“Please” Is NOT The “Magic” Word

How many of us have heard our parents say, “What’s the magic word?” when we wanted something?  I know I did many times. The “magic” word, of course, is “please.”

Only it isn’t all that magical, is it?  It’s only “magical” when the person (or God, for that matter) definitely wants to give us something we’re asking for.  Otherwise, we can say “please” all we want but it won’t do any good.

It seems like a simple, harmless way to get children to say “please.”  Yet, as I just mentioned, we can say the “magic” word all we want and the answer will still be “no.”  Do we really want children growing up believing that by saying “please,” they’ll always get what they want?

I don’t think that is quite fair to children. Magic, in and of itself, isn’t always real and certainly doesn’t always work. “But I said ‘please.'”  Yes, but the answer is still “no.”

The child probably thinks: So what happened to the “magic word?”  It only works sometimes.

Even as an adult, there are many times when I wish “please” was a “magic” word. My husband and I have been going through some really tough times.  I have spent days and nights pleading with God for life and yet life has been taken away from my loved ones who are now in Heaven.

I have pleaded for things to get better and for us to get out of the dark valley we’re in. I have pleaded for the suffering around the world to stop.  And yet, nothing is happening.  God hears our every cry and comforts us, if we let Him, but saying “please” doesn’t necessarily get our prayers answered.

Then there are the mean, selfish people who will never care if we say “please.”  They’re going to do as they please despite its detrimental effects on other people’s lives.

Yes, children should be taught manners.  Children learn manners best through us modeling them and through play as I don’t believe in forcing children to say, “please,” “thank you,” or “I’m sorry.” We need to model that to children and allow them to practice in a fun, no pressure manner how to be polite.

Some of the politest children I know were never forced to be polite but politeness was consistently modeled to them and they practiced it through playing.

They also need to learn that it’s okay for them to say “no” to something they don’t want to do even when the other person says “please.”

However, they also must learn that just because we say “Please,” doesn’t mean it will always work. As I’m learning, sadly, more often than not, it does not work!  Please is NOT a “magic” word!

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Meekness Matters!

Here are some quotes that have been going through my head lately.

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright, al…
You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You’d better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright” ~Revolution by The Beatles.

Also:

Romans 15:1-7:
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

And:

Proverbs 26:20-27:
“Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
for seven abominations fill their hearts.
Their malice may be concealed by deception,
but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.”

There’s a lot going on in the world today and I’m finding that people are drawn to arguments, hate, aggression, and even violence.  Nobody truly wants to hear each other.  We take our sides and to heck with anyone who dares to disagree.

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I must admit that I am not innocent in this.  I used to regularly go on the attack (without meaning to) with pro-spankers as well as other political topics that people disagree about with me.  Yet, I always tried to draw the line with personal attacks because as a Christ-follower, I am called to love.  I have had to do a lot of apologizing though.  I am far from perfect.  I mess up constantly.

But I do try to be respectful to everyone.

I have learned over the years that trying to force change doesn’t work!  It only makes the other side tune us out and dig their heels in even more.  It certainly does with me.

The Bible talks about this a great deal.  Here are a few more verses:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, ESV).

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29, ESV).

“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. …” (James 3:5-12, ESV).

And Jesus said,

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).

Clearly, God does not want us to force things with anyone. It’s perfectly okay to be passionate about topics.  Anyone who has been following me for a while and has read my book knows that I am extremely passionate about treating children from conception to adulthood with respect and gentleness!

So when an issue arose on my Facebook page where I was trying to be respectful and still stand by my belief that all circumcision is hurtful to baby boys, and yet still respect the Jewish religion, I was taken aback by the amount of hate and force in the comments.  All of the hateful comments were deleted.

During the writing of this post, I discovered that the original post shared by one of my admins on my professional Facebook page that upset a Jewish person was in no way inflammatory.  Sometimes we can’t win either way, but read on to understand how to reach more people.

You know, human beings are reading your comments and have feelings too.  I believe the majority of anti-circumcision comments were from gentle parents as we don’t like anything that is harmful to children.  Yet, a Jewish friend of mine had reassured me that the way they do it minimizes the pain and trauma of the baby boy. Most of the anti-circumcision comments claimed that this was totally untrue.

However, I’m well aware that every Jewish ceremony is different.  I was not condoning circumcision, I was simply trying to show respect for the Jewish religion. I may have even been given misinformation after reading some of the respectful information that was placed on the thread. 

