But That Was Yesterday

Everyone makes mistakes

When referring to children in terms of messes, the messes they make are most often found to be completely ignored. Atleast they do not appear to be affected by their messes too much.

Instead of responding to their mess, they adjust. They will find a way to work around it. They release their mistake almost instantly. It is almost as though they accept the fact they may make some messes, long before they ever do.  Pure geniuses. 

Perhaps we all need maintain an innocent and child like mindset in regards to messes. Maybe then, the messes we make or expose ourselves to wouldn’t have such an impact on our overall well being. Maybe then, we could let go of things as soon as they happen. And maybe then, we could accept the fact that we will makes some messes in life no matter how young or old we are.

Now I am no rocket scientist here, but maybe (just maybe)… it’s best for us to simply say;

“Oh yeah, that was my mess alright! That was alllll mine. But today is a brand new day. And I will choose today… to not let it mess with me!”

© Angela Bininger and The Empowerer, 2009-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this websites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Angela Bininger and The Empowerer with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Alcoholism: Perspective From An 11 Year Old Child

WARNING: This post may require some tissues.

I had the liberty of spending time with a young lady this weekend who played a music video for me. The video reminded her of her struggles with her father who is an alcoholic. 

Before she shared the video she stated:

“OMG! You have to watch this.This gives me chills. This is so me”

Now granted, I do not encourage watching many videos on this site. But in order to understand her perspective a bit more, I will ask that you watch this three minute music video and absorb the lyrics. 

As I watched and listened to the video, hearing the lyrics “That’s enough now dry your tears, it’s been a long eleven years” (among other fitting lyrics) struck a cord with me. She is in fact eleven years old. (She is still a baby ya’ll!)

She has watched people make excuses for the behavior of her alcoholic father, which are in turn lies. She is ashamed. She spent many times crying because he is drunk. She is full of frustration.

There have been so many instances of false hope for her watching him battle his disease. She watched her family divide. And then divide some more. And for some reason she blames herself!  This is not her fault! It is disheartening and it feels like someone kicked me in the gut just listening to her use her voice on the subject matter. Whew, that poor baby.

As we wrapped up our conversation of her sharing her thoughts and feelings on being the child of an alcoholic, I asked her if she would write something about it. I wanted her to share with others who struggle with the disease itself. 

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She writes this:

All of those glass bottles I witnessed being absorbed by a broken mans body taught me some lessons. I don’t think alcohol is ever the answer. If you’re broken you can’t expect other people to fix your selfish, big ego, lying butt. I grew up around lies so now it’s time for me to tell the truth.

We were young. We heard so many lies and saw many things that hurt our eyes.

My whole life so far has been like a bomb. Tick, tick, tick, tick. The representation of all the pain filling me up inside. Lies and alcohol. Pain. Then I finally found my voice. I found me. And that is when I created the explosion.

Its my fault for making the explosion. But that monster created that bomb and expected me not to light it. These next few years will be me cleaning all this up. Im glad my mom divorced him because I wont be another basic, shallow, insecure girl. That is most of this generation.

Do me a favor and find your voice. Be loud. It isn’t always bad to make an explosion.

Sincerely,

The child of an alcoholic

just walking awayIt is hard to believe that an eleven year old wrote this. She is wise beyond her years. She is strong and she is brave. And clearly at some points she is blaming herself. And we all know it is not her fault. But still she carries that cross. She is burdened.

Although we may contribute to an alcoholic’s disease in some ways we are not to blame for the illness itself. It is a mental disorder which often accompanies other mental disorders such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders etc. It is something that existed within the individual long before the alcoholism itself surfaced and became visible.

Alcoholism – A cancer of the heart and soul. A disease that cripples families every day. A disease that the eleven year old girl in the above passage will probably spend her entire lifetime trying to understand.

To The Mom Not Letting Him See His Child(ren)

Fit parent and parental alienation

I see it all too often, the bitter vindictive ex-wife who uses her children as a pawn. She wishes to wipe away memories of dad with her replacement husband, in hopes nobody uncovers her superficial and quite fictitious life. She alienates. She monitors everything. And boy oh boy is she clueless.

