I know it will come as a surprise to most children but parents have real feelings. When you give birth to a child and you are holding it in your arms most parents have hopes, dreams and expectations of what the ‘future’ may hold for their child flooding their heart. When those dreams lead to disappointments most parents are not some cold-hearted disconnected robots that can shrug its shoulders and hope it will all go away.
The disappointment, the fear of what now, the shame and the consequences, the anger, the grief will all be dancing through your mind and emotions. Most children don’t want to tell their parents what they have done because they are afraid of the reactions. So what do you do when your child is in trouble or trying to share something with you that you don’t like?
1. Listen – always listen carefully and intently to what they are saying to you. Don’t finish their sentences and don’t jump to conclusions. Keep focused on what they are telling you.
2. Refrain from blowing up at them and keep your tongue from calling them names. Don’t accuse them with words like ‘you stupid…’ Words can pierce the heart and plague the mind for a lifetime. The truth is what they did might have been thoughtless or stupid but that doesn’t make them stupid.
3. Take some time to process what you have just heard or seen. You need time to think. You may be angry, hurt, disappointed or in shock. You need time.
4. Forgive your child. Speak it out of your mouth because what your child needs is love not condemnation. If these kinds of circumstances and traumas are not forgiven, resentment and bitterness can take hold in a family and that has potential to cause deep pains and division. It is important for you to recognize that you have feelings and that you are hurt. However, you don’t want to wallow in them either. Forgive and keep forgiving.
5. If you have a partner, be sure that they are in agreement with the way forward. Together you will be able to stand. If you are a single parent, you may want to discuss the issues with someone you trust until you reach a conclusion.
6. Don’t discuss anything late at night or when you are all tired. Come together in the morning and keep the communication flowing.
It takes courage to do the right thing at times. The parents that have turned their children in for rioting have taken responsibility for their children. But what they need to remember is to love those kids regardless of how they feel because love keeps no records of wrongs and it never fails.