I have since learned that some mohels do use topical anesthesia to help with pain relief during the circumcision while others do not.  They do not remove as much skin as the medical community does nor do they use the same equipment as the medical community which is supposed to make the procedure less painful than the hospital circumcisions.

This being said, from what I understand, every mohel removes a different amount of skin from the newborn’s penis.

Being a tattoo person now, I’ve discovered that different areas hurt more than others. But being poked with needles, even though they don’t go deep, hurts everywhere on the body. So I just don’t understand how anyone can say that cutting the baby’s penis doesn’t hurt much. Plus, unlike adults, infants cannot prepare for the pain!  We can take deep breaths to deal with something painful.  But out of nowhere the boy’s penis is cut.  He has no way of preparing for the pain.  And after anesthesia wears off, he will have soreness.

I do understand that circumcision is a commandment; if one still lives by the Law, he/she must obey the commandment.  I encourage all Jews to come to know Yashua HaMeshia.

Click here for why circumcision really isn’t necessary.  And click here for resources for Jews as some are choosing another ceremony that does not involve circumcision.  And for Christians, click here and here to see that we live by grace and absolutely do not need to circumcise our sons.

“For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19, ESV).

Galatians 5:2-11, ESV:

“Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.  For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.”

I also know many people who regret circumcising their sons. Like with spanking or cry-it-out, some just don’t know any better. Know better, do better.  I also believe that stuff that permanently change children’s bodies should wait until they can give consent.

I don’t think parents who have had their sons circumcised are bad or abusive.

There’s a meme going around that says, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” by Desmond Tutu.  While I agree with this in many, many situations, I actually believe that sometimes we need to be a bit more neutral in order for people to truly hear us.

For example, anyone who is familiar with me knows that I am hard core against spanking/hitting children!  I believe that it is abuse!  That said, sometimes I share less aggressive posts about spanking in case a pro-spanker is on the fence and a less aggressive stance on spanking may change his/her mind and lead him/her to gentle parenting.

Do I agree with these posts?  No.

Do I wish that they were stronger in their stance against corporal punishment?  Yes!

But the fact remains that people are more likely to actually listen to us when we present information in a non-inflammatory manner.

Also, as gentle parents, we know, or should know, that when children are upset, stressed out, having a meltdown, or needing a physical or emotional need met that they cannot learn whatever lesson we may want them to learn. Their brains are literally overwhelmed and we must wait until they are calm and receptive to us before we can really teach them.

The same is true for adults.  I have had this experience myself.  In fact, I’m, unfortunately, again dealing with fresh grief and when anyone comes at me with information, especially if it’s in a hostile manner, I just get so overwhelmed and have to walk away.  That’s exactly what I did when my Facebook post got so out of control with mean, angry, accusing comments.  I tried to reason with people on both sides but when it became clear that most people didn’t want to discuss, but rather shame each other, I walked away.  I’m very grateful for my other admins on my page who took over for me and deleted and banned the haters.

Meeknes A.K.A. gentleness matters. Our children are watching us constantly. If we truly a more peaceful world then we had better start treating everyone in a peaceful manner or walk away from the haters. Hate, violence, cyber bullying, aggression are NOT okay.  Peace and change begins with us!  Let’s stop using our screens to hide behind in order to attack others and start engaging in true conversations with each other.

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Clarifying Respect And Age

A while ago I wrote a post in which I stated that I don’t believe people should be respected solely because they are older and that true respect is mutual.

Beka from “Climb A Tree With Me” created this meme from that blog post.

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Some people had a hard time with this, so let me see if I can explain. I know not everyone will agree with me because we still live in an age where “respect your elders” is shoved down our throats from birth and if children dare assert themselves in a way that is deemed “disrespectful” to their elders, they are punished.

If you spend time reading my blog and book and other social media outlets, you know that I am a huge advocate for respecting everyone from conception to death. I don’t see age as a requirement for automatic respect. Everyone deserves basic respect, kindness, and courtesy.

The problem is that some people abuse their position as an authority figure or as an older adult to demand respect. As I pointed out in my blog post to which I linked at the beginning of this post, this often occurs in the parent-child relationship.  The parent demands respect from the child, but doesn’t treat the child with the same respect.

A child who is not raised with respect will not respect the parent.  He/she fears the parent and then becomes rebellious and/or resentful.  How can we expect children to respect us when we treat them as second-class citizens?

