Column: Don’t give up
Commentary by Becky Kapsalis
There are a whole lot of feelings that go into this whiteboard statement. Feelings of abandonment, isolation, guilt, jealousy, loneliness, hopelessness, which encompasses the gamut of why we are not to give up on our kids. Therein lies our understanding of how to listen to our kids’ feelings and give them the hope they desperately need. All feelings are permissible but not all feelings are beneficial.
Kids of all ages and backgrounds, when in the throes of misbehavior, are silently shouting “PLEASE MOM/DAD, DON’T GIVE UP ON ME.”
There are a lot of things kids don’t say to parents but wish they did. Here’s what one kid said to me when asked what she would like to say to her parents if she had the chance and could express her feelings without recrimination. “Please don’t give up on me. Giving up on me makes me give up on myself. “
This adolescent was talking to me from a juvenile detention center. When asked further what her parents could do to help her, she responded: “I could use some positive direction and be given a sense of importance to my family; Help me break away from bad habits and bad friends; Introduce me to people who are law abiding, honest, and fair-minded; Work with me through my relationships. Please try not to criticize, judge or condemn my choices. I’m not making these choices to hurt you. I just don’t know a better way. Please give me the chance to show I can be a law abiding citizen and an important member of our family and community. I won’t let you down if I can stand tall with you.”
We must ask ourselves –“ Are we doing everything in our power to let our kids know they are worth it?”