darling daughter keeps her resiliance and strength. Take care.

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  6. You are doing your best. You are working hard to be the best mom for your kids. Don't let this one incident shake your faith in yourself and in the good work you are doing in raising your girl. That she felt the burden of her wrong choice, and that she was heartfelt in her sorry shows you that you have built good character in a caring child. She cared enough for a friend to sacrifice her own ideals and, while that is misguided and you have now explained it to her, her caring heart is also a beautiful thing that you have cultivated. Hugs and blessings for courage and peace to you and your family.

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  7. You ARE doing all the right things...and yet, it's a tightrope you're walking. Just remember, if they "hate" you now, it's only because you love them so much, and they'll realize (and thank you for it) one day. Best wishes & hugs to you all. And, YES, didn't you wish one of the others had 'fessed up to YOU? By all means, preface your conversations with, "This concerned me, and I thought you might want to know..." Good luck!

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  8. You sound like you have done everything right. I will admit- one of my biggest fears in life is the chance that my kids can end up heading off in the direction no matter how much steering we do for them now.

    Take faith in the fact that she owned up. And now continue to be the great parent that you are to help her through this.

    x

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  9. It's hard for kids and they don't always have the best judgement. My son snuck out with a friend to keep his friend from doing something stupid. His friend is a good kid but has some bad judgement. He did do something stupid that luckily didn't get them into trouble.

    When I found out, I had a talk with my son about what would have been a better solution. It's admirable to want to keep your friend out of trouble but it put you in danger as well. It also makes you guilty by association. Once he realized there was a better solution that would have kept both of them safe, he felt a sense of relief and I knew a huge burden was taken off his shoulders.

    The best thing is to hold them responsible for their actions and not bail them out. Then give them the support they need to go through with it.

    You are doing great. ((HUGS))

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  10. You seem to be doing everything that you can. Now you have to hope for the best. Having open communications is the best thing and you seem to have that with your children. When we were children, everyone's parents could discipline us. And we were always respectful. Nowadays, everyone fears overstepping our boundaries. No one can tell you what to do, only you know what is best. But I would take a deep breath and relax. You are doing great!

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Nice of you to take a peek over the fence. It's lovely to meet you. Do come in, have a cuppa and a chat. I will talk back...

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