Dear Spiteful Mother,

First and foremost, you are unfit to be a parent. Anyone who would try to dictate their child’s love for a parent and prohibit visitation etc., should have the child(ren) removed from that situation immediately. Including yourself. You simply have no understanding as to what is in your child’s best interest.

I am sorry that nobody has ever made you feel loved quite enough, and that you feel a need to cling to your child as if you are the one living his/her life. His/her relationships with your ex, is not YOUR relationship with your ex. So…. get over yourself. Move on.

Your child in time will likely resent all you are doing now. And if you were not completely stuck on stupid you would understand that the more you are told you cant have or do something, the more you will want to in time. And in time, that child or those children will begin to piece things together and form their own opinions. More often than not, they flee to the parent they were forbidden to see.

I would suggest you pull your head out of your rear, and start to love yourself. Only then will you have the ability to pull off that mask you wear so well, and truly love your child(ren). Children love both of their parents. Obviously. Because despite your actions your child(ren) still love you. 

Although you may think you are winning small battles here and there, you are setting yourself up to lose the war. Because in the end, the child always resents the parent who manipulates them just as you are doing now. You are doing irreversible damage to your child(ren).

So I think it is time that you pick on someone your own size. The world has enough to deal with, and the last thing it needs….. is one more person in society that you so selfishly and willingly screwed up. 

Sincerely Yours,

A Mom Who Cares

 

Remembering Beautiful

cruise pictures 042When my children were younger and I would drive them to school we would listen to a series of songs in effort to begin our day with something positive and uplifting. (There were a few songs in this mix but these in particular were our favorites.)

The favorite songs were: I Hope by the Dixie Chicks, There’s Hope by India Irie, and of course Beautiful by Christina Aguilera.

Just hearing the songs takes me back to those car rides. The rush of getting three little people to three separate spots so I could get to work. The sports schedules, school functions, birthday parties, sleepovers etc., alone as a single mom. Those days were a different kind of busy.

Those car rides to school were actually car rides to uncertainty. We had no idea what the future held. All that we knew was that we had one another and that was always enough to carry us through. We were happy in the midst of chaos.

I reminded them daily how beautiful they are. Every school drop off ended with the words “I hope your day is as beautiful as you”. Because they are in fact beautiful people. It was just a simple reminder for them in a world that can be so harsh and cruel.

Although overall life has been very good to us, there are still those times that we all need reminded as we face life’s trials. There are those times that we all feel discouraged. There are those times where all hope seems lost. Yet somehow, we keep holding on.

It is in those moments of disparity that we are faced with a decision to let it get the best of us….. or stay positive

“We are beautiful. No matter what they say. Words can’t bring us down. So don’t you bring us down today.” Christina Aguilera

What Happens When We Help Our Kids Too Much?

As parents we all want to see our children become successful adults. And sometimes it is hard not to give them exactly what they want and when they want it. (Especially if it was something we wanted as a kid too.) But it is important that we force them to wait on some things, work for some things, and develop a respect and appreciation for life itself.

“We can not give them everything they want or we are creating huge barriers for them in their adult life” 

There are ten obvious personality traits I have observed in adults who grew up with parents who helped just a little too much. See if any of these apply to anyone you know and reflect on their childhood and upbringing. I assure you that there is a link. 

Entitlement – Pampered children feel entitled to everything they have. They make some of the greatest bigots with their “my way or the highway” attitude. What is yours is theirs and what is theirs, is theirs. You will often hear phrases such as: “I deserve this because____”, “It’s mine”, It’s my (house), and so on. They have a horrible time sharing as both children and adults. They often appear to have a holier than thou attitude.

Emotionally Immature – Pampering your children stunts their emotional growth and makes them needy.  They find it very difficult to be alone. They have major communication barriers and throw their own type of temper tantrum but in an adult format. They have a hard time controlling their emotions and are known for such outbursts. Again, these outbursts were visible long before adulthood.

These personalities have anger, rage, and resentment for anyone or anything who/that prevent them from getting their way. They are known to hit things, throw things, and punch walls, etc. They preach for truth from others and believe in giving others constructive criticism but they absolutely despise those who return the favor. Anything you say negative about/to them is an assault on their character. They feel attacked. And boy do they become defensive!

