Tag Archives: Children

Mothers: The New Playground Bullies?

What has this society come to when bullying is considered a serious matter and unjustifiable; unless you’re a child’s mother.

Parents should for the most part, stay uninvolved in petty disputes between their child other children, unless it’s escalating and there’s cause for concern. Even at this point, there’s a right and a wrong way to approach the situation. Approaching a child all with your emotions exploding, irate, screaming and threatening them is never an ideal method of confrontation. If you’re truly concerned about an issue between children, the first thing to keep in mind is that you’re an example of proper etiquette, whether you realize it or not. What separates you from the child’s behavior is that you’re an adult who should have accumulated and sharpened some communication and conflict resolution skills over your years.

Remember that perspective is everything, what your child has relayed to you about a specific incident, is coming from a child’s perspective, one that can be biased based on children’s natural tendency to see the world with themselves in the center. Children aren’t experienced enough to necessarily distinguish between what they’re understanding from a situation and what someone else may understand, heck, most adults can barely make the distinction.

Reality is subjective, yet, during conflict resolution you must aim to be objective and keep any emotions wanting to flare up.. at bay. Otherwise, are you not acting as the child in whose character you’ve just found fault in?

Tearing a strip off a child and/or that child’s parent is not an example anybody should set. Approach your battles with dignity, class and respect. Before that, choose wisely as to whether this particular battle is worthy of being fought.

Name calling, swearing and threatening a child and/or their parents is also and obviously not an example to set. This is not how anybody should conduct themselves for any reason, especially when you’re reason for being upset is because of your own belief that they were mistreating your child.

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Image © 2015 Niazmina

CASE IN POINT

I’ve had obnoxious and highly volatile womEn (yes, more than one at a time) confront my child at a water park recently over a water fight.

Apparently one child was being tagged by water guns from various boys, and didn’t appreciate it. One of the boys was my son with his two friends. My son and two other boys told me they had “got in trouble” for spraying some kid who was playing in the water..(this itself is amusing..) I then got up from my nearby blanket on the grass to overlook the situation. No sooner had I approached the water section, some hijab donning woman honed in on my son, walked up angrily to him standing with his two buddies, and proceeded to tear a strip off of him. I immediately made my presence known and firmly asked what the problem was. The woman was stunned and took a few steps back in silence as I approached her position. As she, in a more calmly manner, explained that the boys had been squirting another child and been involved in some water tagging, I also calmly addressed the boys and advised them to plan their attacks on willing participants only. This is when it was taken to another level as another woman came from the depths of the water park abyss, like a whale out of hell, and screamed at the boys “Stay away from my kids!”  Blah blah blah …at which point my son pointed me out and said, “My mom is right there”. By this time I was already tired of the situation being blown out of proportion, and I walked up to her as she aggressively ranted about the boys supposed wrongdoing, I explained to her that I understood what the complaint was and again mentioned to the boys that they were not to squirt other children who don’t wish to participate in a water fight. Just then, another (ahhh…woman?) bikini clad, over-weight, tatted, breast and nipple exhibitionist showed up, like a troll from under a bridge.  This (woman?) was, as it turns out, the mother of some children which had been sprayed and was livid (obnoxious, ratchet, immature…etc.) and laid into the boys regardless of her friend telling her that I was one of the boy’s mother and after I had told her that I had dealt with it. She screamed at them and threatened them that she would call the police if they squirted her child again. Just unnecessary, ratchet behavior and obscenities coming from a woman who was lambasting young boys for spraying water at a water park! The boys and I were in complete shock by this gong show, and after failed attempts to calm their spewing mouths, we turned to walk away. They’d be damned if that were going to happen though! These women were in for the kill as they followed me continuing their bullying attack. I said, “You are taking this too far. They were shooting water, not bullets, just leave it, it’s been dealt with. It’s over, finished.” The anger emanating from these two was astonishing. They were quite literally in my face screaming with rage, at which point one of the woman quite proudly let it be known that ” I’m a Social Worker, and we take kids away from people like you! Where were you this whole time!? You weren’t anywhere near!” I stood there in amazement at her statement and confirmed with her in disbelief, ” You’re a Social Worker!?..now that’s scary!” ” Yes, I am.. and your statement about them not shooting bullets but water, I’m sorry but that sort of behavior leads to bullets, and bullets lead to death.”

