What I Understand

In my last re-post I talked about how I am not my parents. This stemmed from being told again and again (whenever I disagreed with my parents stance on something) that when I was older, when I was a parent, when I was a parent of many…

I would magically understand why my parents did what they did.

The implication being that I would agree with and condone what they did as well.

The breakthrough I talked about in that post, was stating that I will never “understand” or feel that abuse was justified, and I stand by that statement. But some of what they are saying is true. I have begun to understand some things.

I have four children, I work on my feet forty hours a week, my wife is usually working the hours that I am not. Life is exhausting sometimes. You have to keep going when you are tired, when you are sick, when finances are bad, when the fridge is empty.

Yes, life has many good things, but it’s also a constant challenge. Add parenting to that mix, and you are bound to have days where you react more strongly to childish behavior than you intended, or times where your voice is raised louder than you imagined.

Days where you are not the parent you want to be.

I understand.

I understand what it is like to be so tired you are falling asleep sitting up, and it’s still 3 hours till the kids go to bed. I understand what it’s like when you pull together every last bit of creativity to put together something for dinner from the odds and ends left in the cabinet, only to have your kids turn up their noses and request cereal. I understand what it’s like to spend an hour brushing teeth and giving kisses and singing songs, and close the door and sit down to take a breath, and thirty seconds later a kid pops into the hallway with some urgent (or not so urgent) need.

I understand that people are not perfect, (and by extension parents will not be perfect either.) Sometimes on those bad days, or in those bad moments, you cry, or you yell, or you slam a door, or say things like “if you don’t stop that right now there will be no treats for the rest of the day!!”

Here is what I don’t understand. What I will never understand.i011

Hitting your children. Denying them basic rights as “punishment”.

I don’t understand never apologizing, never admitting wrong, never changing the pattern of behavior.

I don’t understand justifying and defending your behavior, berating and shaming your kids, telling your kids that your issue and your problem is their fault.

I don’t understand a complete lack of empathy, an insistence on being right, a refusal to acknowledge error and actively get help for your issues.

I don’t understand being incapable of understanding that that damage inflicted on your kids, leaves marks, and while the marks may heal, the scars will always be there, they will never go away.

Yes. I am an adult, I am a parent, and I do understand some things.

But some things shouldn’t be “understood”, or excused, or condoned.

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