Childism is alive and well in our society. Here’s the definition of childism:

“Childism is defined as ‘a prejudice against children on the ground of a belief that they are property and can (or even should) be controlled, enslaved, or removed to serve adult needs'” (Gold, 2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-in-mind/201201/understanding-childism-are-we-prejudiced-against-children).

This comes in the form of abortion, cry-it-out, demanding things from children that they are incapable of doing, yelling at them, saying harsh things to them, shaming them, spanking/hitting, grounding them, not listening to them, not taking them seriously, and just acting as if they are far below us.

The worst thing is that children have no voice!  Every other minority group has formed groups to give them a voice and change the way they are perceived and treated, albeit we have a long way to go in how minorities are perceived and treated in this world, but at least they have a voice.

Since children don’t have a voice, it’s up to people who see them as the beautiful human beings that they are to speak up for them. As someone who wasn’t always treated with respect by my elders, I am even more passionate about this. And due to my severe cerebral palsy, I still often get patronized and disrespected by adults of every age.

And, as I pointed out in my original post about this, sometimes disrespect continues in family relationships as the stronger one tries to bully, shame, and manipulate the “weaker” one.  When this happens, the most respectful thing to do is to set boundaries and/or walk away.  I have had to do this many times throughout my adulthood.

Unfortunately, children cannot “just walk away” or set boundaries.  Children are stuck in that relationship until they are adults.  This is not fair.

Children are born social beings who love unconditionally!  They are just learning about everything and we are their teachers. We teach respect by being respectful to them.  This does not mean we don’t set limits and boundaries or don’t discipline them.  It means we discipline them without punishing them and without being harsh.

Yes, everyone deserves respect. The elderly deserve respect. But just because we are a certain age doesn’t give us the right to demand and force respect. Respect is earned by being respectful and apologizing when we mess up.  

This world is becoming less and less respectful. It’s not because we’re not “disciplining aka punishing” children, it’s because we are treating them with less respect.  

Respectful children have been raised with true respect, and thus, offer true respect to their elders.

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Goodbye My Sweet Boy. Hello Again Grief, Darkness, and Hurt.

Please Note: I usually have my husband edit every post I write to catch grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors that I have missed.  Due to this post being so emotionally charged, I’m not having him edit this.  Please forgive any mistakes that I didn’t catch.  Thank you so much!

Once again my husband and I find ourselves in the throws of deep grief.  On July 5, 2017, our precious kitty, YP,  crossed the rainbow bridge and into Heaven. This is the second time we’ve had to help a kitty go to Heaven.  For us, it’s the closest thing to losing a child.

He was only 11 years old but had chronic kidney disease and bowel disease. We gave him the best care until he was ready to fly.

YP was relatively calm going to the vet. Usually he raises cain. He meowed some but once we got there, he got on my lap and gave me the sweetest look to say, “it’s ok, Mommy. I will be ok.” Just full of love. He looked at Daddy full of love and he didn’t fight the process much either. He was sedated and responsive to us until the final shot.  The tech knows us and him and gave us plenty of time. I fought it more than him. He was ready for Heaven. I was so strong. We both cried and have been, but the Holy Spirit wanted me to hold him throughout the process on his blanket and the tech put his mouse toy between his front paws so he held it. I held him on my lap and Daddy cradled his head in his hand. Crap, more crying. Anyway he made the transition peacefully with us loving him and talking to him the whole time. Then I held him for a bit after he was in Heaven. My husband couldn’t look anymore but I just couldn’t give him up right away. 

We’ve cried so much and this hurts. I am being honest with God which means cussing sometimes, but I believe that He wants us to be real with Him instead of the fake, legalistic prayer.  I honestly don’t know what I believe about God right now.  I know God is love, but I really don’t understand how He is making us go through 3 years of grief.

My mother-in-law went Home August 8, 2015.  My grandpa went Home May 2, 2016.  And then to lose our precious kitty…How much grief can we go through.  Yet, we do feel “the peace of God that transcends all understanding.”

I know some Christians don’t believe animals go to Heaven, but there’s Biblical and spiritual evidence for animals going to Heaven.  We’re very comforted by this fact.

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10, NASB).

“The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord” (Isaiah 65:25, ESV).

“The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young” (Psalm 84:3, NASB).

“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place and Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
The Throne and Worship of the Creator
Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever” (Revelation 4:4-9).

Yes, animals go to Heaven!

