Storming the gates of HELL , otherwise known as teaching kids boundaries

Gates of HellMorning!

And how are you today?  Over here in LingLand, I suffered beyond mere mortal comprehension yesterday.  Yes indeed, I had to (gasp!) SACRIFICE!!!!!

It was agonizing, it was painful, it was soul-searing and consumed my very being…..but for my family, I’d storm the gates of Hell (as would any other husband or wife).

Well, okay, perhaps….I might have over-exaggerated my undying hair-raising ethics-fusing mind-numbing rather mundane choice of yesterday’s action.  You see, yesterday was supposed to be one of the few extracurricular classes that I attend.  No, it’s not skydiving nor wild-boar wrestling nor ninja-star dodging nor BMXing  – it was adult karate sparring.

I really love this sport.  A tried-and-true coward from a long line of illustrious cowards back in my earlier years, I never possessed the self-confidence required to actually stand up for myself…and became one with bruises and emotional scarring quite often.  Fast-forward several decades, and the idea of fighting people 37 times better than me and learning new skills/techniques while picking myself up off the floor and demanding more….oh, it’s just plain heaven.

Age truly is simply a number – you can always learn new sports if you simply give yourself permission to try. 

Anywhos, right after bringing Honorable Boy I and Honorable Boy II to the dojo, my husband called – it turned out that a school classmate whom he hadn’t seen now for, gosh, bunches of decades, was in our neck of the woods (okay, within a 200 mile radius).  So he asked if I could take over kid-duty last night while he visited his friend.

And that, of course, meant…..no sparring for me.  Wah!

So I missed out on my passion yesterday (cue the violins!).  ‘Twas for a good reason, of course, and quite frankly, any spouse who would say, ahem, no, my personal pleasures are far more important than your emotional needs, would earn the real-life definition of a twit and a boor and someone quite selfish indeed.

BUT!  It did give me the topic for today’s post!  🙂

Which is like so.

Have you ever heard the phrase:

I’d climb the highest mountain,

I’d swim the deepest river,

And then I’d collapse exhausted and muddy

On your brand new carpet

In other words, social critters that we are, quite often we’ll go out of our way for the people whom we love.  Sure, we’ll also go out of our way for friends as well, but I’d like to focus upon love for this particular post.

What does “storming the gates of Hell” mean to you?  Certainly, it can mean putting yourself in dire situations to rescue your loved ones….but it can also involve braving emotional storms as well.

Take your kids.  You probably know their hot buttons…and you also are well-acquainted with their failings to boot!  You know that should they make a mistake and you set out to alert them to this possibility….you run the risk of extreme emotional angst, yelling matches and all-around miserable feelings.   Why even bother?

Well, one reason to even bother is because….they’ve almost certainly failed mind-reading 101. 

When kids goof, they are counting on you (even if they’ll deny this with their last angsting breath) to call them to account for it.  Kids need boundaries and kids blossom wonderfully if you show you can hold fast to the rules!

But if your kids are hard-wired to strike back (ie, emotional “I hate you” etc.), you have to stand fast and weather the oncoming storm with style and grace while they plunge emotional daggers into your psyche.

Now THAT action can be really painful indeed!   I’m very lucky; I’ve raised my children to know that if they decree, “I hate you“, my response is “Wonderful!  My job as your mom ISN’T to be your friend, it’s to raise you to become the very best person possible.  Hate away!  And don’t forget to pick up your socks as you leave the room!”  They know I am capable of completely freezing them out of my life if necessary; I firmly believe the Greater Good (ie, getting my point across while they’re still young and possess the ability to learn) is more important than my short-term emotional family needs.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt like hell when it does happen.  But I never do let that on to the kids.

What about you?  Are you self-confident enough that you can call out your children when they require it…and let their anger and pain flow over and around you until they’ve recovered their balance and can discuss the issues like normal sentient carbon-based life units?

Or do you think, gee, if I tell my kids that cheating on their Math exam and then posting it on Facebook is wrong, it might scar their fragile egos for life!  I had better tolerate the status quo!

Hmmmm?

I firmly believe that short-term pain (aka, storming the gates of Hell) is far preferable to allowing your children to grow up like spoiled selfish idjuts who expect Mommy and Daddy to bail them out of any life dangers greater than breaking a finger-nail on a locker door.  How about you?

And if you have problems with confrontation….there are several ways you can deal with it.  Check out:

Remember, you’re the guiding light for your family.  Make certain you always shine as brightly as you can.

Grow strong,

Barbara Ling

 

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