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I made a mistake. I let someone into my home thinking she was a friend. I let her become part of our lives thinking she cared about our family, and I was wrong.
As a parent, we make mistakes. The important part is owning them, admitting to them, and making it extraordinarily clear to our children that we own those mistakes.
The second part is stopping the mistake in its tracks. As soon as I knew what was happening, it stopped. The liar and manipulator was out of our lives, but my children had stories they needed to tell me.
So, I kept listening.
That’s what we do as parents. We keep listening, because we understand that children need us to listen. They don’t need us to manipulate them. They are not toys. They are not trophies. We don’t parade them around because they make us look good. They are individuals.
So, we listen.
And, when they tell us that someone has told them things that are false, told them things we don’t agree with, and told them to keep secrets from us, we have work to do as parents.
Children are not Barbie dolls. They are real people, with real emotions, and real opinions, and they need to be respected.
However, they are also children. In this case, they are children with a parent who still makes the decisions about teaching them what I believe is right and wrong. That choice does not get to be made by someone who thinks children are Barbie dolls. If she wants to share her views on drugs with children, she should have some kids of her own (or maybe not). My kids will be raised by me (far away from her influence, from now on), thank you very much.