A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || May 19, 2001 || 1:27 pm

The conversation started innocently enough. Sam and I were sitting in the music room having a loose lesson and talking.

I like conversating with my eldest child. He asks great questions and comes at most topics with a different perspective than myself. He sort of has this backward way of reasoning, but his own brand of logic opens up a train of thought that is not found in most (especially boys) his age.

There was a pause as his hands lost their position on the strings; I thought he was struggling to remember a note, or how to fret it. I waited, not wanting to interrrupt the relaxed silence. After a brief time he looked up.

When Samuel looks at you, you get the sense that he is looking into you, trying to solve your puzzle. To some, it can be very disconcerting. To me, it is quite endearing, because with that look he conveys all of the best things that I love about him: his compassionate nature, his intellect, his soulful personal warmth, his desire to truly understand. We have had a rough time here lately (it is my understanding from other parents with sons this age that all nine-year-old boys lose their brain/common sense along the way…something to do with preparing them for puberty, I suppose), but he is a good kid with a good heart and I not only love him, I like him as well.

Don’t laugh. My momma always said that “Hey, you’re my kid. I have to love you. I don’t always have to LIKE you, but I have to love you.” Now that I am a mother thrice over, I see what she meant. If all your switches are flipped in the proper direction, having children will be one of the greatest affairs of the heart in your whole life.

So yeah, Sam looked up at me and said, “Mommy,” and I knew that this one was going to be heavy. He stopped calling me mommy a couple of years ago.

“Mommy, why are some parents mean to their children?”

It was direct and it was powerful. The earnest way he said it, coupled with him using ‘children’ instead of ‘kids’ made it sound for all the world like a little adult was sitting in front of me. I needed clarification, however. Sometimes your offspring’s definition of ‘mean’ is a little broad….like when you say they can’t go out and ride their bike thirty minutes before bedtime because they have already had a bath.

“What do you mean, son?”

“Well, you know when we went on that field trip to Chattanooga to the aquarium the other day? Alex told me and Ryan some stuff, and now I’m worried for him.”

“What stuff, Sam? What’d he say?”

“Well, he said that his dad lives in Chattanooga and he wishes he could live with him instead of his mother. He told me that the day before his mom hit him on the head with a hairbrush and then picked him up and threw him in the bathtub.

“You know, he could’ve gotten hurt really bad, mom. He could’ve cracked his head open in that tub.”

I felt deflated. How do I respond to this? How do I make him understand, when I don’t understand shit like this myself? Our charge as parents is to protect and nurture and guide our children. It is a frustrating and daunting task at times, to be sure. I would challenge any parent’s truth meter if they swore that they had never had the desire to chuck their kid out the window; everyone gets THAT FRUSTRATED sometimes. You have these little people with not one whit of logical reasoning, challenging your authority on their own well-being. That’s where judicious discipline/punishment comes in. And you discount the urge to tie them up until they become reasonable again. Take a breath….send them to their room until you feel more reasonable. Go have a sit-down. Stabilize yourself so that you can be an EFFECTIVE parent.

I asked more questions and Sam asked more questions and we discussed the whole issue. He told me more things that sickened me. Now I find myself in the midst of a moral dilemma. Do I trust the words of a third-grader, via hearsay, and involve myself? What if this kid is a chronic liar? My son says that he is typically a truthful guy, but how do I know that for sure? Do I discuss it with the boys’ teacher, and let it go from there? How much is too much? How little is not enough? I earnestly want to help this child, but I want to really help, not just salve my conscience….


National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information

Child Abuse Prevention Network

Prevent Child Abuse America


Child Abuse Yellow Pages

Nobody worked it out »

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