The Ups, Downs and In-betweens of ……..
This is a blog written by a variety of people living and parenting in Gloucestershire today and sharing the ups downs and in-betweens of real family life.
……. a mum fuelled mainly by tea and Dairy Milk
So what do you do when someone hurts your child – not just a mild affront to their feelings or an unpleasant comment, but when someone wounds your child deeply? You know, the sort of damage that’s not just going to take a bit of time to heal, but potentially has long term implications.
As an adult it is hard enough to move past those times – the ones that leave you reeling or grieving for something precious that has been lost. However, moving past pain caused to you is so much easier than when someone hurts your child.
People then tell you that children are surprisingly resilient, that they quickly forget or that they bounce back easily, but as a wise friend once said to me “Yes, but they bounce back in a different shape.” If children are so resilient why do we require so much pastoral care in schools and why are so many adults seeking therapy to address experiences from their youth? Children undoubtedly live in the moment, but does that lessen the impact of those events?
So, how do you truly forgive that person you allowed into your life, to establish a relationship with your child, who walks out the door at a moment’s notice and seemingly without a backward glance? How do you hold it together when your world crashes down around you, but your child needs you to be strong? How do you move past the sadness and anger you feel after months of hearing your child crying “I miss xxx.” with no explanation as to why this person has gone?
We all know that bitterness isn’t cool, guilt is wasted energy and long term unresolved anger is destructive, but even with a personal faith, the best will in the world and all the attempts to let go it’s a tough one. I’m working on it, but progress isn’t as quick as I would like. I want my children to grow up unencumbered by anger and to know how to move past hurt. I also know that means me modelling forgiveness and grace – genuinely, not just in my words. Compared to being a good role model I’m starting to think childbirth was pretty easy!
As a parent I instinctively want to protect my children. I know that wrapping them up in cotton wool is not helpful and I also know that children who have no experience of adversity are more likely to end up with problems later on. However, I am keenly aware that whilst I might say these things and put on my game face to the world the depth of my feeling and the impact on my actions when one of my children is hurting is huge.
I want my children to be tough, gracious and to experience life to the full. This means risk not just to them, but to me too. Having seen the dark side of this I question where the right balance is. Certainly I’ve not encountered a chapter on this topic in the baby/parenting books. It’s one to ponder over some tea and Dairy Milk….