I know some people don’t understand the deep love for our animals.  They truly are like our children.  But we’re thankful for the people who truly understand this grief!

Before I end with YP’s obituary, I want to give a couple pointers for helping children grieve for animals.

  1.  Explain that their animal’s body is very sick and God needs him/her in Heaven now.
  2. Avoid using terms such as “putting Fluffy to sleep,” “Scruffy couldn’t wake up.” as these are frightening for young children as they may think that they will die in their sleep too.
  3. Talk about your favorite memories together. Allow for lots of tears.
  4. Create pictures, look at pictures, and create a memorial for your pet.
  5. Remember, losing a pet is like losing any human family member. It takes time to grieve!  Don’t replace the pet right away.

YP’s obituary
July 4, 2006-July 5, 2017

Dear YP,

We love you so much. You are always going to be my baby boy, just like Sara is my little girl in Heaven. You gave us so much joy and love. We all miss you.

We’ll never forget the first time we met you at the shelter.  You had been sick with a cold and they finally let you out of isolation and you saw us and you marched across the counter into our arms and hearts.  You “helped” Daddy fill out paperwork and pay your adoption fee by batting and biting at the pen and money.

When we brought you and your “sister” home after you guys were spayed and neutered, you hid behind the toilet and meowed.  Daddy told you that “You were such a good boy.”  You absolutely loved that saying!  You and I bonded the next day.

We miss how you would play games and get in the box in the kitchen, try to open the kitchen cabinets, get in the bathroom closet, jump on the microwave, run in Daddy’s radio shack. You also jumped into the bathroom window. You loved having us playfully “scold” you.

We miss how you would jump on Daddy’s shoulder and climb down into his lap. Or, try to climb up to his shoulders. We miss how you would jump ontop of my wheelchair and down to my tray to rub and snuggle with me. Sometimes when I was trying to work on research, you would lay right on the books. You thought you were really “helping.” Oh how I loved to put my ear against your side and listen to your loud purring.

Whenever you wanted Daddy to pick you up off something, you would hold out your little front paw so Daddy could pick you up.  You would meow at us if we ignored you.

We miss how you would scramble with toys or just scramble on our bed. We miss how you would bat at our hands and bite playfully. You tried not to bite too hard but sometimes you would out of excitement.

We miss how you would get between Daddy and his chair and lay upside down and bat at Daddy.

Your head was like a fist and you would head butt us.  When you were hungry, you would reach up at Daddy’s mouth then watch and head butt his mouth until he said, “Arrrr arrreee are you getting hungry?”  You would purr loud, like a decelerating Harley-Davidson motorcycle out of your nose and meow and shake your tail.  You would go see what you and your sister were having and then go tell her by kissing and head butting her.  She would follow you in and you would get so excited that she was coming.

Another thing you would do when you were hungry and Daddy was wearing shorts was to nip his legs while he fixed food for you and Patches.  When we would eat chicken or turkey, you would be so interested and we’d have to push you gently away.

We miss you racing around the house. From the hallway you would run and jump up on the couch, down to the ottoman, race up the cat perch, back down and go behind the entertainment center and back out to the hallway. You would meow loudly!

With your mouse, every night when I would take my asthma treatment, you would carry your mouse around and yowl at the top of your lungs.  The first time you did this I thought the mouse was stuck in your mouth.  Then being a “boy,” despite being neutered, you would bite your “sister’s” neck, making her mad.  We’d yell at you to leave your sister alone.

Your sister and you would snuggle together and sleep together and play until you would get too excited and rough.  She misses you so much!

You’d push paper bags around and hide under them with your face poking out.

Whenever you would get playful, you would whip your head around.  It was hilarious!

You would run into your box and Daddy would scratch the box and you would flip around and bat at him.

You hated getting wet and once you reached up on the table, grabbed the placemat, pulling it off the table with Daddy’s beer spilling all over you. Daddy had to dry you off with a towel.

You would shake if you thought Daddy got you wet.  You loved listening to water run in the pipe in the wall.

You and your sister climbed curtains, a wall hanging, and the Christmas tree when you were kittens.

We miss you snuggling with us in bed. I miss (kinda 😊) you scratching my bed by my head in the morning and playing under the bed meowing while I tried to sleep.

I miss holding you in my lap and watching tv with my Hello Kitty snuggie on. You couldn’t wait for Daddy to get it completely on before you would climb in my lap.

