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Your Child Is Not Your Therapist

Being the person that I am and the way I was raised and the things I saw, I truly believe in allowing a child to be a child.
Now I am strict and I yell and I am hard on my son. I’m not his friend, I’m his mother. I am not here to be his friend, I am here to be his parent and guide him in life.

Now I have seen some really crappy things when it comes to parents fighting or single mom stressed to the max.
This is why I have come to you all today to remind you that your child is not your therapist!

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We all vent and sometimes we vent to the wrong people.
I have seen time after time where parents vent to their children and you can’t do that.

Children are impressionable.

What I want to talk about is when a parent decides that they are going to talk badly about the other parent to the child.
My parents had their fair share of arguments and I had to listen to how one felt about the other. Now I was older when my parents got divorced and I already had my opinion on the matter and I knew how I felt about my parents. I wasn’t really a kid. I was 14 when my parents divorced.

But it didn’t change that it hurt.
I’m a single mom. I love my son to death and I will do anything for him. Now I haven’t seen or heard from my son’s father since 2007 and I am perfectly okay with that. We have nothing to talk about and my son is perfectly fine without him. I was 19 when I had my son and one thing I promised him was to never speak ill of his father. My son is now 7 and I have held up to that promise this far and I have no intention of breaking that promise now.

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Your child is not your therapist.
Your opinion of your childs mother, father, grandparent or whom ever is not your child’s opinion.

I know a few parents who like to vent to their kids and talk badly about the other parent and I just ask myself why? What do you get out of it? Does it make you feel better knowing you just totally trashed someone your child loves and to them. You just broke their heart, so what, you can feel better?

An adult conversation is not meant for your 6-year-old.
Maybe your situation isn’t ideal and yet again your child’s mother or father didn’t show up for their weekend. Does it break your heart to see your child cry? Wanting to know why mommy or daddy doesn’t want to spend time with them? Of course it breaks your heart and of course it makes your blood boil and you have some hurtful things to say. But you can’t say them to your child or even around your child.

How you feel doesn’t matter. I’m being honest. Who cares how you feel!! Because I don’t. My concern is your child, which should be your concern.
When you decided to have a child, you decided to be a parent and to put them first. So sure, you might be pissed off but your child doesn’t need to see that. More importantly, they don’t need to hear it! They don’t need to know your opinion on their mother or father.

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You decided to protect and love them forever. Don’t be the reason they break.
What you say matters!

Don’t break your child because your broken.
My opinion of my son’s father is my opinion, not his.

My son has asked me about his father and I wasn’t sure how to answer at first. It’s hard when your son is 6 and wants to know why he doesn’t have a dad. All I can tell him is that I’m sorry his father isn’t around and that he has me and I remind him of all the people he DOES have! That night I cried myself to sleep, but he doesn’t know that and he doesn’t need to know. He doesn’t need to know his question broke my heart, because he does deserve a dad but sadly just wasn’t in the cards for him.

I will not break my sons heart, I will not take my sons smile away, and I will not involve my son in adult things.
Why? Because he’s a child and life is too short to have them grow up too fast!

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Your child is impressionable.
You guide them and you teach them. You show them love and compassion. You are there to pick up the pieces but don’t be the cause of those pieces. What you say to them does matter. They hear you and they will hold on to those things!

Children are not as naïve as we think. They remember things and if you treat your child as if they are your therapist they will remember and later in life they will most likely turn against you because of this. Children are meant to be kids and not meant to listen to your problems. You are there to listen to theirs.

The point of this post is to be a reminder that you are supposed to be there for your child, not the other way around.
If you need to vent or someone to talk to than find another adult. If you feel the need to trash your child’s other parent, please do so to someone that is not your child.
Children are not as naïve as we think and they hold on to things.
Don’t push your opinion onto them.

I know it can be stressful and when you’re sitting outside waiting for their mother or father to show up and you get a text ‘oh, i’m sorry I can’t make it’, it makes your blood boil. You have to tell your child they’re not coming and that sucks! You probably have to hold your little one and say it’s okay, we’ll do something, and you have to cancel your plans because they bailed on your child. I get it. It sucks, but that doesn’t mean you need to tell you child their mother or father is an asshole or a bitch and how much you hate them.

