WHY IT’S OKAY TO SLUT SHAME YOUR MOM.
Or disrespect her in numerous ways.
It’s okay because she allows it, that’s why! And boy have I been guilty of allowing disrespect and boundary breaching in my life with my own children, I can tell you that. I wish I could report to you that because I have worked with countless people on relationship issues such as respect, boundaries and authentically standing in your truth for almost two decades that I myself have it down. I wish that I could tell you that the close to 2000 hours of class time on these subjects that I have under my belt and multiple certifications plus all the practice time would guarantee that I had all my shiz in order and that my family relationship and my intimate relationship with my partner was perfect, without miscommunication, trouble or pain.
HOWEVER THAT SIMPLY IS NOT SO.
You see we are all human. And we humans have trauma, pain, and programs that we have become comfortable with even when they are programs that cause us more pain, trauma and separation in relationship, causing us to armour our hearts from those that we love the most.
Today I am going to be extremely raw, vulnerable and edgy with you about the topics of disrespect and boundaries and I am doing so because, it’s what is in my face on the home front and therefore it may be a vital topic that a few others are looking for ways to cope with as well in the moment.
It is often said that parenthood, especially motherhood, is the least appreciated job on the planet. And I would agree for the most part, I have noticed through the last twenty five years of motherhood that when my children are going through rocky spots in life, have personal matters at hand that they feel compelled and even safe to use me as a verbal emotional punching bag. They adore embarrassing me, making fun of my past, using sarcasm when they can or just being as blunt and raw about topics that perhaps do not need to be discussed and are only pain causing in moments that for all I can assume are moments that they are not feeling strong in self or life. Human nature when underdeveloped in maturity and empathy is to find weakness in another and feed off of it to make oneself feel better about their own lives. We all know that teenagers think that they got a better handle on adulting and life then we parents could ever understand, and we understand today that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until mid-twenties, so it makes sense why our twenty somethings are also challenged with a lack of understanding of the effects that their words and actions can have long term to life and relationship.
However, put teen attitudes and frontal lobes to the side, what I see more and more, not just in my own family and experience but in society in general is that disrespecting elders, parents and others alike is pretty much common place and a normal part of how we allow our youth to engage with us. Rarely do we appreciate the wisdom, insight or even lives of those who are our seniors and most certainly not our parents.
Our youth dictates to us our timelines, the foods we buy, what their hours of watching TV, playing video games are, if they need a ride to work, what sort of vehicles they expect they should acquire when they get their driver’s license, what school they should be able to attend, their curfews and more. We parents have allowed for a plague of entitlement and righteousness to set into our youth. They actually believe that they are smarter, wiser and more deserving. And if you disagree with this statement just look at those children who are in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. We have an onslaught of “only child syndrome” except they are not only children often and they have a difficult time adulting. Today our thirty year olds are about as equipt to be adults as what high school graduates were just twenty years ago. That is the sad reality!
In my opinion, the majority of this stems from us parents not instilling healthy boundaries around time, space and money as well as not teaching our children healthy respect for themselves and others and that their words and actions that are disrespectful are seriously damaging to relationships, including the relationships that they have with we parents.
Instead of teaching these things, we parents have turned the other cheek far too often and made discipline evil. We have focused on the no child left behind concept and instead ended up leaving behind all of our children because children are not learning valuable life lessons. Instead they are learning that life should cater to them and that they can get away with being little a*ses because the punishment of our time and our parents is “evil” and could even be considered abusive. I recall many years back when my now fifteen year old son was mad at me and I told him that if he did not stop the back talk that I would pop his mouth, his response to me was, “Go ahead mom, I will call the cops on you. That is abuse.”
He could stand there and call me names, tell me horrible things, disrespect me and ignore me and if I were to “parent him” I was abusing him. My only recourse was to put him on time out? Ground him? Of which he did not care. He enjoyed the silence and being alone. It was not a punishment.
This seemingly simple little thing over time builds into massive disrespect.
It is never just simple or small when we are allowing disrespect.
We can make excuses for our children and say they have anxiety, they have peer stress, tests are due, blah, blah, blah… kids today have so much more pressure on them then what we had as kids….
So having pressure on you is a get out of jail free card to be a dick to those you love or anyone for that matter?
How is that concept going to support your kid in the real world?
How would your boss or spouse handle you using that excuse very often?
It is up to us parents to instill healthy boundaries and respect in our children, I believe that we can all agree upon that, but what does that look like for today’s society?
So how do we identify a boundary?
One of the hardest things for us to do is to say no or speak our feelings, especially when they are not aligning to what someone we love wants. We want to please, keep the peace and we believe that we are not being kind when we say something that might rock the boat and cause conflict, however that is far from the truth. In all relationships we have a right to ask for what we want and tell people (including our partners and children) what we don’t want, in fact setting and knowing what your boundaries are can be one of the most soul nurturing and self-loving things that we can practice as well as teach. And with our children, they learn more by what we do than what we say.