After showering, you would ride on my arm because you would try to climb around the back of my wheelchair but Daddy didn’t want you to fall so he’d push you back on my tray and you would sit on my arm and ride along.

You loved the special strings that held my slippers on and would play tug of war with Daddy.  There was also a string in the bedroom that you would lay on Daddy’s lap and play with, biting the knot.

You loved to rough house with Daddy.

You loved to be held and carried around.

You came when called and followed Daddy around the house like a dog.

You would jump on the washer and rubbed the cabinets with both sides of your face while Daddy was in there. You loved to get in the dryer and Daddy always had to make sure you and Patches were out here before starting the dryer.

You loved to jump up on the cabinets above the washer and dryer and when you would jump down, it would be really loud.

You and Patches begged for treats.

When it stormed, you would hide in the hallway because that’s where we go for tornado warnings. We taught you well.

You loved blankets and you and Patches wanted the couch back after I would lie down. You both would lie with me or fight over me on the couch.  You also would sniff the back of the couch despite nothing changing. You often acted like you were seeing things for the first time.

You would get an itch somewhere but you would itch in mid-air.

You had short, pokey legs and walked like a bulldog.  Those pokey legs were heavy when you walked across me in bed.  You had a wimpy meow for being such a “tough looking cat.”

When Daddy would walk through the kitchen, you would speed up to meet him to get lovin’.

When we’d eat, you would jump on Daddy’s shoulder and sometimes sit with your butt on his neck and front paws on the chair. You would also walk across Daddy and the chair with half of your paws on the chair and half on Daddy. Then you would jump on my chair and get on the table so we’d playfully scold you.

You thought sitting on your hind legs and pawing the door opened it.  And you’d run into our room at night just so Daddy would put you out.

You always greeted us when we got home but I had to be with Daddy or you wouldn’t bother.

You slept in my wheelchair at night.

You loved watching nature on tv and tried to “get” the butterfly.

You loved laying in your bed by the sliding door in the sun.

Oh YP, life without you is so hard!  You gave nothing but love!

Have fun in Heaven. Don’t jump on Mom(my mother-in-law) Grandpa, or Jesus’ back too much, you goofy boy. We love you, YP.

~Mommy, Daddy, and Patches 💕🌈💜😢😔

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All your nicknames.
16517EAC-4C0A-41C0-98BF-94DEDA23500D
Memorial tattoo

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My Child Abuse Awareness Ribbon Tattoo

About a week ago I got my beautiful child abuse awareness ribbon tattoo.  It came out so much better than I imagined!

It’s serious but I wanted something to give hope and the flowers do just that!  I honestly think it’s the best child abuse awareness tattoo I have ever seen.  I’m very grateful to my tattoo artist for coming up with it!  Please see my other tattoo posts on my getting tattoos with my severe cerebral palsy.

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Child abuse is 100% preventable!  Sadly, many pro-spanking advocates try to claim that spankings prevent abuse but any type of hitting is abuse because it leaves marks that are not always visible.  Plus, if one believes she/he can inflict pain on another human being, he/she will.

Research also shows that spankings usually increase in intensity, putting the child at a higher risk of being abused.

Then there’s the emotional and verbal abuse that often goes with the physical abuse, like telling the child that “you made me do it.”  Or that “you deserve it.”  Basically putting the child down in any way is verbal and emotional abuse.  The child never makes one do anything.  This is victim blaming.

Finally, there’s sexual abuse and sometimes this occurs alone or with the physical abuse because, for some, spanking children is sexually arousing which is absolutely disgusting.  

I believe that we have to educate people to get them to see that children are unique people. Understanding child development is crucial for stopping child abuse. And allowing corporal punishment with children does not decrease child abuse!  And one should never say he/she is against child abuse when he/she is advocating for corporal punishment.

It shouldn’t matter how old or big someone is, he/she should be protected from having harm inflicted on him/her by another person. It should not be left up to parents concerning how much pain can be inflicted on their children because “children can be subjected to an incredible amount of pain and suffering before our perception of parental prerogative changes to one of parental abuse” (Quinn, 1988, p.19).”

While April is child abuse awareness month, every day children are being abused by the very people who are supposed to care for them.  I got my child abuse awareness ribbon tattoo to remind myself why I keep fighting for children’s rights even though it doesn’t always feel like I’m making a difference. It will also make the public aware of child abuse all year long.

