Thursday, August 31, 2006

Three is a powerful age for forming ideas about mom as a separate person.

Three is a powerful age for forming ideas about mom as a separate person. Although my son was never exposed to abuse (his dad is a decent guy) I did grow up in an abusive situation. My brother, at the time was exposed to it at the same age as your son up until he was 12 years old. He did not grow up to be abusive to women, and I'll give you a heads up on how.He had a loving connection to a female, me, his sister. If my mom had been able to establish a loving connection with him the way I did the outcome would have been just as good, even better. She couldn't do it though, she never did anything remotely fun or loving with him, she feared him and was over-stern to insure he "wouldn't turn out like his father" but I was able to do all of these things. As my brother grew into a teenager and the inevitable lessons from the past came to haunt him in how he spoke to her, treated girlfriends, shoving them, calling them names and lying to them etc I was his reality check. I hugged him, confronted him and told him straight up what an ignorant doofus he was being and it was seriously and disturbingly wrong, all of it. I reminded him if anyone treated me the way he was treating other females especially mom he would be furious. I told him I could not go where he was going with this, and I could not back him up or be around it. If he chose this path toward women I couldn't love him like I have, I would have to go. This got to him. He's been happily married for 10 years now to a doctor (strong female!) Laying a hand on her is absolutely out of the question, never has and never would. Wouldn't know this is the same person judging from his behavior when he was a teenager.At some point I think it's important to step out of the role of mom-the household ruler and disciplinarian, and step into the role of mom-woman to be loved because she loves me. A boy who has witnessed things like this needs a more loving connection to a female than average. When a sister or aunt isn't available for this mom becomes crucial in making sure those bonds are healed to women. I don't think finding a positive male role model is enough for things like this in my own experience. It helps (my brother didn't have this, I was it) but breaking the cycle of abuse ends successfully where it started, with proving to your boy you are way too deserving of love to be treated with anything less, not by forcing him or being stern, but by really enjoying him and playing and laughing as much as possible. Making each minute as positive and loving as you can. Getting down on his level and staying there. Making violence towards you or anyone else something he can't recall used to be an option.Throw the average child rearing practices books to the side for now and pick up the ones that offer advice for your situation, connect with your son in as many fun ways as you can. I have always been an advocate of therapy when its needed. If your son runs into trouble in a few years do not be afraid to get guidance. It can make the difference for him later on. My brother also didn't get that but I made sure when I got separated my son did have it. My brother often remarks he wishes he had received this extra help when he was a teen and needed it. Makes a rougher road less bumpy than it has to be.The proactive method I advise starts with you. At three there is still so much time to make violence a distant almost non-memory for your son. The cycle breaks, with you.

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