*I wrote this a few years ago, and felt it was still relevant. It is edited to make up for the fact that I now have two daughters.
Child abuse has many forms and faces. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do. What you look like or how your friends see you. The forms of abuse can range from physical to emotional; from verbal to sexual. You may be the victim, or the abuser, perhaps even both. Truth be told, you may not even realize you are abusing the ones you love.
I myself have caught myself angrily raising my voice to my daughters on occasion. I hate myself for it, but I have only a small amount of patience, and it wears thin easily. Does the fact that I get angry with my girls make me a bad mother? No, every parent gets angry with their child. That being said, the fact that I raise my voice to them, and run out of patience quickly, does imply that I need to work on my parenting skills.
As I wrote this, in fact, my oldest kept coming to me asking me to do math problems she came up with. As I was in the midst of writing, this became quickly frustrating. I asked her several times to wait until I was done, however, she continued to come out and have me do these problems for her. Honestly, I am not sure how to get her to do as I ask without raising my voice. I know that is not the right way to go about it, but, I’m not hitting her, so it’s not abuse, right? Wrong.
There has to be a better way to get them to listen than to yell. I don’t really “yell” anyways, but my voice gets louder, and shorter. My words become snappier. She probably thought I was with her. I wasn’t angry with her, per-se, I was frustrated with her inability to listen, but how do I differentiate that to an eight year old?
If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you that I am a nice person. To a fault even. I have often been admonished for being too nice; for finding good in everyone. These qualities however do not make me immune to hurting my children. No, I would never physically hurt them, just as I’d never insult them. However, my lack of patience almost surely hurts them just the same. This is something that I need to work on continually in order to improve my mothering capabilities.
Though I have admitted to not being the most patient of mothers, there are other parents who do things that are more of a cause for alarm. I have friends, for example, who have had their children taken from them because they can’t even care for themselves, let alone a baby, and I have other friends who prefer to leave their child(ren) home with others, on a regular while they go and do what they will elsewhere. Allow me to clarify that I am not admonishing parents who like to go out and have their own time,, but those who spend more time with friends at the bar than they do with their kids on a weekly basis. While these people have the best of intentions, and are wonderful people and good friends, they probably should not have become parents; at least not at this time.
I have, for some time now, been wondering how God decides who is and is not capable of bearing children. I know people who would be wonderful, attentive, loving parents who just cannot physically have children of their own, and on the other side of the coin, there are people who will get pregnant and continue on with their drugs and alcohol as if nothing had changed. I even knew a girl once who was drinking and doing drugs more since becoming pregnant as her own form of abortion. This, to me, is just evil. How anyone could not love their child is beyond me, but it happens.
I love my daughters more than my own life. I’d never let anything happen to them if it was in my power to stop it. Then there are people who are very open about hating children. I hear this, and am bewildered. I’m willing to bet, however, that, given the proper circumstances, they’d have no trouble conceiving. It is these people, whether they have their baby taken from them, or they willingly give them up, that drive up the adoption rate. I won’t even go into, in this writing, how awful it is that the LGBT community is having to fight for their right to adopt, with all these kids who need loving homes.
Yesterday was Mother’s day. Father’s Day is next month, and every year, I can’t help thinking about the kids who have parents that do not exemplify the meaning of the word “parent”. People who hurt their children, and then expect to be glorified because it is “that day”. Nobody is ever going to be the perfect parent, but it is horrifying to me that so many don’t even bother to try.