Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Run away as fast as you can from the abuse cycle!

I've written quite a bit about kids that run away. I'm more convinced than ever that kids NEVER run away without a reason. One time I was surprised by a kid that ran away and even more surprised that the kid stayed in a youth shelter, refused to come home and told the counselor that her mother abused her. I was shocked and soothed her mother.

Her mother was deeply hurt by all of it and blamed it all on her daughter. Her daughter wasn't mature enough, didn't make good decisions, was wildly impulsive, was overly dramatic, etc. I believed her that this was true.

There was a vivid moment where we were standing on the front porch of a mutual friend, the day the daughter ran away. The mom was telling us about the conversation that she'd had with the counselor and the reason that they wouldn't let her come and get her daughter. Since the daughter had accused her mom of abusing her, they had to investigate. I remember saying something about how silly that was and surely it wasn't true. The mother had admitted to slapping her daughter in the face once when she was really really upset and had immediately regretted it and apologized. The mom told us that her husband accused her of abusing the kids all the time and that the daughter was simply repeating what she'd heard. She was lamenting how unfair it was to be accused of abuse and how terrible it was for her husband to say such things. Her husband walked up around this time and over heard part of the conversation. All of us standing there on the porch told him that he shouldn't accuse his wife of abuse when she's not abusive.

We took away that man's voice. He knew. He is the victim of abuse and his wife is abusive. In the process, we took away the kids' voices and we took away the voice of the girl who ran from abuse.

That brings me back to this: Kids NEVER run away from home without a reason. It might seem like trivial reasons, or it might even seem as if there isn't a reason, but there is always a reason! If you are a parent whose child has run away, trust me, even if you can't think of a reason, there IS one. Sometimes it's control and sometimes it's abuse. Sometimes a parent makes a child's life so miserable they simply can't think of a reason to stay where that parent is.

I wish that I never have to deal with, see, hear, or experience another run away situation ever again.

Here's a really great book to read if you want to prevent any of your kids from ever considering running away. Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach

It's cheap too, at the time of this blog there are books as little as $.13 plus $3.99 for shipping. A cup of coffee and a muffin are more expensive than that!

That book is about how control destroys a relationship. If a parent is abusive, the book can still help, but seriously the best advice for you if you are abusive is to GET SOME HELP! Stop abusing your kids, stop yelling at them, stop hitting them, give them a voice that isn't yours. Abusers have a way of taking away the voice of other people, which is, in part about control.

There is simply no excuse for any of it. It's so much better to find happy ways to live, peaceful ways to live. Hurting others only hurts ourselves. When you hurt your kids, you hurt yourself, you validate the childhood that was likely your own. Find another way. Be kind to your kids, get over your issues. Don't hold onto them. All those things that parents do to their kids are things that were likely done to them as kids. That's why it's called a cycle of abuse. Some parents try to do better, some parents really do better, some parents aren't even aware of what they do.

If you are a parent who experienced a not so great childhood, BE AWARE. Don't pass on that to your own children. It's simple really, if it feels yucky, if what you do causes pain for you or your child, it probably isn't a good thing to do and you should stop doing it. If you get stuck, get advice to do better, accept that you've done something wrong, apologize for it and don't do it again. That's a big part of the equation, don't do it again!

2 comments:

Linda H said...

Jenny, thank you for this. It's hard for people in our culture to think of yelling at and controlling kids as abuse, but of course it is. Going to check out that book as a possible resource -- most of the ("progressive"!) parents I know think teens are trouble, and of course they and the teens both suffer for it, and it's so clear to me that it starts with the parents' disrespectful treatment of the teens. Hard to say that, easy to recommend a book.

Jenny Cyphers said...

Right Linda! If a man did that to a woman, it would be abuse, yet people do it to kids all the time, as if somehow they aren't real people with real feelings and real ideas.

That book is good. It is mainly about teenagers, but all those ideas can be used when a kid is younger. Even better to do so and have a working relationship by the time they ARE teenagers!

It's ALL about control, and really, the only person anyone can control is them self! It seems like such a "duh" moment, but people try to control others anyway.