What fantastical nonsense!!

Parents, if you’re going to get involved in your children’s lives to the point where you’re fighting or creating battles for them, disputes, drama and chaos, perhaps it’s an appropriate call for you to have a ‘time out’. A little class, as in gracefulness, goes a long way, and effective communication is key, especially in times of conflict. Many times I have done and said nothing in a dispute involving my children, so as not to stunt my child’s development and personal growth. Unfortunately, children need to face, at times, unpleasant situations with their peers, as a part of their transition into adolescence and eventually, adulthood. These experiences help to mold them and teach them; along with our guidance as parents on appropriate methods of anger management, conflict resolution, ethical conduct and respectful and non intimidating and non threatening communication. We as parents don’t need to pounce upon every issue that arises, rather we should watch and instruct when necessary in order to build them as individuals, not tear them down (including other people’s children) because of their lack of life experience and  wisdom.

“There’s no way to approach anything in an objective way. We’re completely subjective; our view of the world is completely controlled by who we are as human beings, as men or women, by our age, our history, our profession, by the state of the world.” ~Charlie Kaufman

“The faculty to think objectively is reason; the emotional attitude behind reason is that of humility. To be objective, to use one’s reason, is possible only if one has achieved an attitude of humility, if one has emerged from the dreams of omniscience and omnipotence which one has as a child. Love, being dependent on the relative absence of narcissism, requires the development of humility, objectivity and reason.

I must try to see the difference between my picture of a person and his behavior, as it is narcissistically distorted, and the person’s reality as it exists regardless of my interests, needs and fears.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

“Imagine a wall that’s green on one side and red on the other. You stand on one side and only see green. I stand on the other side and only see red. We’ll both be right about the color we see, even though we disagree on what color the wall is. Being able to realize that the other person has a valid point, even if you disagree with it, that’s maturity.”
Oliver Gaspirtz

Copyright © 2015 Niazmina

The Do’s And Dont’s: Preparation In The Face of Separation and Divorce

The subject of divorce is a contentious one, and there are no real instruction manuals or classes to prepare us for the seemingly downward spiral of our lives, and emotions. Granted, none of us (well, there may be some..) walk down the aisle, say ‘I do’, sign the papers all in anticipation of a subsequent divorce. Yet, statistics show that nearly 1 in 2 first time marriages end in divorce before reaching their 10th year, also known as the ‘seven year itch’. Although there has been found to be a divorce decline, it has much to do with the fact that many couples are opting not to marry at all. People change, their needs, wants and desires change. People grow apart. People fall out of love and become unhappy. This is life, it happens. Not all the time, but it happens. With these findings, shouldn’t we at least discuss ways to make the possible transition between happily married to happily divorced, as pleasant and as smooth as possible?

Have a prenuptial agreement or strive for a separation agreement after the fact.

When I was younger I was of another opinion than I am now regarding prenuptials. If any of you are like I was, you might be thinking, how callous. Why on earth would a couple anticipating a lifetime together, forge such an agreement, isn’t that a bad omen or curse upon a marriage? The answer is simple. No. Isn’t it for the rich or greedy? Once again, the answer is no. The very fact that I am writing this and you’re reading is because separation and divorce are a fact of life. Why not be prepared when everyone’s on their best behavior for the chance they may sink into their worst behavior? In other cultures a female is given a dowry for such an occasion. Once divorce is on the horizon, it may be less than easy to garner any sort of agreement from your soon to be ex. Better to be safe than sorry, I say.  Being proactive never hurts while the opposite can. If you have an amicable separation or divorce and your partner and you are able to have a sit down whilst writing up an agreement, the more power to you each, literally. You are already a step ahead of the notoriously ugly game.

When on the receiving end, respect the other’s resolve. 

