I was just about to stop reading the article because of its sameness as other articles I've read on the topic. But then the last line, before I turned the page, sent me reeling. It read:
"My abuser is my teenage son."
At that point, there was no way I could put the article down. When I finished, I was stunned. A mother is afraid of her child. Uniquely, there was no past abuse in the household, physical, sexual or otherwise that was imposed upon the child, so I began wondering, how could this be? So, I did a little research and discovered that this parent was not an island. I found articles where there are many parents who are afraid of their children and get bullied by them often. I was floored!
In the back of my mind, I couldn't help thinking about all the tantrums that babies and young children throw when they can't have their way. They hit at their parents when they are three, and fall out in the floor at thirteen. Is that sometimes cute behavior a catalyst? I read on.
After reading a handful of these articles, I learned that because of the expectations that the parents have for their children, they do not want them to be ostracized by their peers, so they do everything they can for them in order for them not to stand out. And unfortunately, this behavior does start as young as three and unless it's rectified early, doesn't end at thirteen.
I get it. I see it often at school. If a teenager is the star basketball player of the high school team, by all accounts, the expectation is that he or she will have high grades, the best name brand sneakers money can buy, the latest and greatest fashions, a high dollar cell phone and all the gadgets that go with it. He or she will be able to go on costly field trips, have the best class ring and prom outfit, and throw the best parties.
It's all B.S. to me. But I get it. Society has placed unrealistic expectations on what success should look like. And if a parent cannot help their child live up to those expectations, then it means, they are a failure as well. And what parent wants that reputation?
Well, in these articles, for the reasons I mentioned, the kids put pressure on the parents to help them uphold some superficial expectation or reputation and when they cannot have their way, that almost adult, throws a tantrum to the point where they are cursing their parents out, disrespecting them, lying to them, and sometimes going so far as to hit or shove them.
What's even more devastating, but not surprising, is that these same parents will make excuses for their children's behavior, thereby essentially giving the green light to be bullied by their own child! Some experts believe that it has something to do with the parents' own history and how they were raised. You know, the whole, "Raise my child differently than me," kind of thing. That's all B.S. to me too.
Nevertheless, bullying is a symptom of an out of balanced inner life and no matter what, the problem needs to be addressed early before it gets to the point of parents allowing themselves to be bullied by their children.
Read the commentary above. Let me know what you think!
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Due: Fri., Nov. 30, 2018 11:59 p.m. CST