Kids’ hidden pain: Moms knows its there

Moments for Mom
By Elisabeth K. Corcoran
Author of He Is Just That Into You

It was hard on me as a kid when my parents got divorced. It could be for this very reason that I’m so…ummm…mad at myself, maybe…so concerned about my own kids during this time.

One of my children has had a more obvious difficult time lately. Grades, school, youth group, attitude, etc. I think I’ve handled it all pretty well considering, with firmness and consequences and not backing down. But trust me when I say, I wanted to just let said child practically do whatever s/he wanted so as to assuage my humongous mommy guilt. But I didn’t, and for today, we’re on some solid ground and I’m grateful.

Then there’s my other child. If you were to ask my other child what’s going on in his/her life, s/he would say, “Not much.” There is not one outward sign of emotional turmoil. Grades are steady. Homework and chores are getting done. Friendships are flourishing. Life is good.

This, of course, scares the living daylights out of me. Apparently, give me an outward rebellious child any day. It’s the quiet ones that freak me out. Because I just know that there has got to be something lurking. There is no way any child could get through what we’ve been going through and not be affected in some way, shape or form. But this child of mine — skating on through.

I realize of course that I am overlaying my experiences onto this child and I’m assuming s/he is a mess deep down, or at the very least, is a ticking time bomb and I should just hold my breath until I start smelling pot or notice a skull and crossbones tattoo peaking out from a t-shirt collar.

But the advice I’ve been given is simply this, oblivion can be a gift. And don’t borrow trouble.

Yes, it is affecting this child, no doubt about it. But this child just might not be ready to process. I need to be grateful that all is well in that little world and just enjoy it. There will probably be a time in the next few years when it will come to the surface, and we’ll just deal with it then. But for now, I’m going to leave well enough alone. I’m going to laugh with my kids. I’m going to let them do their homework or not do their homework (they earn their own grades…I’ve already been through school). I’m going to spend time with them. I’m going to listen to them if and when they actually want to open up. I’m going to tell them I’m here no matter what they do, no matter what they say, no matter what they feel.

Basically, I’m going to love them. Right now. And I’m going to let tomorrow take care of itself.

 Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2011

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