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Reference:Quinn, P. E. (1988). Spare the Rod. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Connection Leads To Independence

I recently read this article and it made so much sense.  So many times our children act up because they are feeling disconnected from us.  In this technological age, we are usually attached to a screen most of the day.  Sadly, this is disconnecting us from each other more often than not.

A few of my friends have grown children who have moved out.  They truly enjoy being with their children and always made time for them.  I also know of grown children who are not doing as well because they were harshly parented and they knew the parents didn’t always want to deal with them.

Starting at birth, children are extremely sensitive to our vibes.  They know if you don’t want to be with them.  I have observed many times that children who have parents who do their best to remain connected with their children and truly want to be with the children have more independent children.

Why?  Because when children get their fill of our love and attention, they are free to enjoy times when we aren’t able to be one-on-one with them.  They know that if they need us, we’ll be there.

The Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) Approach recommends starting this deep connection at birth.  Infants require so much care that we should be using this time to really connect with them instead of rushing through daily care activities.  This means being fully present with the infant during changing diapers and clothes, feedings, bathing, and nap time and bedtime routines.  When we are fully present, we are making deep connections with the child that fill their social-emotional needs.  Then they can do brief sessions of independent play more easily.

As infants become toddlers and preschoolers, many outbursts and meltdowns have their roots based upon feeling connected with us.  Spending at least 15 minutes twice a day one-on-one with the child can help fill his/her connection bucket.  And in situations where we can’t be fully present with them, doing simple things such as making eye contact, smiling at them, touching them, nodding to acknowledge them can make a huge difference in their behavior.

I know pro-spankers and other people who believe in harsh parenting will ask, “Doesn’t this make them more clingy?”  What these people fail to understand is that forcing children to be independent before they are ready is what makes them “clingy.”  Sure, you can spank/hit them to teach them not to “bug” you when you don’t want them to, but you’re actually breaking connection which usually backfires.  Even if they don’t bother you, they will do things that are wrong just to get attention from someone.

Then when they are adults, they may have trouble with their relationships.  If they’re never taught how to truly connect with others then it will hurt them throughout their lives.

I love parents who are able to be there for their children even when they are socializing with adults.  For example, at a party I witnessed a mother who was fully engaged with her adult friends but the minute she thought she heard a child say, “Mom,” she paused to see if the children were in need.  The children played with each other as well as came in with the adults without being rude.  They didn’t interrupt.  They were very respectful.

 I think part of the “problem” with “today’s children” is that they are not getting the connection they need.  Then they get punished for acting up.  We need to put down the screens and the demands of life and do our best to connect with our children.

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Guest Post: Did Having Children With Autism Ruin My Life? By Daniel Smith

Note: Daniel is a wonderful Christian gentle parent.  This post really touched me as I have severe cerebral palsy and I always really appreciate when parents let people know that having children with disabilities is tough, but also very rewarding!

Going to tackle a tough question that comes up from time to time.

Has having children with autism ruined my life?  Is this the worst thing that could ever happen?

The answer is an emphatic no!

Aizen’s needs in particular have posed some tremendous challenges to us to understand and learn — and honestly there would have been a time I may have answered yes to this question. Age five, before we were getting support and help, was a particularly rough time because he was biting and aggressive and we didn’t know what to do. He also wasn’t talking which made things extra challenging.

But did it ruin my life?  No — I have had to grow significantly and I had a lot to learn. I have gained skills, understanding, empathy, and knowledge I would never have gained otherwise. Aizen has shown me the world in a way I would never have observed it without him. He has changed the way I perceive behaviours in other people and taught me patience and empathy in stressful situations.

Has this ruined my life?  I’d say the opposite — what I have gained would be enhancements. I am also a bereaved parent and I stress that Aizen is alive, gaining skills, observing and experiencing the world — he’s not broken, damaged, a burden or a problem. The worst thing that can happen — and I know from experience — is your child passing away and having plan their funeral.

He’s a good polite kid who has worked extremely hard for every skill he has acquired — he’s someone who should be celebrated.

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Love Should Always Triumph Over Manipulation

 

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I recently heard something similar to this quote, “Love should always triumph over manipulation,” on a television show and it spoke to me. Unfortunately, manipulation triumphs more than love does in the parent-child relationship.

It’s not always a conscious thing, though, sometimes it is. We unknowingly usually start manipulating children at birth by not respecting their bodies and feelings.  We force them to do things that their bodies are not yet ready to do such as “tummy time” or propping them up.  This is so uncomfortable.

