How Do We Teach…?

How do we teach the kids to love openly, when they have been shown firsthand that “love” is something to be viciously manipulated and twisted for personal gain?

How do we teach the kids integrity and honesty when they witness endless lying as a way of daily life?

How do we teach the kids independence and autonomy when they watch someone each day who willingly abdicated all adult responsibilities years ago so that someone else pays her bills? How do we teach them that that is not being a grown-up, when it has become their norm?

How do we teach the kids that they have their own minds and can make their own choices, when they are told what to think, from religion to sports teams?

How do we teach the kids to enjoy the freedom of childhood when they must be vigilant for the next interrogation, attack, manipulation?

How do we teach the girls especially that they can be strong, when they are given weak role models who hide behind men, who don’t speak for themselves, and can’t accept that a girl is capable of more than rah-rahing from the sidelines in a mini-skirt for the boys? How do we offset females in their lives who chose to sacrifice any mind they possibly possessed so that someone else takes care of everything for them?

How do we teach the kids that a relationship is about mutual respect and caring, when all they have seen is one person endlessly stomping all over someone she used to claim to love, lying out of one side of her mouth and blaming someone else for her many shortcomings through the other?

How do we teach the kids spirituality and how to treat others, when religion has been presented to them as a hollow prop to justify shameful behavior? How do we offset the attitude that treating others like shit and lying every day is okay as long as you bow your head semi-convincingly in church, use the phrase “have a blessed day” ad nauseum, and wear the hypocrite’s mask of godliness to hide your true ugliness?

How do we teach the kids boundaries when they frequently witness someone so rabidly obsessed that she searches me online with the children present, takes pictures of our home with the children watching, and commits other wildly inappropriate behavior?

I could go on…and on. My biggest fear for the kids is that they will be unable to rise above the poor examples they have been given, through no fault of their own.

They deserve better.

*Image courtesy of*

About TheSmirkingCat

I am endlessly trying to make sense of a world that has completely and unapologetically lost its mind.
This entry was posted in bad role models, kids, poor examples, rise above, teach. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to How Do We Teach…?

  1. furiousBall says:

    there will be plenty of examples of bad love they will see.

    all we can do is give them examples that love does exist.

  2. Smirking Cat says:

    Hey, furiousBall! I haven't seen you in a while. Glad to hear from you.

    When a handful of good examples are pissed on by daily, non-stop bad examples, I worry it is not enough.

  3. It is frustrating, especially when the kids effected are the ones you love. We just have to lead by example, and show them love, and responsibility and how NORMAL people act while they are with us. And hopefully that is enough to make them see.

  4. Amy says:

    I agree with ESM. All you can do is give them the best examples. Sounds like the kids really adore Gary and they want to be like him.

    You give them love and attention and good role models.

  5. you know.. this is something i constantly worry about.. i can keep my stepson safe, make sure he's alright.. fed, clothed, loved by us… but then i think about him grown, and how his younger life WILL no doubt affect him very much.. and it breaks my heart..

  6. kimberlina says:

    ditto the evil step-mom. love that profile name, btw!

  7. It is heartbreaking to watch innocent children be manipulated so callously. I have so much empathy for you in this regard.

    Hypocrites using religion to excuse their behavior are the reason why I was agnostic for so long. Even now, I'm back at church but it's hard to let go of that feeling that most church-goers are just posers!

  8. Sharon says:

    All I can say is what everyone else has already said. You can only control your own behavior and be the best example you can be. And hope that integrity and truth will prevail in the end.

  9. We all deserve bettter.

  10. Ghandi said it right when he said you have to be the change you wish to see in the world… no point trying to change others.

  11. Ghandi said it right when he said you have to be the change you wish to see in the world… no point trying to change others.

  12. Syn says:

    You show them by example and hope that they choose, down the road, to do what is right and true over instant gratification and manipulations when they are old enough to make their own choices. Despite the ex winning with her manipulations the last few years, I still hold some hope that my stepdaughter has learned from us to be loving/responsible and that we modeled a healthy adult relationship over the decade we had a good relationship with her before her mother won. She is in a long-term relationship with a boy currently (something her mother couldn't do so maybe sd will be ok). I can only hope she doesn't become a man-hater and selfish down the road, that she chooses our example over her mother's. Her mother has managed to instill a great fear into her of harm so she's not as independent as other seventeen year olds are because her mother has convinced her that if she strays from her mom, something bad will happen. She doesn't babysit because the father of the kids she babysits might molest her. She doesn't work a regular teen job because the place might get robbed or she'll get hurt. That's what her mother told her. Now, yes, you do have to be mindful of bad things happening but to the point that you don't (won't, can't?) separate from your mother? She works part-time at her mom's work. Mommy keeps her close. I'm hoping she'll be able to cut the apron strings when she graduates from school. Only time will tell.

    As for my stepson, I have little hope that he's learned anything from us because his mother made everything for him too easy and let him out of every violent thing he ever did toward our kids and made him feel like we were treating him differently than the other kids as opposed to just giving the boy consequences and rules. Something all the kids had but she made ss feel like he was being singled out when he wasn't. She let a brilliant boy get lazy and not care about school. He chose the easy way out – his mom who gives him everything he wants no matter what, without earning it, without responsibilities.

    While you can show them a good example, in the end, it's up to the adult child to choose to be a good person or not to be, to be productive or not, to be manipulative or not, to be fair or deceitful, etc. Eventually, they'll have to choose whether to overcome the bad parts of their childhood and learn from it or use it as an excuse to behave badly.

  13. They WILL figure it out. Our kid did. And all we had to do was create a safe haven in our home. Hearing all this horrible stuff, but seeing all this positive stuff, eventually it just doesn't add up. It sucks waiting for them to grow up, and it sucks even more wishing for them to grow up, but once they do the lies are so blatantly evident to them.
    But, start saving for counseling, 'cos one they figure it out…eek!

  14. Crys says:

    I struggle with these thoughts also, although on the upperhand we have the kids full-time. My theory is to be the best example as you can be, and as they get older they'll be able to tell the difference. they have a great example of loving with an open heart and a great example of not loving with an open heart. Encourage love with an open heart and be the best example you can be and they'll get it.

  15. Smirking Cat says:

    EWO: counseling, unfortunately, has been destroyed for them, since counselors have been abused to attempt to instill false memories, convince them everything that we do is horrible and damaging to them, etc. I don't think they could be open in counseling anymore after the way it has been twisted to be used against them and their father.

  16. That's really too bad that your kids can't have an objective ear. We're currently battling to get the kid into counseling too. He needs it (lots of stuff swirling around in his life aside from our issues) but his mom is a licensed counselor and says she can provide for anything he needs. Unfortunately, as many of his issues are with her/her family he doesn't feel comfortable expressing this and so doesn't say anything. Then she says, he doesn't need counseling. Ugh.

  17. BJ says:

    As a teacher, I see so many cases of kids with no positive role models. As painful as it is as an educator and as a parent, I have to accept that it rains on the just and the unjust. What we do with our hardships is what makes us who we are. I would not trade the strong person I became to have a stress-free childhood. Yes, my childhood had many painful experiences, but I survived. I found my own role models and supports I could use to pull myself out of the mire. We have to accept that our kids (and my students) are being molded into their future selves. That process is painful, but the results can be beautiful. I hear your struggle and your pain. I applaud your love and concern. Do not underestimate your power as a mom. You say, “They deserve better.” They have better: they have you.

Don't be shy! Tell me how great I am. Or not. Share your feelings with the group.

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