As I have thought about things to write on, I have tried to process how to share my experience as a mother during such a stressful time. I’ve now had my first seizure at 25 years old. The frustrations of being in the house with a toddler for five months, is something I haven’t been able to put into words. Losing my ability to drive during that same period has carried me to the edge. And I’ve also thought to write about all the other things that I know we’re going through at this time.
While I realize this has been one of the most trying years for any parent, I decided that I don’t want to write on any of the topics initially thought about. After re-reading my first written book, there was something that stuck with me. Something about one aspect stayed on my mind for days after reading it again. I processed it differently and realized how it has affected me as an individual. I then thought it’d be a good idea to share with other parents who may consciously or unconsciously impose the same things upon their children and children’s friends. As hard as it may be to believe, I grew up as the kid that parents didn’t want their kids hanging around. I had multiple friends with parents and caregivers who either directly or indirectly gave clues that they didn’t think I was a good influence.
I have honestly felt over time that I did not care about this aspect of my life anymore. However, something about reading through this experience took me back to the way I felt as that girl. Knowing that I have always carried a good heart for those around me, it was painful to be in this space again. I wanted to use this feeling to share with parents how detrimental it is to stray away from judging your children’s friends, ESPECIALLY while they’re still children. On the outside I played a very tough role as a child, but knowing how people’s parents felt about me carried over into my adulthood. Being older, I am able to connect so many of my experiences to the way my friend’s parents viewed me. I am also able to see how it’s effected the way I cope with judgement in general.
I understand that as a parent, your natural instinct is to protect your child from anything that may look like harm. I have found myself looking at other toddlers and being concerned about how their behaviors will affect Aiden, so I get it. I have also been able to step back and realize what I am doing because it is something I actively work towards growing away from. Taken from my own experience I should know that, 9/10 the children that appear to be “bad” at face value are the ones that parents should be least worried about. If you have followed me for any time then you know that I experienced many things that made me look like a “bad kid” at face value. In the same breath I can offer that my friends whose parents worried the most, are the ones that wish I could’ve served as a bigger influence.
I’d like to challenge parents until next time! I’d like to challenge you to being intentional about how you’re viewing other children around yours. Be intentional about not judging them and thinking that they will “ruin” your child. Put that energy instead into how you and your child/family can influence that child because, as cliche as it may be, you truly never know what that child may be experiencing outside of what you see.