Tuesday, March 13, 2012

MAMA BEAR

Before we had kids....back when I didn't think I ever wanted kids.....I thought I knew what would be the hard things about being a parent. Actually, I was pretty accurate in my worries. The things I knew would bother me definitely do. Although some would disagree, I think I have learned to deal with these things pretty well.

The one thing I was not expecting was the mama bear persona that overtakes me when my kids are threatened by something (or I perceive they are threatened). Now I'm not some softy parent. I'm actually quite tough on these kids. High expectations are placed on them. They know they are loved regardless of the outcome, but we do expect a lot from them in their behavior, grades and in their other pursuits. In fact one time I acknowledged to CM that I had been a little harsh on her when she had brought home a great grade but one I knew she could have done better on. I told her I would try not to be so tough on her and she said, "Don't quit being tough on me mom. I need that." (It was one of those days when I felt my parenting methods were quite validated)!

So from the previous paragraph it may seem like I would be one who would make my kids handle everything on their own (i.e. bullies, issues with friends or at school). That is so not me (some of the time). I believe in helping them if they are struggling with something, not all the time but when something is over their head or is really upsetting them.   Isn't that my job while they are living under my roof?

My friend Melanie told me a story of how when she was growing up a boy was picking on her at school.  She told her mom and one day after school her mom confronted the kid and told him to knock it off.  She never had a problem again.  Now I can feel some of you readers (are there any of you left?) cringing, thinking, "She should have made Melanie handle that on her own."  Why?  Melanie was a child....a child who needed help.  Melanie has had plenty of opportunities to stand up for herself since then and her mom handling it for her when she was a child did not hinder her development in that area one bit!!  She is a capable person who is raising four sweet kids of her own. 

CM was having some terrible problems last year with a "friend" bullying her.  One day I pulled the child aside and said, "CM has been a good friend to you and the things you have done to her have hurt her."  I went on to say, "I haven't called your mom or the principal yet but if there is ever another instance of this happening, I won't hesitate to call both."  Did the child continue this behavior?  Did she make things worse for CM?  No....she gave me a hug and apologized and we have not had a problem since then.  Later when I told CM, she ran to me and hugged me (the tightest squeeze I've ever felt) with great relief and said, "Thank you mommy."  She acted as though the weight of the world had been lifted off of her shoulders.  Oh no.....you are cringing again aren't you?  For the record, there have been quite a few times when we have made her do her own confronting but in this case it seemed parental intervention was best.  Sam was not sold on me saying anything to the child either but after he saw CM's reaction he realized how much it had been bothering her.

Or take today for instance.  Cam's teacher pulled me aside and said that all the boys were going to have to go to the principal's office because some of them had been misbehaving.  She said, "Camden isn't one of them but I'm just going to go ahead and send them all."  At first I didn't think anything of it but as we were walking to the car, I start to feel him put his head up against me and he just started sobbing.  He was so upset that the principal might think he had been one of the boys who was misbehaving.  He said, "You are supposed to get a consequence when you are being bad.  I'm getting one for doing nothing.  Why do I have to go to the principal's office?"  He had a point I thought (plus seeing his crushed spirit was KILLING me and was awakening the mama bear).  Cringe alert....So I told him I was going to go back and talk to the teacher about it.  He was OK with that.  I didn't yell or scream or anything but calmly told her how upset he was and his reasoning and logic.  She said she'd think about doing it differently.  That's all I could really ask.  We have processed it here tonight and Cam knows he may still have to go down.  He's made his peace with it especially since he knows that his teacher knows how he feels. 

If I were a great writer, there would be some moral at the end of this long tale.  There's only this.  It's OK to help the kiddos out once in awhile.  It doesn't mean that they are going to grow up to be weak or unable to handle their problems.  Actually I think it shows them something greater.  It shows them that you are on their side, that you will be there for them, and that they can count on you!  In this world of insanity, our kids need to know that. 

3 comments:

S Dub said...

You are a great writer, and a great parent! You held me captive all the way to the end. Amen for sticking up for your kids! (btw, I don't think Camden should go to the principals office. If you didn't do the crime.....). I was going to say "You go girl" but more appropriate would be "You go Mamma Bear". Please blog a follow up story. Susie

melanie said...

this made me feel like crying! i think there are so many times that we question ourselves as parents and so many issues where people take strong positions on either side. most times parenting is just going with your gut and trusting God for the consequences. i love hearing that you have impacted your kids so positively by showing them that you will stick up for them...

Debbie said...

Great post! You have to do what you know is best for your kids! CM and Camden are very lucky kids to have you for their mom!