The Golden Rule
We all know being a mom is one of the hardest jobs. We constantly worry about our kids from the time they are in our bellies till we die. I don’t think we ever stop worrying about them. Being “mama bear” is a natural instinct. We are here to protect our kids, always on alert, and all rules are forgotten when you see them in danger. I am a cool parent, just don’t F with my kid…
Bullying has always been a problem, but now with all the social media, it has become uncontrollable. Social media and all the technology that is at our kids fingertips can be so unhealthy when not monitored. They learn about puberty and see inappropriate things before mom and dad can sit down and have the awkward birds and bees conversation. I mean seriously, could you imagine sitting your kids down and saying, “let me tell you about the birds and the bees… sometimes a girl likes a boy and a boy likes a girl…” My 8 year old would look at me like I was the biggest idiot. They are way ahead of us and know more than we think. They are sponges, absorbing all the good and bad through video games, Instagram, facebook and youtube. How do we take control and monitor it all. We can’t. We can only control what happens in our home, but technology is everywhere, and we can’t be everywhere.
I try to teach my kids as best I can, to be good human beings. Treat everyone with respect and as an equal. What someone may lack in, they may excel in something else. Lift others up, never judge or think you are better than anyone else. We are all different, and we all have our own gifts to share. We instill all these rules in our kids, hoping they go off to school with a good head on their shoulders, but we are not there to remind them how to behave or protect them from other kids who may be mean or treat them badly. How can I go “mama bear” on someone if my kid is gone for 7 hours a day?
Caden, my middle child, who has sensory processing issues, has a very high tolerance for pain. He likes to be touched, squished, squeezed to help him regulate his body. He often gets picked on by his older brother, who is smaller than him and is going to learn quickly Caden is going to kick his ass one day. Kyle uses him as a punching bag, and Caden lets him. There is always laughing… until there is not. I can hear Caden screaming through laughs. The other day I was wrestling with him on the floor and tickling him. I love to see him smile and laugh, he can light up a room. Through his laughter, he was telling me to stop, but all in play. Out of nowhere, he hits me in the face. Luckily not that hard, but still. He had had enough of the torturing and didn’t know how to make me stop. Hitting me did the job.
I sat and talked to Caden about the difference between laughing and playing, or being serious. It was important to me to know he could stand up for himself and not be a punching bag for kids at school, or anywhere for that matter. If he is laughing, people are going to think he is playing and won’t take him seriously. If he really wanted someone to stop doing something, he would have to use a big strong voice and say, “stop it, I don’t like that!” I gave Caden full approval to hit someone if he was getting bullied and asked them to stop several times (even though it should only take once), if he used this strong voice and meant it. So heads up… don’t mess with my kid.
I was approached by a teacher at school the very next day. He assured me Caden wasn’t in trouble (that is always the first concern), but he wanted to talk to me about something he witnessed. He had heard Caden yelling “stop it!”, in a voice that was unlike him. Knowing Caden well, he knew something was not right. The teacher asked another student to run and see what was going on. By the time she got up to the classroom, Caden and the other kid were gone. When Caden got home from school, I was able to get the story out of him… He was being picked on by another student, and I was proud of him for sticking up for himself and remembering what we had talked about. It gave me a little relief to know he could take care of himself without his “mama bear” watching over him.
Teaching Caden to stand up for himself, especially having Autism, is going to be part of his survival. He has grown up with the same kids since Kindergarten and has gotten very comfortable with them. He is in a small school where he is known by name and loved. The kids protect and look after him, like big brothers and sisters. I haven’t had the need to go into full discussion about defending himself, but as he approaches middle school, it is a reality we are going to have to face. His two brothers definitely keep his self defense tactics in practice with their brotherly love, as they call it. There is a fine line between being a tattle tale, taking a situation to far and not allowing others to bully you. Caden struggles with this, and it makes him very uncomfortable.
With his high tolerance of pain and belief that everyone is his friend, Caden has had to learn that sometimes friends can be mean and bully you too. He gets very dysregulated with not knowing how to process this. He doesn’t like what someone is doing to him, but he doesn’t want to tell on them because they are his friend. We are working on processing his emotions and feelings and journaling anything that may have bothered him during his school day. This has been very therapeutic for us both. Caden gets his feelings out, and I get to feel connected to my son. If the world were a better place, people would treat one another like they mattered. Unfortunately we are far from that. As parents we can all do our part to make sure our children know they are loved, and that they do matter. My parents taught me at a young age, the GOLDEN RULE, treat others as you want to be treated. How is it that something so simple can be so difficult?