Now, we’ve all heard the saying ‘ When a woman’s fed up, there ain’t nothing you can do about it’ or another famous quote ‘ Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’.  This is not to say that woman are the only ones embracing divorce, au contraire mon frere. Regardless of who’s come to the decision ( perhaps it’s a mutual decision), the same adage applies. This may be a huge and hard pill to swallow, but it’s an important one for the general atmosphere and health of all involved, especially if that includes children. The decision to end a marriage is a hard one to make and there are many factors involved. Try to put aside your emotions enough so things can be discussed and plans set in motion, including a separation agreement, especially vital when children are involved, as their best interests will become the focus of divorce proceedings, rather than you and your spouse. Sometimes separation is just what a couple needs. A sort of ‘time out’ where individuals can take a breather, examine themselves, their lives and their direction. Decide if things are worth fighting for ( maybe the battle has already been fought and lost) or if things are too far gone to ever be in a healthy flourishing state.

Refrain from blame, anger and spite. Do not let detrimental emotions take the reigns.

Serving divorce papers and requesting cooperation with a separation agreement can be daunting for one as being served the divorce papers is for the other spouse. It’s of utmost importance that detrimental emotions are held at bay during these times. To become irate, abusive, accusative, and uncooperative, is to be your own enemy in such a case. It doesn’t help you one iota, and leaves all even further emotionally, mentally and eventually physically depleted. Remember, you once loved the person you’re now at odds with. You once shared a common ground. Try to establish mutual acceptance in order to keep proceedings from becoming antagonistic as possible, and as long as there are lawyers, children and money involved, it is almost certain to become somewhat he said she said in nature. Mutual acceptance and respect is a must in these situations. There are far too many cases of spouses being arrested on various charges, whether on false pretenses or not, all could be avoided had one or the other refrained from acting or speaking while in a negative state of mind. Unrestrained detrimental emotions, subsequently lead to adverse actions and reactions. Cause and effect. Keep level headed.

When children are involved, be physically and emotionally present as much as possible, even when your mind seems absent.

Unless there’s a restraining order keeping you from your children, it’s important to continue to be physically present in their lives, even though your mind and emotions may likely feel absent or numb. Most people are aware that children are like sponges, soaking up the good and bad alike. They feel deeply, see and understand far more than we may like to acknowledge, and their spirits can be crushed very easily. Separation and divorce, at times, seems to leave adults feeling as though they are the only ones involved and therefore the only ones affected, the only victims. On the contrary, children and other family members are left taking blows along with their loved ones. It’s traumatic for everyone as we are all connected, and children are more directly affected, being in the same household typically of one or both parents. Be reassuring towards your children in words AND actions. Continue with usual routines, outings, movie nights, game nights etc. Now isn’t the time to forsake activities that will draw your family unit together, especially when it may seem so many forces are now at play dividing it. If you have restricted access with your children, do whatever is in your power legally, to be a positive influence in their life, regardless of the barriers. Always keep in mind, when war is being waged, it brings about many casualties. Collateral Damage can be lessened, if not avoided completely depending upon your actions.

Do not speak ill of the other spouse in the presence of your children.

Be mature and rational. Try not to allow your vision as a human being and parent become blurred into an angry abyss. You still have responsibilities, considerations and a reputation to maintain (if it’s not already too tarnished at this point). Slander and defamation of character should never be on your ‘ To Do’ list. This seems like a given to most of us, but during times of emotional duress, many are surprised at what they are capable of. Keep your wits about you. Remember, when speaking ill or behaving in an ill manner towards the other spouse, your children will suffer while seeing their parents suffer. Children represent 50% of each parents chromosomes. They feel the blows, deeply and personally. Don’t be foolish. Don’t make them suffer more by using them as tools against the other spouse.

Do not stalk, harass, or threaten your spouse (ex partner).

I hear the loud ‘duhs’ in the back of your heads and I understand, BUT, if these behaviors weren’t so prevalent I wouldn’t need to mention them. However, given the fact that many soon to be divorcees end up in the sitting cell at some point, I shall continue with my advice. It may seem tempting to check up on your ex partner to resolve any lingering suspicions that may be overruling your mind, but this could prove to be a mistake if that partner happens to press charges or your seemingly innocent spying gets out of hand and turns into something malicious. Let bygones be bygones or leave it to the professional private ‘eyes’ investigators if you have real concerns for yourself or your children, or feel there’s information to be extracted that would be beneficial in your court proceedings.

Set aside time for yourself.

