Recently the media has been full of stories about teenagers and violence, in particular teenagers carrying knives. A young boy in Brisbane died after a stab wound to the chest. This happened at a well regarded private school. Both boys came from good families and immediate reports included that both boys were good students and great kids…. well something isn’t right!
13 year old boys don’t take knives to school, 13 year old boys don’t stab their friends, so what on earth happened? It will be many months I am sure before the pieces are all put together and we hear the real story. Right now two families are going though the worst type of grief, sorrow, soul searching imaginable.
What happened in Brisbane should ring alarm bells for all parents. Something is spiralling out of control and right now that ‘something’ appears to be our children.
Whilst social commentators, media, educators, government officials and anybody else can come up with all sorts of reasons why the world of our young people is becoming more violent, the fact is this… mothers need to stand up and say – Guess what, enough is enough this is not happening on my watch! I love you, I care for you, I want you to be happy, but most of all, I need to raise you to be a decent, intelligent, compassionate human being and it’s going to start right here with me! I am going to create the boundaries and I am going to help you hold the dream for your life.
Our children don’t need 40 year old best friends. They need wise mothers. They need strong boundaries, they need freedom to discover who they are, but within the safety of knowledge that within those boundaries is their mother who sometimes will take the burden of some decisions away from their not yet fully developed brain.
So how do you do that? Well it starts from within.
Our children need mothers who are strong, self actualised and not carrying their own baggage from their own childhood. Successful children are not magically born. They grow up in families who take education seriously, behaviour seriously and attitude seriously.
In order to set boundaries and create the expectation that they be adhered to, mothers need to be strong, wise and extremely thick skinned. And in order to do that we need to stop being busy and tired and pulled in 100 different directions.
Now is the time to stop being busy and start being effective parents. You simply cannot do it all. Your children need you to spend time with them, on their terms, not yours. But in order to do that we need, as mothers, to take stock of what is happening in our own lives and ask how we can be effective parents… and wise mothers.
Our son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 1997 and in the years following that time, I struggled with all sorts of issues that lead to our world feeling as if it was coming apart. See www.davidsgift.com.au. It was after a series of three events in our family that I finally came to the conclusion there were four things I needed to do in my life to ensure I could cope with the challenges that life had given and help me to be a ‘wise mother’.
Here is the recipe for ‘Wiseness’!
- Physical Fitness
You need to be exercising at least 3 or 4 times a week (your family can survive with you being unreachable for 4 hours in a 168 hour week) because you need energy and exercise gives you that and it helps you to think clearly. Exercise is absolutely non-negotiable. You don’t have time? Well you need to make time. This is important. Your health (both physical and mental) is important. And besides, many a time a good fast brisk walk has saved one of my children from tirade!
- Emotional Fitness
You need to spend time understanding your emotions. We all get angry and frustrated when we are overwhelmed… When you get angry, sad or frustrated get to the bottom line. Why? For me, I would lose it when I was overwhelmed by work, money worries and tiredness. Be honest. Often we take out our emotions on those closest to us because it is safe. If your job is frustrating you – tell somebody. If you are feeling isolated or sad, speak to somebody. If money is an issue, look at creating a simpler life. Create a network of good positive upbeat people around you and talk things through.
- Spiritual Fitness
You need quiet time and you need to create a space for that to happen. Meditation, prayer, journaling, just sitting and looking at the grass is important. That quiet time gives you space to allow all the thoughts to line up and make sense in your brain! Spend the time changing your vocabulary. Practise making each statement you use empowering. See yourself as ‘wise’, see yourself as calm and in control. Use words that attract to you what you do want, not what you don’t want.
- Intuitive Fitness
Ok hear this. Children tell lies. Well, perhaps not out and out lies, but they won’t always tell you the truth! So, in order to be ‘wise’ and raise kids of character, you need to listen to the words that your children are not saying. How do you do that? By doing point 1, 2 and 3 first and then trusting. If your child tells you something and it doesn’t feel quite right, then probably it isn’t. That’s how they are wired. They don’t want you to know everything about them, they reserve that right to people they think are intelligent and smart – you know, other 16 year olds.
What happened in Brisbane is just so sad it really can’t be explained rationally. But let’s use this to draw the line in the sand. We need to claim back the night for our children and the first place to start is us. The world needs more Wise Mothers.