I was perusing Facebook this morning, reading many variations of "I'm snowed in with my kids," when I saw a news piece posted by a friend.
This mom was on Dr. Phil, asking for help disciplining her child. It was part of a "Mommy Confessions" segment, so I assume she knows she's gone too far if she's feeling the need to confess.
But still, my blood ran cold. There are several things on my mind.
This woman adopted this little boy from Russia. She chose this child, and now she's choosing to show him anger and pain. It would have been very typical for him to experience pain and abuse in a Russian orphanage. He should not have that sort of life when a family chooses him and vows to protect him.
I have several friends who adopted children from Russia, and it's not easy. The kids have a really hard time trusting, loving and connecting to their families. It's frustrating for everyone. It's a major decision to take on these children with obstacles which must be met with love, love and more love.
The fact that this boy was adopted from a non-English speaking country speaks volumes for his behavior. If you were seven, raised in an orphanage, adopted into a new country and trying to learn English, wouldn't you be frustrated and rebellious? The entire idea of trusting people is foreign to this boy, and then he enters a house where...well, I don't see a feeling of trust when I watch this video segment.
Also, the mom only states consequences to his bad choice rather than repeating what a GOOD choice would be. She might have tried this approach 50 times without success, but that's just part of parenting. Repetition and consistency even when you feel insane.
Now, I admit that I've spanked my kid. To me that's different because it comes after he's been openly defiant...after many warnings, a time-out and a talk about choices. Then comes a calm spank followed by a hug.
Have I felt out-of-control around my kids before? Yes. I don't think any parent questions that feeling. But it's what you do in that moment that matters. Don't react with children in that moment. Walk out the front door and cry for five minutes. Or call your partner and say, "Come home now." Or send your kid to his room until you can work out a calm plan of action. Acting on out-of-control is a bad choice. Hm, I wonder if hot sauce will make an out-of-control mom snap out of it.
What I see in this video is fear by both the mom and the boy. Maybe this is what gets me, because I think everything bad in the world comes back to Fear. Maybe she's fearful of failure or of not being in control. The boy is now fearful of his family but I don't think that will motivate him not to throw pencils at school. Lying? Hells yes. I'd lie, too, if I knew hot sauce and a cold shower were waiting for me.
Watching this video reminds me that closed doors hide a lot of junk. I know about a baby girl whose family beat her to death with rocks (they were convicted), and about a little deaf boy whose parents left him in soiled pants for days as punishment when he wasn't potty trained (my mom gave him clean pants every day, but this was 20 years ago before people got authorities involved in "private" matters). These stories are in the news and they're also hidden from public eyes, all over the world.
My prayer is that this mom doesn't go to jail. I hope she receives counseling. I hope the boy receives a new home, whether it's literally a different home or, even better, his current home with a new heart. I hope in twenty years he looks his kid in the eye, asks for the truth, deals with him calmly and gives many, many hugs. I hope he trusts. And loves. Loves. Loves.