Codependent – Pampered children never learn to do things fully on their own as an adult. So whether it be their parents or someone else they will spend most of their life depending on others for something. They will stay in toxic relationships in fear of being alone. And they will call their parents for every aspect of their adult life. They have a horrible time making adult decisions on their own, and every bend in the road is a meltdown. They crack easily under pressure.

Socially Awkward – It is as though they do not fit in any particular social circles. The people they do associate with typically only accept them because they are like minded, or because they use to know them when they were kids. They have very few close friends. They make strange statements at inappropriate times and often have no filter. They come across as extremely ungrateful.

Lack of Empathy –  Pampered children try very little to understand people or where they have been in life. They do not feel they have to or need to. They believe you get what you give and had you been a better person, then perhaps it would not have happened to you. At times they appear just plain old heartless. They can not even attempt to understand because they are busy thinking about what you are saying, and how it will affect them. They hear what they want.

Little or No Self Control – Pampered children have a hard time controlling their emotions and their actions as both children and adults. This is terrible news friends! They often become drug and alcohol addicted, they drive recklessly, and they have an attitude of being invincible. Nothing can destroy them… until it does. Again. And again. And again. But they keep doing it anyway because they just can’t control it. And all their parents have ever done is make excuses for their behavior. So they continue on their path of self destruction. The end results, are horrifying.

Verbally Abusive –  Because the pampered child feels bad about themselves deep down inside they will routinely attack others verbally. They feel best about themselves when those around them are at their lowest. It gives them a sense of power and control. To them they are superior. Their words pierce like knives and due to their lack of empathy they have for others they remain unmoved by any pain they have caused you. Things elevate quickly sometimes leading to physical abuse. (It only takes one witty response.)

Relationship Issues – It is hard for pampered children to have successful marriages and long term relationships. There are communication issues, addiction issues, financial issues, and so much more. Nine times out of ten they will need a very submissive partner for the dictatorship they desire. For they are king/queen of the castle.

Lazy Parents – Many who grew up pampered become lazy parents themselves. They depend on their spouse to do the bulk of the housework and child rearing. They rely on their spouse, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. to get anything involving the kids done for them. And although their laziness rears quite independent children, it has its repercussions too. They appear to have poor relationships and rapport with their children.

Zero Balance – Pampered children never fully grow up and and it seems that they are unable to maintain their balance. One area of their life is consistently lacking and when that area pulls together, the next area falls apart. But they do not worry a bit about not being a balanced person. Why? Because they know that no matter how old they are, mommy and daddy will always come rescue them. “It isn’t their fault”. “Bad things just happen to good people!”…….and so the cycle continues.

So there you have it folks! Those are ten personality traits of an adult who had their parents help them just a little too much as a child. Yes, a child whose loyalty was bought with money in a home where free thinking was condemned. A child who never learned how to truly love who they are. A child who got bigger, taller, and older but still today….. they still just can’t seem to grow up

Are You Teaching Your Kid To Lie?

I have always said:

“If we ever want to know the truth about something we must simply ask a young child.”

 

Children naturally tell the truth until taught to do otherwise. They say exactly what is on their mind and exactly what they feel. From temper tantrums to screaming their feelings or simply talking, children have a way of not holding back on their thoughts and feelings.

A young child will tell us if we got a bad hair cut, or if our shoes aren’t working with our attire. They will tell us if we have gained or lost weight, as well as how mom and dad really are. Unless children are being trained to be emotionally dishonest they will most generally tell the truth.

With children being as honest as they are it leaves one to wonder how lying begins.

What creates a liar? And how do we as a society create less liars and instead create more acceptance for others and their emotions?

As people we are taught at a young age to be emotionally dishonest with ourselves. We are told to say please and thank you whether we mean it or not. We are forced to say that we are feeling fine when that may not actually be the case. We are taught not to voice our opinions and at other times told to speak up. All of these things we are taught; when once upon a time we had the ability to be emotionally honest with ourselves and the world around us.

