The Blame Game

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the parental blame game…you know, the one you play when your child is misbehaving and you phone your significant other and began with, “Guess what YOUR child did today…” as if it is their genetic traits & not yours that are responsible for the offspring’s temporary malfunction…
The tug-o-war on child rearing issues between parents can get heated, but  the blame game can get downright ugly when family, friends, and strangers began to stick their noses into the parenting practices of others.  I once read a quote that stated,
“Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.”
Likewise, I remember having judgemental thoughts about the way people raise their children, until I was elbow deep in parenting children of all ages, stages (and personalities), & the realization sunk in— there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to child rearing. Granted, there is a definite list of no-no’s which would include verbal, psychological, and physical abuse in addition to other forms of neglect and mal-treatment. But on that note- anyone who has read and taken sides in the recent debate over Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother knows that in our diverse world, even cultural beliefs can muddy the waters of the debate over mal-treatment & psychological abuse…
It is easy for a parent of a very small child to assume that they will always have perfect control over what their child consumes (food, media, etc…), who their child associates with, and even what political leanings their child will adopt. However that sweet little bundle of joy will eventually develop into an individual with views and attitudes that are not likely to be in lock-step with their parents.
When I became a mother at 17, I’m sure there were people who were quick to blame my parents for my “mistake.” Granted, my parents are human, therefore, they are not perfect. Were they too lenient on me? At times, yes. Were there other family issues at play that the critics could site as the reason for my presumed faults? Of course, but what family is without their delinquencies? In their defense I’ll say this: My parents always spoke of the value of higher education. They never spoke negatively of one and other in our presence, nor were they demeaning to my sisters and I in any way, shape, or form. They raised us lovingly, and with consistent support , yet still, their daughter was branded with a scarlet letter. And when push came to shove, they did what any “good” parent would do….they stood behind me, they encouraged me, and with their support, my son & I were able to thrive in a loving, nurturing home. Rather than placing blame when children go astray, lets instead focus more on the ways we can support them so they may succeed despite their mis-steps…
My Family; from left to right- Dad, me, my mom, & sisters

2 thoughts on “The Blame Game

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