Dear Butt Ugly Truth readers,
I have to admit that I am on and off Facebook quite a bit! Being a retired military spouse, I’ve been blessed with seeing the world and cursed with having to build and rebuild friendships more times than I can count. Facebook has given me a way to keep in touch with people easier! I love to read status updates and it’s rare that I miss one! The majority of my friends give the butt ugly truth and like to keep things real! My friend, Riyssa, from Connecticut, posted the cutest little status update recently and it really took me back to when my children were little tots! This is what Riyssa posted:
“My dear sweet 2-year-old muffin…what a surprise to find you quietly playing in my bathroom with my $20 foundation. Oh the sweet look of joy and shock on your face when you were found . You were nice enough to say ” mommy yook what I did!” As your mommy, I’m very proud of the job you’ve done using ALL of it. You have even managed to apply it properly – except for the amount, all over your shirt and your jeans. Not to mention the pretty artwork on the wall! You even were into it enough to grab mascara and apply it to your lashes and cheekbones. I have cleaned up the mess and cleaned you up as well. When you turn five, just remember I did tell you how pretty you look! Because you my little love have just given up your allowances at that age for at least a month 😉 Hahahahahahaha *sigh*”
Honestly, did any of you read that and not get even just a little gooey inside and say “Awwwwww” to yourself! So the butt ugly truth about Riyssa’s story is that she is – are you ready for this – she is a fabulous mother for saying this!
I encounter parents everyday who would’ve berated their child for wasting such an expensive item and then go a step further and punish her. I say that Riyssa is a good mom not because she didn’t punish her daughter, but because she took this opportunity to build her daughter up by complimenting the job she had done. It was a little gift to her mom. The baby was trying to emulate her mom, whom she obviously loves, adores and aspires to be like! Children mimic our every behavior at that age, good or bad. Now the butt ugly truth for Riyssa is…(said in my true southern fashion) Sweetie you best get you a right better hidin’ place for that fancy stuff!
I’m grateful to have such loving people in my life and boy does it send me straight up the angry meter when I see parents belittle their children and douse the fire that makes their inner light shine. Parents need to look at the motive for behavior rather than be quick to punish. Was the motive of this sweet angel to purposely get back at her mother by wasting her expensive cosmetics? No of course not! She is a mere two years old! Her motive was to show that she is as beautiful and grown up as her mommy! Now, in about fourteen years when that baby asks to borrow mommy’s makeup and mommy says no, and then the baby dumps it all over, I’d say the motive would be different and so should the reaction be! It would be push-up position in my house!
In my experience (not that I’m perfect by any stretch), correctly handing out punishments for breaking rules should be centered around motives and safety. The punishment has to fit the crime! If your child is purposely displaying bad behavior repeatedly, you may want to ask yourself what could be causing this to consistently happen. Perhaps your child is trying desperately to get your attention. Perhaps your child is experiencing stress at school or on the playground. There is a motive for bad behavior. As a parent, it’s your job to seek out the reason why and handle it at that level. If this behavior is a result of something you have or haven’t done, take responsibility for that and apologize to your child. Respect is a two-way street. If there is a safety issue, for example, a bullying situation or maybe a mean teacher, you can go right to the source and handle it.
The butt ugly truth is that your children will only show love, be a great friend, and respect others (including you) if you SHOW THEM love, be a great friend to them and respect them. Let me make a clarification. When I say that you should be a great friend to your child, I don’t mean to give them everything they want or throw discipline out the window. Great friends tell each other when the other has done something wrong or hurtful. That’s when you have to give them the butt ugly truth and be the warden! Children expect boundaries and limits. If you set your standards high (not unattainably high) your children will stretch to meet those standards and may even exceed them!
Children aren’t possessions. They are small human beings that God has sent specifically to you. Your job, as their parent, is to instill hope, love, strength and well-being into your children so that they can become, independent, compassionate adults who are productive and lead a fulfilling life. The butt ugly truth is that there are too many parents out there who forget that their children will eventually grow up. The things that they teach their children by adult behavior alone, could have a permanent life long effect. Hope for a good outcome or a change should never be abandoned. Just like Heath Ledger said in the move “A Knight’s Tale” “A man CAN change his stars”. So hold them, love them, talk with them, not at them. The butt ugly truth is that you are your child’s best teacher. You only get one chance and they deserve it! Thanks for reading!