You are very likely feeling as if on an emotional rollercoaster, and for some it has been a never ending ride for some time now. Setting aside time for yourself to unwind, focus, meditate, relax, renew your energy is of vital importance. Prolonged stress can adversely affect the body, stressing and wearing out the adrenal glands causing what’s known as Adrenal Fatigue. This, among a myriad other health issues directly related to stress and trauma, are reasons to release negative emotions in a positive and constructive manner. Meditation, prayer, yoga,  and exercise in general are great methods of refocusing your body’s energies into positive alignment, amidst the chaos and disorder separation and divorce can threaten to overtake you with.

Socialize. Become a butterfly.

For some people, getting out for whatever reason during any sort of break up, is the last thing on their mind. While for others, there’s no stopping them, they crave the excitement, the high, the new found freedom and adventure. Whatever the case may be, for many of us, getting out and socializing is not only healthy, it’s sine qua non for our overall well being. We as humans need social interactions to some degree, or we become somewhat hermitic in nature. Get out of the house, have guests over, host a party, attend another’s party, get a babysitter if required, call a family member to take care of the children, go on a short excursion, let your hair down, feel alive and breathe…you will be OK and you’re not alone in your experience.

Keep a journal. Document the negative and the positive aspects of your experience.

This can prove to be an asset if your separation and divorce lead to sticky court proceedings that may or may not involve custody issues. Keeping a journal for any reason is a fantastic method of release, and an easy way to gather your thoughts in a mentally and emotionally tumultuous time. Keep track of everything. Meetings with your spouse, meetings with your children, conversations, issues, concerns, breakthroughs, set backs, highs, lows. Writing can be therapeutic and when all is said and done it will be a testimony of your strength and endurance, because you will endure. You will be OK. Life goes on. There is life after love.

School Food Patrol: Are you kidding me?

My daughter pipes up one evening, ” Mama, you need to start sending me to school with healthy snacks. My teacher said that my snack wasn’t healthy, and also the kid who sits next to me was telling me that my snack wasn’t healthy.” 

What do you mean it wasn’t healthy? Simply because it wasn’t a fruit or vegetable?  

“I told the kid that it was healthy and that it had cheese in it. She just said again that it wasn’t healthy, then my teacher also said it wasn’t healthy.” 

“Every day at snack time the teacher says ” OK class,  let’s see who has a healthy snack! Then whoever has a vegetable, the teachers says their name out happily that they had the healthy snack of the day.” 

Everything I give you is healthy. Nothing I give you is unhealthy. This whole food inspection/food patrol isn’t your teachers role.  

I then proceeded, in my infuriation, to fashion a note to the said teacher.

This Food Patrol is absurd!! I am disgusted, and must say, it’s gone on long enough.

From my first grade circle time, where teachers took it upon themselves to question each student as to what they had eaten the night before for dinner, to the year 2014 where snacks are being inspected and rated as either “healthy” or ” not healthy”, is shocking. It’s clearly not done out of concern, as I have yet to hear about bins of “healthy” snacks on hand for free doling whenever a child’s snack is deemed ” not healthy”.

So what is the purpose behind this ludicrous practice?

Here’s my concern with this food inspection/food patrol practice,

  1. You are shaming the child by telling them that what they have put forth for ‘inspection’ isn’t good enough, and is actually “not healthy”. They have failed, in their minds.
  2.  The inspections are being done openly in front of other classmates, further adding to the embarrassment of the child.
  3. The inspections in themselves aren’t “healthy”. They create an SS-Gestapo environment which isn’t conducive to a learning environment. Children are getting involved in the inspections and informing on their classmates. This is pruning children to become future corporate minions, looking for reward, praise and power.
  4.  Children are, in essence, being brainwashed into believing that their parents don’t know what’s best for them, the school institution/system on the other hand, does. This sets our children up for lifetime of servitude to the ‘system’ without question, because the system has their best interests as first priority.

Teachers need to stick to their roles as educators not government indoctrinating patrol officers.

There’s a fine line between teaching healthy eating habits, and en mass brainwashing and enforcement of something that is the sole responsibility of the parents. What comes next, force feeding?

Granted, there are instances where children aren’t eating healthily, so why not dole out some healthy goodies if you see the need, rather than shame the child? Why confuse children as to what’s considered healthy and not healthy, simply because what they brought for a snack wasn’t a fruit or vegetable?

I am one hundred percent against this food inspection/food patrol, needless to say, and that concludes my rant for the day.

Peace and love