Kid-Gloves Off: the wiser approach to dealing with dysfunctional behavior

As a mother I know I can not save the world and I can not save a child from it.  I can teach good principles while they are in my care.  I can walk with them on an autumn day and talk of how to identify different trees by their leaves and then drop in a learning lesson on how to identify a fair-weather friend from a true long-lasting friend. I can set boundaries for their safety and for the safety of the community but I can only enforce those boundaries up to a point.  What they do out of sight and out of my knowledge is another thing. 

A parent is never the wiser until someone else makes us the wiser it seems.  What I thought as a single mother raising my children to be morally solid and civically responsible adults may have been a deception of greater scale than I had ever dreamed possible.  I can site so many times I thought handling a situation with kid-gloves to ease the pain one child or another were handling was the better course of action.  I was so totally wrong.  The kid-glove approach to ease a child’s mind and not to damage their self-esteem was a significant travesty of modern life I embraced too often.

Now I am faced with an adult child who is neither doing well in life nor is that child able to cope with life on an adult level.  Holding this child’s hand whilst otherwise taking off the kid-gloves would have circumvented what this child is dealing with today, as an adult of meager means and no prospect of increase economically or psychologically.

The question is: Did I completely fail my child? 

May I ask if you are doing the same?  Are you overly worried about your child’s self esteem to the point you do not let them completely suffer the reality of their choices.  Are you doing as I did, sugar-coating and making excuses for your child?  I suggest you stop, stop immediately.

I have come to realize that children must wallow in the pit of sludge and murk they land themselves in while they still have available to them a hot meal and a warm bed provided by hands other than their own.  Or, they could be bringing that pit of sludge and murk straight into their adult life as my child has done. 

This is not an easy reality to admit.  No mother, no parent, wants their child to go through hard times at any age but going through them they will.  For instance, it is unavoidable and expected that your child will be bullied at one point and it is also unavoidable that you will be witnessing this event with a soft heart and arms that want to hold.  The question is: Should you?  Or should you stand back, supportive but strong and let your child figure it out for themselves.  This would be true of other mishaps in your child’s life from playground squabbles to forgotten homework. Whatever it is each child must learn to cope with the consequences of their actions and choices.  So let them.  I wish I had done more standing back and less kid-glove usage.   My child would have been better for it.


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