Making Exceptions with Kids

While reading a great post by Kristin I was totally motivated to write this post.


My inspiration was by her stating,
“You may see a graphic of a mom and some children but where is the mothering? The only time I ever see their children are in pictures and brief statements on their blogs or in the reviews they love to complain about. The blogs I like to read are blogs that have some insight on human compassion.” (Kristin @ Our Ordinary Life, Aug. 4, 2009) Later I also read a post that REALLY struck a chord for this post. Go check her out.
AMAZING woman.
These posts hit me because I know I personally like to bring out my compassion not only as a mom but as a woman. So this post is really wanting to hear feedback because this is a very delicate subject matter.
When DH and I were trying to conceive we finally reached a point where we agreed that we would adopt. Conception at the time was NOT happening for us and so we thought we would open our heart and homes to a child in need. A child that needed a family because one was unavailable due to some other mitigating circumstances. However, we successfully conceived many times over now. Some heartbreaking losses and three magnificent successes! But we me occasionally get the itch for another child. While I personally do not think I could sanely raise another child, I do know I can do it with all my heart and love. So adoption is definitely a possibility for us in our future.
Adoption also brings me to this scenario that has come into our home. Big G has a great little friend, a neighbor friend to be exact and they are roughly the same age. His friend we found from him parents not long ago is that he is adopted. Had no idea. Really none of my business, but interesting. We shared our stories of conception and her inability to carry full term as she would risk her own life and could not become a martyr to a child. In which I agree. I don’t think you can be a successful mom if you are dead before the child enters the world or shortly after their entrance. She chose to adopt which I support with every ounce of my being. She treats her son no different than any other child, she loves him unconditionally, cares for him as if she bore him in her womb, and makes no exceptions to his unspoken status that he is their legally adopted son, she treats him as she would her own flesh and blood.
I beg the question then why do parents make exceptions for children? Why do they treat them differently? Adopted or not? Different living conditions or not? I believe each child should be treated based on his or her needs, but not because of their situation. For example I have two sons and a daughter. My sons and my daughter will have different needs, clearly because of their gender. When the boys start bitching about my daughter getting a bra…..I will supply them with jock straps. Argument closed. But I do not favor or treat my daughter any more special or differently than I do the boys, vice verse, the boys are not treated any differently than my daughter. I love them all just the same. Exactly the same. My relationships with them may be different based on their needs, but that is because I am giving them what THEY need.
So why make exceptions?
My scenario is based on an incident yesterday with Big G’s friend. They were playing as all boys do, rambunctious, disorderly, super hero, arms flailing, screaming, gun slinging boys. At one point all was quiet. I figured, Okay, they are playing Lego’s….I can find peace.
I happened upon a catastrophic mess of out of this world proportions from Big G and his friend. Now I may have exaggerated, but definitely THE LARGEST mess I have EVER cleaned of G’s. The boys had decided to half disassemble the closet, pulling down shelves and rods, emptying shelves, and wedging the closet door so inoperable.
I. About. Had. A. Conniption.
I kept my cool. I voiced my disdain for their behavior, for the mess. Both of them. Both guilty, both at fault. Did I also mention the 100+ Hot Wheels cars strewn all over the floor that the sea of metal prevented you from seeing the carpet? Yeah. So I disciplined the boys. I made them clean the mess. I told them that the mess was unacceptable, they both had to clean. That this type of situation does not go on in this house. Make a mess is one thing, to destroy is another. DH was involved in this situation as well. We were both disciplining to show a united front. When the neighbor friend was receiving his dose he started to wedge himself between the wall and the open door as to hide and stated he was “scared and afraid.” Now my first reaction was to twirl my head and see what exactly was going on.
I listened and realized the boy was playing DH. He was trying to weasel out of the responsibility of taking ownership for his actions. So my Bullshit sensor went off, I smelled it too. But the mom part of me wondered if maybe this was a product of his previous environments in foster homes, in foster care. DH backed off and was almost consoling to the boy, in which he got his way and proceeded to no longer clean but to mill about. All the while I was cursing profane thoughts in my head keeping from screaming whistling like a boiling tea kettle.
His mom came to pick him up shortly after the ordeal as she was returning home and offered to swing by. DH met her at the door and kindly and disarmingly explained the situation. I walked up and laughed about how I was ready to lose my mind. Mom to mom, we were on the level with each other. We are no bullshit types of moms where we are loving and kind, but not afraid to assert ourselves. We also explained the “scared” incident to which she confirmed my beliefs that he does that at home, tells her that too to get out of the situation. Laughingly I agreed that you should be scared of having to pay for consequences of unacceptable actions. She wholeheartedly agreed.
However, I still wondered. DH and I debated the situation again about disarming a child who claimed “fear” in the presence of an assertive discipline. We did not raise our voices, we did not yell, we did not threaten, hit, we voiced our clear disdain and disapproval at their disorderly actions.
What would you do? Would you have reacted the same by disarming and almost consoling or would you continue on saying “No one here will hurt you, we are telling you that this type of behavior and actions are unacceptable in our home.” Because as a parent I wonder where the line may be drawn, do you make exceptions based on a child’s previous life and environment? Or do you make exceptions period? When? How? For whom? Are there mitigating circumstances?
Believe me I am a parent who is still learning. I know nothing about a lot of things and parenting is one I work on everyday. Parenting is an ever evolving job and manual.
So what would you do? What are your exceptions?

4 Replies to “Making Exceptions with Kids”

  1. I have never been yet of course in such a situ but I hope that I would be calm say why this shouldn't happen and insist on it even with the next door neighbour adopted or not! However, if I see that he is shirking and know he passed through an ordeal possibly, I might approach it differently but still insist on it!

  2. Not being a parent yet, you are free to take or leave this advice. If I were in your situation, I probably would have done exactly the same thing, not knowing what his past experience was. I think it was right to share the incident with his mom but I would say going forward that he is responsible for his own actions while under your roof, just as your own children are/will be. Now that you know he is also exhibiting this behavior at home, it is only fair that he knows what the rules in your home are, in case something similar should occur in the future!

  3. i think i would have handled it the same way. it is reassuring to know that the boy acts the same way in his own home and how hi parents deal with it. it makes your job easier next time around. as far as if i make exceptions…i do. if i know something is going on with a kid (crazy home life, etc.), i do give them an easier time than i give my own kids. whether it is right or not, sometimes i just feel like a kid with an effed up home/life needs a little break now and then. none of this is easy, is it?

  4. Growing up if someone had pulled that stunt on my parents they would have replied "scared? I'll show you something to be scared of." and they would have actually yelled and threatened stuff.
    But I would have approached it the same way you did. I would have addressed the fear, with a there is nothing to be afraid of, no one is going to hurt you BUT you ARE going to clean up this mess. You made it, you clean it!

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