Recently I was listening to a talk and the host stated this about boundaries, I thought it was a perfect way to help identify what they are for each of us.
“Boundaries are the distance from which I can love you and me simultaneously.”
Boundaries are not there to keep people away, but instead to keep love expanding for self and another. They teach respect, honor, empathy, compassion and love. By upholding another’s boundaries we get to support that person in love and respect.
Another way of looking at boundaries is that they are guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identify a feasible, safe, and permissible ways for others to behave and interact with them and/or in their space or with their things and have a response for how they will respond should the boundary be crossed.
Examples of healthy parenting boundaries:
Private Space- Parents need and should have a sacred and private space that children understand is for the parents, no matter the age of the child. This can extend as a child grows to the parents home, where perhaps a boundary is that you request a heads up that they are coming over. Just because they are your child should they have the expectation that they can just walk in? How does that support you as a parent? Your privacy? Your relationship with your partner? Work? Etc? With younger children, perhaps you have the private space of your bedroom and/or office where you do not allow toys, play, trespassing the doorway unannounced or without permission or request from the parent.
Time – We parents allow for far too much pressure on our time. Setting the boundaries around time requests and use of vehicles, needs to be taken places, or things needing to be dropped off or brought to them. Is it okay for your child to demand that you drop everything and run them something they forgot when they are at work or school? Can they ask or demand last minute for you to take them places? What about simple requests around such things as personal items needed in the house? Ex: my child recently and frequently gets into the shower and does not look to see if there is a towel for him to use. He showers, then when he realizes that he has no towel, calls to request towel service? I have stopped bringing him towels or toilet paper for that matter no matter the situation to make a point that it is his responsibility to be aware of what he needs in such moments and make sure that he has it available. It is no one else’s responsibility to supply him with these things nor drop what they are doing to save him. This lesson is worth its weight in gold come his adult years when he lives alone or is married, not to mention the many ways it plays out in the work field.
Money- We pay our children for living with us and “allowing us” to do everything for them. Yes, this is what we do and we do it thinking we are teaching them about work ethics when what we are doing is telling them that they are owed something for using the utilities, eating the food, and ignoring us and their chores until we press them hard. In the real word, you back talk, ignore your duties and just take and you lose the job, the relationship, the what have you. Start creating responsibility with children by giving them duties without pay. No one pays you to do the laundry, the dishes, vacuum or anything else, so let them learn that lesson. Also, stop paying everything for them. When a child can make money let them cover part of their cell bill, their car insurance, car payment. They need to learn how money works and how to save and how to allocate otherwise they will have many failures in the future.
Food and Diet- In today’s world of Uber eats and home delivery it is all the easier for kids to eat what they want and with great ease. However that does not set them up for healthy eating or understanding the importance of money, shopping wisely or health consciously. Kids have always been hard to get to eat what is prepared for them. They are learning about foods and likes/dislikes, but when we just allow for them to do as they please, even let them dictate the food that is bought, we sabotage not only them but ourselves too. Convenience and keeping them happy is killing our health as adults or costing you twice as much financially because you might be buying two diet plans instead of one. Perhaps, start a boundary that certain nights are family cook nights and that they are in charge of creating and if old enough cooking a healthy dinner for the family and taking children shopping, explaining your reasoning for buying what you do and talking to them about balance, health and economic ways of living can support their futures as well. Creating the boundary around food and diet can be challenging but highly worthwhile.
Agendas/Schedule – Today more and more parents work from home. Children see that their parents are more accessible but also will cave to their desires easily because they are trying to get work done. Creating the container around your work day and schedule is a requirement if you want to maintain and teach respect for work, time and space.
Your Intimate Relationship – Today there are many broken families and blended families. Children are edgy about trusting the “new” guy or woman in their parents life. This creates a space for our children to disrespect the relationship between adults. Even our adult children will cross boundaries and be disrespectful to the intimate relationship of their parents with another, much like they tried to cause a lack of unity between parents in their youth, they will find opportunities to cause chaos and doubt in their parents relationships as adults with sarcasm, jooking, sharing of past events, ignoring the “new” person in their parents lives, outcasting them, or even invading on private moments with them. It is important for us parents to understand that if we are to be happy and have a healthy relationship with a partner that we must address and have the difficult conversations with our children about respecting, including, and relationship boundaries. For our adult children, perhaps just ask them, “How would you feel if I did/said that to you or a significant other?” When flipped, they may be able to see their error and disrespect.
There are so many more boundaries that show disrespect from our youth that we have allowed and supported as parents of today. I encourage you to review your boundaries with your children, how you feel they are respecting you and doi the difficult task of having the hard conversations with them no matter their age.
The more we parents allow for our children to walk all over us, the more we do damage to ourselves and them and we give permission for our children to create emotional and perhaps even physical space between us.
Not to mention that what they learn from the relationship with us parents, they transfer over to their intimate lives and other relationships, which could create a society of high maintenance narcissist adults who will never find true happiness, love or acceptance in self.
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