We make them stand before they can. We try to quiet their cries by shushing them, distracting them with a toy in front of their faces, and/or leave them to cry-it-out.

As they grow, we try to force our own agendas onto them even more.  When they are acting their ages or doing something that is developmentally appropriate, we punish them.  We spank/hit, give time-outs, and arbitrarily take things away.

This is all manipulation. Young children are often accused of trying to manipulate their parents but they are not able to think that far ahead. They’re always in the present.  People who tell parents that children manipulate are usually extremely manipulative.

This can continue into adulthood.  But love should triumph over manipulation. Love should think of the other person and do what is best for them. This does not mean letting people of any age walk all over us!  It should mean putting others first as God wants us to do.

True love accepts all, puts others first, tries not to hurt people, tries to have empathy, and gently corrects when appropriate.

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I don’t know who’s quote this is but it is spot on!

A Mishmash Of Thoughts

This post may be all over the place but it’s based on things I have experienced this week. It was a rough week as May 2nd was the one year anniversary of my dear grandpa going Home. I have really struggled with his passing. He and I were extremely close and he was a wonderful grandfather who never intentionally hurt me.

Since my family has not had any “official” services for him yet and I won’t be able to go to them due to financial issues and a cat who has chronic diseases and is not yet ready to die, I had my own private funeral service on Tuesday May 2nd that included getting a beautiful tattoo.

I kept thinking “goodbye grandpa” during the tattoo which is on my upper right arm.  The tattoo came out perfectly!   Parts of it hurt like heck as the inside of one’s arm is much more sensitive, but my tattoo artist and my husband encouraged me during the tough parts and I breathed and laughed my way through it.  I cried when it was done.

I’m not letting go but I finally feel so at peace that he is physically gone. I miss him and my mother-in-law so much, but I just couldn’t get comfortable with Grandpa being gone until until I got this memorial tattoo.  Plus, he deserved a detailed tattoo. I LOVE my first tattoo which is for him but I was feeling guilty that everybody else has detailed tattoos and he didn’t. So now that I know I can get detailed tattoos, I’m happy I got one for him and the jacket that was his. She made it look like a watercolor.

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However, I have been experiencing some things that prove how important respect is. I haven’t felt very respected and that has made me lash out. I didn’t repay evil for evil, but I could have done better.

When adults and children don’t feel respected and heard, it makes them angry. That’s why children usually act out.  They need connections and respect.  But it is so hard when you’re doing your best to be respectful and the other person doesn’t respect you. Children don’t mean to be disrespectful as they are still learning how to respect.  But adults should know better.

I also feel like, based on my own experiences as well as observations, people of all ages tend to want to control and manipulate others that they feel are weaker.  These people usually have emotional problems that make them need to feel powerful and in control by manipulating the weaker person.

We see this all the time with the parent-child dyad. The parent finally has someone they can control and manipulate after they were controlled and manipulated as children. They may be doing it unconsciously, but they do it nonetheless.  Others are fully aware of what they are doing.

But another group that is often controlled and manipulated, sometimes even by family, are people with disabilities.  I have severe cerebral palsy and I often feel like people don’t respect me. No matter how old I get, I often get treated as a child.  Of course, anyone who knows my story knows that I was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by my late dad. I was also emotionally abused by my school aide.

In addition to dealing the my grief of losing my mother-in-law and grandpa as well as dealing with my beloved kitty going downhill and other life stresses, I have felt very disrespected.  Trying to have boundaries and protect myself while remaining Christ-like is not easy.

Of course, this makes me think of children. We need to respect their personal boundaries as we set our own boundaries with them. It is such a helpless feeling knowing that someone you love is trying to control, manipulate, and make you feel guilty for something that you didn’t do. I’m 35 and I’m really struggling with it and I don’t always handle it as well as I should.  It’s no wonder that children have meltdowns and anxiety and feel so out of control when we try to control, manipulate, and shame them. I can relate so much to the feelings children have.

I am at peace with the loss of my grandpa and I am thankful for that. At the same time, it comes to light that we all need to be respected by the people we love no matter what our age is. I don’t believe that elders deserve respect just because they are older.  I believe respect is earned. It must be mutual. It cannot be forced. If it is forced, it leads to strong resentment.

I guess that is my mishmash of thoughts. I hope it helps someone else dealing with similar things. I also hope it helps parents to see how important it is to respect their children. Only through respecting our children will they learn to respect others.

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