The cruel callous remarks made by our offspring can sometimes wound us deeply, to the very core of our soul. The hurtful words of our children can scar us like no other. They are capable of hurting us with the deepest kind of hurt. When the words "I hate you" spurt forth from the mouth of a five year old in the throes of a temper tantrum we tend to overlook them. When words such as those are hurled at us from the lips of our teenage or adult offspring they cut sharper than any blade forged from steel. The wound can fester leaving us open and vulnerable to future hurt. We forgive them. They're our children, we love them so how can we not forgive them? Yet the pain of such damaging words still lingers. In the back of a parent's mind, it is only natural that doubt should remain. Did he really mean what he said or was it just anger talking? Does my child really hate me? Have I failed as a parent?
We're only human so we're bound to question ourselves. We automatically assume that our offspring are acting out due to our own inadequacies as a parent. We are left feeling a jumble of mixed emotions. We feel angry with our children for the tone they've taken with us; we feel angry with ourselves for not raising them better but most of all we feel hurt. We wonder what we've done to deserve such treatment. Times have changed. Children are more outspoken and candid with their parents but a change of times should not warrant disrespect. As a teenager I would have never treated my mother with the type of disrespect that is so common these days. Certainly we had our moments like every parent and child but I would not have deliberately spoken out against her with malice or contempt.
Many parents tend to blame themselves to the point that they will utterly deny any disrespect directed toward them from their own children. This is done more to protect themselves rather than their offspring. To admit disrespect on the part of their children would be to admit failure on their part. Parents shouldn't always blame themselves for the shortcomings of their daughters and sons. We do the best we can and each child is different as is each parent. It used to be that parents expected too much of their children. Although that still occurs, it seems the roles have reversed to some extent. Now, children expect too much of their parents. This is due in part to the commercialism and competitiveness of the world we live in. Society is one huge commercial venture.
Oftentimes parents are expected to have better jobs, nicer cars and bigger houses. If they can't provide their offspring with fat allowances and the newest name brand clothes they may be labeled a bad parent. Many teenagers have an issue with respect. They fully expect others to treat them with respect but they certainly don't know how to treat others, including their own parents, the same way. Teaching kids good old fashioned values may work for some but definitely not all. Sadly, it appears the temptations of today's world seem to be winning out. Perhaps, divine justice will prevail when our children reap what they sow through their own children.
Darlene Zagata is a freelance writer and columnist for the print publication Moon Shadows Magazine. She is also the author of "Aftertaste: A Collection of Poems" and "The Choosing." Her work has been published extensively both online and in print. For more information visit her website at http://darlenezagata.tripod.com or contact Darlene at [email protected]