This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

World's Meanest Mom

In response to my post Reader Question, Miz Kizzle commented:

"Yikes! No Sponge Bob? No rock music? In your room by 9 p.m.?
I'm an adult with three kids of my own but just reading those rules gives me a hankering to sneak out of my window in the middle of the night and ride around with my friends, blasting hip hop and defying authority.
I know you have good reasons for your style of child rearing but for some kids, the harder you clamp down on them the more they rebel. I suspect that Bear will be over the hills and far away the second he turns 18."

- You'd think that, wouldn't you? I think the fact that they don't rebel against it shows that they are as emotionally delayed as I know they are. If those were the rules for a 6-year-old it wouldn't surprise you, but the truth is that in most ways my kids are 6-year-olds with major issues on top of that. Kitty thrives on our rules. Bear was going to leave anyway whether we were super indulgent or even stricter. Bob, of course, is "neurotypical" so she doesn't need rules quite this strict, but is given quite a bit of leeway, just not blatantly so it's not rubbed in the face of the others.

If you've read some of my past posts you know that I feel media can have an overwhelming influence on people. Music especially taps directly into the emotions (although we do listen to rock and rap - it's just Christian rock and rap). My kids, especially Kitty, are incredibly vulnerable to this so I try to keep out the unnecessary trauma-inducing stuff whenever possible.

Obviously, Bob can handle a lot more than the other kids, but truthfully, why should she? Am I any better off for having watched the movie Kick-Ass? We do make exceptions all the time based on the child's individual abilities though.

The 9pm room thing is not really for them. It's for Hubby and me! We want to be able to do things without having to worry about having a kid watching over our shoulder, and to know they're not getting in trouble without having to watch them. Could be watching a rated R movie, having a private conversation, or just getting some needed downtime.

The time was arrived at by what time the kids could stay up until without having issues the next day. Kitty is actually going to bed a little earlier because she needs more sleep. Ponito is a morning person so he also pretty much goes straight to sleep. Bob stays up reading. Bear, spends an hour in the bathroom (doing who knows what with water running the whole time - I hate that!), and then does who knows what in his room.

And of course the main reason my kids have strict rules?! Because I'm the Meanest Mom in the World and I have to maintain my status!!

I do feel it's best for my kids to have strict rules and structure. They do much better when they have that structure! It makes them feel safe.

Structure and Caring Support
Why Doesn't My Child Feel Safe?


Kelly said...

I am mean too because I completely agree with all you are saying. You don't owe anyone an explanation about how you parent YOUR children because you know your children better than anyone else and you know and are doing what is best for all four of them. Period.

When I am asked, "What is the hardest part of parenting?" I always say, "Dealing with other parents who think I am not doing things the way I should." We are all being the best parents we can be. Do we make mistakes? Yes. But hopefully we learn from them and change things up and are even better after. In the case of mentally ill children one can ONLY look at the child's mental age when making parenting decisions, not physical age.
Keep up the good work. I respect you for sticking to your rules and doing what you know is best for your kids despite what others think.

GB's Mom said...

There are days when you have to share that title! Happily, today is not one of them :) It is all yours.

cshellz said...

Since my kids were little my husband and I enforced an 8pm rule. It's never changed, that is our time and at 9 it's lights out, music etc off.
With your options on Bear, I'm dealing with that only it's my Dd fkid. Do I allow her to get that consequence experience (that never seems to work like it should) or try to keep her and the other kids safe during her last 8 months in care. I don't think there's a right answer. I think it's whatever works for you and your family. Either way you go he'll have the hard road to travel

Lisa said...

Me! Pick me!! I AM the meanest Mom in the world and come by that title honestly! haha.

To their bedrooms at 8pm on school nights, 9pm on weekends-later if we're watching a family movie and don't get started til late, HOWEVER, we usually lose a few along the way who can't keep their eyes open one more minute (including the 15 yo dd). There is nothing on tv for them to watch worth staying up for. We started early bedtimes when they were young because we found that whether they stayed up until 8 or 11pm, they still get up before dawn anyway so at least we'd get a few hours of rest before me and the hubby go to bed at 10pm (he gets up at 5:30am for work). It works for us and I don't plan on changing anything now.

The media exposure is a HUGE issue around here. I have a 17 yo dd who basically lives her life according to Taylor Swift country songs (listen to the lyrics - sneaking out, young love in spite of parents warnings, sex at 15, etc) and tween/teen movies like "A Cinderella Story" and any other teen-Disney deal. It took us awhile to figure out exactly how these things were affecting her - and it was pretty shocking. I knew she was socially immature, but it's pretty significant. Of course, it's more obvious the older she gets. You need to do what's best for each kid ultimately, that's where OUR responsibility lies.

marythemom said...

Lisa - I don't know about giving you the title, but I might be willing to share it. An hour earlier than mine (8pm) is kind of mean, and enforcing lights out for all is good, but I don't even let my kids listen to inappropriate music like Kitty's favorite song, Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood. (Kitty has it memorized and is only recently getting to the point that vengeance is not a primary focus for her).

I keep telling my kids there are meaner moms than both of us who don't even let their kids watch TV, or eat anything besides healthy foods, and who homeschool so hanging out with peers is not an option. That's what I love about the blogosphere, I can find all those crazy moms who think like me instead of having to assume all parents are like what you see on the Disney channel or Jerry Springer (is he even still on? I only get to watch non-kid appropriate tv after 9pm.)