have you ever wondered about the parents of kids who get into trouble frequently? do you think:

  • do they not pay enough attention to their kids, so they get in trouble?
  • are they just naive?
  • or do they just not care?

I have to be honest in saying that I have thought all of these -and more, even uglier- things about different parents over the years. I am a recovering judgementalist. I used to be extremely opinionated and somewhat outspoken about others’ parenting techniques and styles.

you see a kid screaming and throwing a tantrum in the store, and the parents not handling it like you think they should…”I would tear his tail up!” you might say, or “why don’t they just go out to the car and set him straight?”

one of my many faults is that I could quickly condemn someone for the same action/mistake/sin that I have made. if you asked why it was okay for me, but not the person I was criticizing someone else for, my answer would be that I had learned from my mistake. here’s the thing, though: you have to make the mistake in order to learn from it. so there this person is, walking on the side of error, fixing to learn a lesson, and I wouldn’t even cut them the slack of making a mistake to learn from.

this all resulted in there being no justification in my judgement. add to this, the fact that I was one of those parents I was condemning.

we have a child who hasn’t lived with us for the past 2 years. in the last 10 years, we have dealt with more professionals with initials beside their names than I can count. I am not exaggerating.

most parents think, “my child would never do that!” it’s never good to be the parent who knows that not only could their child do that, but he probably did.

many parents fight about their children, with one usually being more indulgent, tolerant than the other. rich and I are blessed with an apparently strong marriage; it has been tested so much over the years that if we weren’t meant to be together, I think we would have crumbled long ago.

we placed kris in a facility when he was 14, and immediately things around here calmed down. the house was more serene and less stressful, but we felt like failures. what kind of parents send their child away? and worse, what kind of parents have the nerve to relax in the resulting peace?

I have come – through lots of therapy – to realize that we are doing for kris what is best for him, getting him the treatment he needs. and keeping the rest of our family safe, but there’s still loads of guilt hanging around.

so I guess the hypocrisy here is that while I was ready and willing to judge other parents’ methods, I was rolling in guilt and shame. maybe I was projecting…?

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