Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Don't Burden Your Children!

Picture for a moment that you are enjoying a peaceful walk with your child.  You are enjoying his/her company and the beauty of nature all around you is calming and delightful.  Now imagine that you stop and give your child a backpack to carry, and inside it is one brick.  As you walk along, you stop and add another brick, and another, and eventually the backpack is bulging with bricks and your child is being forced to carry this enormous weight.  He/She is struggling to keep up with you, and the backpack is too heavy for him/her to manage.  You ignore the struggle and keep walking down the path, oblivious to your child's plight. Are you thinking: Ridiculous?  Far Fetched? Would never happen?

If you fight with your child's other parent in front of your child, you are doing this very thing.  You are burdening your child with your own anger, resentment, and lack of maturity.  This scenario is NOT FAIR for your child.  Children have tender hearts and those hearts are aimed directly at their parents.  To criticize or fight with the other parent makes your child feel less than.  Less than good enough.  Less than the child you both wanted.  Less than powerless.  Children are scarred by adults fighting in front of them.

Adult relationships are complicated.  I get that.  Sometimes disagreements arise.  I get that, too.  But consistently arguing in front of your child is not only hurting them in the present, you are hurting their future, too.  You are modeling an unhealthy relationship and will make it more difficult for them to create and experience a healthy, loving, adult relationship down the road.

A few years ago, I had a preschooler who was sharing with me that Daddy and Mommy argued a lot. "I try to get them to stop and be nice, but sometimes they just don't listen!"  His little face reflecting the pain and frustration he felt has stayed with me.  His message is clear.  Don't argue in front of your children.  You can do better and they deserve better.

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