Because we train children and each other to be emotionally dishonest we have more or less created a world of liars. We wonder why people hide from their emotions, and why they lie to themselves. We wonder why people are not honest with people in their lives. When in reality, everyone is just doing what they were taught and told to do.

When we expect someone to think like us, feel like us, and react like we would we are merely creating a person who is afraid to be who they are. This causes a person to build walls and become distant. This puts a gap in the relationship, and is the beginning of not knowing that person anymore. That person begins to find friends and people in the world that accepts him/her as he/she is. They surround themselves with people who make them feel at ease. Somewhere that they do not need to wear a mask. A place where they can simply be themselves.

I will hear parents ask or say: “Who is this child?”, “What happened to him/her?”  “I didn’t raise him/her that way!” and a series of other questions or statements  when they realize their child has become a manipulative lying teenager. People making these statements are often unaware of their contribution in making that child be emotionally dishonest with himself/herself. Once emotional honesty vs. emotional dishonesty is approached by that parent, it will be easier for that parent to not only cope, but also correct the behavior in the child before it carries over into that child’s adulthood.

Once we grasp the concept of emotional honesty and the benefits of it, it becomes easier to see situations more clearly. 

© Angela Bininger and The Empowerer, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this websites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Are You Leaving a Legacy, Or a Liability?

As parents we all want what is best for our children. However, what some parents fail to realize in terms of co-dependent children is that they are no longer leaving a legacy, but yet, a liability.

By leaving a legacy one must raise self-sufficient children. They should be children capable of making their own wise and practical decisions upon adulthood. They should be children who feel compelled to do more with their life than the previous generation. And most importantly, they should be emotionally healthy children who feel they can be who they are, not who we imagined or wanted them to be.

Examples:

Just because we have run the family business, doesn’t mean we should expect our children to take over someday. They will likely have plans of their own.

Just because we played a particular sport and excelled, doesn’t mean we should force our children to play it if they have no interest.

Just because they dream the impossible, doesn’t mean we should squash their dreams.

Our job is to encourage their successes, and help guide them when they encounter failure. It is to teach them how to handle their own relationships vs., being a dictator for their relationships. Our job is tough, but to raise healthy children with the ability to maintain healthy adult relationships, we must push them to do well. We must teach them to put forth effort. We must help them learn to look at the big picture.

Signs of leaving a liability:

The adult child comes to you for every one of life’s hurdles.

The adult child now expects the parent to take care of financial responsibilities.

The adult child now expects parents to bail them out.

The adult child now has no insight.

The adult child now has dependency issues aside from their relationship with their parents. Most likely chemical dependencies.

The adult child is now angry.

The adult child, will then likely leave another liability for their children. And the trend continues. However, there are ways to avoid leaving a liability. And there are proven ways to leave a legacy. Proven ways to leave a legacy are as follows:

Encourage and comfort your children.

Listen to their feelings and respect that they have their own minds, and opinions.

Do not try to control who they are, better yet guide them to where they should be.

Allow them to suffer consequences of their actions. They need tough love. They have their own friends to be best friends with.

And most importantly, practice what you preach. Be a good role model.

I once heard a saying from a parent that said : Well I guess if I was your best friend, and you loved me all the time; then I wouldn’t be a very good parent. And I agree with that statement. There will be times our children do not agree with our decisions in parenting. There will be times they do not understand our reasoning and we find ourselves saying what we once heard: Someday you will understand….when you have kids of your own.

These days I see more parents trying to be best buddies with their kids. They are there to rescue them from situations the kids/adult children put themselves into. Rather than showing tough love so lessons can be learned, they throw them preserver after preserver.

Tough love is absolutely the hardest step for people to take in any forms of relationships. But without it, we leave a liability. We should be leaving a legacy instead. We should be allowing our children to live their own life, and a life that they are proud of. An honest life, and a life with an abundance of good people with direction.

Are you leaving a legacy or a liability? Are you teaching bad habits? Or are you setting a good example instead? The quote that children learn what they live, has much insight. What are your children learning from you?

© Angela Bininger and The Empowerer, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this websites author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Angela Bininger and The Empowerer with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.