Parenting: The things we hide from our kids

I remember being a kid like it was yesterday. My purpose in life back then was to wake up and have as much fun as possible until I had to go to sleep and get ready for the next adventure. Never did I look forward to being an adult with responsibilities.

My childhood was a struggle. Family issues, arguments, drugs and violence but as a kid you have the magic power to block all that out if you choose to. Well, I chose to and I often enjoyed myself up until I became a parent.

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Then everything changed.

As a child, I was no Professor X. I couldn’t read minds or faces so that left me blind to what my parents were dealing with on the inside. Yes, I heard the arguments but I just continued to play, it was none of my business. And If I was caught listening I was hit with the “This is grown folks business”. Yup, that was my key to get the hell away.

As I rode home the other day from work, there was a woman and her two kids sitting across from me on the train. The young kids were doing what normal kids do, playing and having fun. But, the mother, that’s a different story.

She sat there with her head in her lap, at first I thought maybe she was tired or trying to ignore the fact her kids were being kids. But, when her daughter tapped her on the back that’s when I saw that all too familiar look of stress and grief. It’s a look that certain people will notice, I been there and her face said plenty but the tears were a constant giveaway as well.

What was she going through that drove her to that?

Whatever it was it made me think back to my childhood and the packing of clothes and late night moving my mother and I did. Damn, was this lady going through something similar? If so, how could I help or did she have someone willing to do the same? The kids were in another world filled with laughter and games but the mom was in pain.

The kids had no clue what their mother was battling and the truth is they may never know. That’s our job as a parent. We must shield our kids from anything that may cause them pain or force them to be grown before it’s their time.

I was in a relationship with a woman that told her kid everything. “She’s my best friend, we share it all”. That may be true but when your child starts acting like an adult, and it becomes too much for you to handle, don’t blame the child, blame yourself. You wanted to treat her as an adult, now she thinks she’s one.

Know you place and don’t be afraid to put them in theirs.

We try to shield our kids away from things like bills and relationships because they are not ready for such responsibilities. It’s our job to make sure they are comfortable. To make sure they can get up in the morning and focus on fun. It’s not their job to balance a checkbook, do the laundry or call the landlord because the rent is late. We have to do that for them.

I don’t fault that lady for having a moment of weakness on the train, she’s human. But after she lifted her head and wiped her eyes, she joined in the laughter with her kids. She knew what many others have yet to realize.

Her problems are her’s and her’s alone. Let the kids be kids. We hide stuff for a reason as parents. Our job is to protect not project.



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