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10 Comments

  • Reply growingupmomma

    I’m pretty sure this is my favorite post you’ve ever written! Absolutely spot on. When my daughter was younger and, I thought, not listening to the conversation, my mom and I spoke in the other room about my ex husband. Wouldn’t you know that little 3 year old picked up each and every piece of the conversation and I had to back peddle like you would not believe to try to fix my error. So I would definitely say that it’s not only important not to talk directly to them, but also never in their vicinity! Great post again, Amanda, thanks so much for sharing!

    April 22, 2015 at 9:09 am
  • Reply 1heart1family

    That is a n extremely tough situation. I think you nailed the topic on the head with many of your suggestions and comments. I can’t imagine how it would be to be a single mom and have to talk to your child about a man you can’t stand. Kudos to you for your bravery!

    April 23, 2015 at 1:27 pm
  • Reply Qoftwignberry (@Qoftwignberry)

    What a thought provoking post. I do think that we should shield our children from many things that would upset them, and I have witnessed some situations where I worry about a child having access to too much information. Thanks for sharing and all the best to you and your little man.

    Amanda
    http://www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com

    April 23, 2015 at 5:01 pm
  • Reply hezzid

    Thank you for this article. I am sending it to a friend who does this often. I’ve begged them to stop because I know how impressionable kids are but they say the kid doesn’t care. I think seeing it in black and white will really help them understand that what they are doing is only hurting the child.

    April 23, 2015 at 5:51 pm
    • Reply AKee88

      I hope your friend really reads this. It’s a shame, kids have to go through so much crap, they don’t deserve it. I can’t hate a man who gave me the best thing I have. Despite that he’s not around, which was partly my choice, but i can’t hate him. My son is the best thing I have and if that means I have to struggle and live pay check to pay check than so be it. I will fight for a better life for us but my boy is my morning sunshine and I will not hate someone who helped create him. I hope your friends comes to realize what we say does matter. Even at 14 years old, it matter to me. I sat and I listened to the things my parents and i said I hear you, i understand, I’m sorry but inside I was crying, wishing my parents would leave me out of their problems. I love them and I always will but I really wish they had. I see parents at my sons school saying horrible things and I just wish I had the balls to be like why? Why are you saying those things to a first grader?? But I don’t! I do know I don’t do it to my son and that is what counts. I hope she stops, for her sake, because kids remember and they can later in life really hate you for it. I hated my parents for a long time, a really long time… =(

      April 23, 2015 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply Michelle Hwee

    I definitely agree with this so much! Sometimes a parent may feel like its the “best” thing to voice out their feelings on the child or even ask them what they should do or get their advice. I feel like its way too much pressure on the child plus they probably don’t really know what is going on anyway. Very interesting point made, thanks for posting.

    April 23, 2015 at 11:54 pm
  • Reply Fi Ní Neachtáin

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. As a child of divorce I have grown up listening to both my parents giving out about each other, it’s awful and I wish I hadn’t been embroiled in it all. It had such a negative effect on me and I do anything I can now to keep my son away from arguments and negative things as best I can.

    April 24, 2015 at 1:18 am
  • Reply Krystal

    This is something helpful to think about. My two year old doesn’t really understand this topic or any adult topic just yet, but I can totally see how this article is appropriate for older kids! I know that it can be hard on kids so we shouldn’t burden them with our troubles.

    April 24, 2015 at 4:07 pm
  • Reply zatomlinson

    Wow! I have so many thoughts on this. I am a child of divorce, a step daughter, a step mother, wife and mother. I totally agree that you should not bad mouth or talk trash about the childs other parent to the child. But there is a time when you have to be honest. And these are my opinions so please dont critisize me ;) My daughter sees her dad maybe twice a year, but calls often. The last time she saw him they went to a family reunion. When she came home she told me that he got drunk and puked all over himself. And that he is now in a wheel chair. The reason we split when she was 6 months old was because he was an alcoholic and would not work. That broke my heart. He is homeless and a beggar. So when she asks me why he gets drunk I am honest. I tell her that he has an addiction. When she asks why we didnt stay together, I tell her because he drank too much and didnt want to take care of us. My husband has raised her since she was 9 months old so for a long time she didnt realize that when she went to visit her grandma and some weird guy was telling her he was her dad, she would say that he wasnt and that my husband is… actually she still does to this day. She calls him by his name and my husband daddy. She is 8 now so the questions are just starting. All this happened just recently. So I dont say anything unless she asks, and I am honest with her.

    April 24, 2015 at 9:50 pm
  • Reply Jane

    Wow this is a great post! Important reminder on just how much kids pick up on.

    April 29, 2015 at 11:38 pm
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