I never realized how much my own self-esteem got in the way of advocating for my children, until I was recently reflecting on the ways I stand up for my kids.
As a young mom, I struggled to advocate for my kids. If someone did something to them – or to me for that matter – I would shrink back. I was a people-pleaser. I didn’t want to do anything that might rock the boat. Unfortunately for my kids and for myself this included speaking up when it was necessary. In order for me to be the best advocate for my children, however, I have had to learn to get over me.
Truth is it was fear that kept me from advocating for my kids.
As I have grown in my own journey as a mom, however, I have been able to overcome these fears. My concern was always another’s anger. Being a people pleaser, I didn’t want another person to be angry at me. I’ve learned, however, along the way that another’s reaction has nothing to do with me. For it is actually a marker of fear, shame, or hurt in the one spewing the anger. Knowing this, has allowed me to confront situations and approach individuals with much more ease, where I once was completely unable.
I have found that my fear of advocating for my kids was unfounded.
For the most part, when I do have to confront an issue I’m met with very understanding individuals who want to play a role in working with me as opposed to against me. I used to go in to these conversations with my fists up. After all, I was angry (hurt and fearful) about what was being done to my child. However, anymore most receive the real me. Whether I am working with teachers, other children’s parents, etc., I have found that I am better received and heard when I simply share my fears, sadness and concerns around my children. This usually means my tears end up on display which isn’t easy, I admit. But the truth is I know they are actually my heart on display. And while this is a risk for me, it is a risk worth taking for my kids.
Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You and Advocate for your kids.
In the end, what I have learned is this: we are all parents working toward the same end goal. We all desire the best for our kids. Though it can be scary to bring issues to the surface and not keep them hidden it is better for our children in the long run. Whether I am bringing awareness to another individual about something that has occurred, or another person is bringing to light something that has happened to their kids, I have a responsibility.
I am to not only advocate for my kids. I am teach my children the difference between right and wrong.
While I want others to hear me when I go to them, I also have to be willing to talk to my kids and teach them to own up to their actions and behaviors when I am approached. After all, I’m not raising perfect angels! While I am doing my best to raise good kids, my kids make decisions that aren’t always in the best interest of others. I don’t have to take this personally. This is a product of the sinful world with which we live. We are taught the difference between right and wrong, but in the end, we humans are given a choice. I am living in a land of lies if I believe that my kids will always choose that which is right, and I am putting them on a pedal stool for which they will one day fall.
As a mom, and one who has taken responsibility for another’s wrongful actions, I have learned just how harmful it is to a human soul when others don’t take responsibility for their own actions, fears and shame. I have lived a life carrying the burdens of others and, as a result, I have suffered much. Because of this, I know it is my responsibility to teach my kids to own up to their own stuff no matter the consequences. I work hard to teach them to not be scared to tell the truth – for I know it can be scary to take ownership. But, I know, too, it is harder for everyone when ownership isn’t taken.
In the end I have to stop worrying about me and start worrying about them!
To worry about what other’s think of me is to steal life from them. Our kids don’t always have a voice. We have to be that voice for them. Sometimes our voice will have to stick up for them. And sometimes our voice will have to be used to teach them the difference between right and wrong. In the end, we don’t have control over the outcome. But, we do have a responsibility to give them a chance at life.
What about you? Do you fear advocating for your kids? Do the opinions of others get in the way of you speaking up for them or to them? As a mom, writing to moms, let me encourage you today. Be bold! Stand up for your kids and stand up for those down the road who will one day encounter our kids as adults.
Till next time,
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