Do you use your kids as your emotional support? Stop it!
Every Friday I like to write a short, 400-word inspirational marriage post with just one thought (to counteract all the long posts I write the rest of the week!). Yesterday I wrote about how to shield your kids if your marriage isn’t the best, and I didn’t have time for one of the super-important points. So I thought I’d make it into its own blog post. Here we go!
Sheila’s Marriage Moment: Don’t Use Your Kids as Your Emotional Support!
Susie’s mom was depressed again. Her dad’s bosses were upset at him, but he wouldn’t smooth things over. He was standing on principle, he said. But meanwhile, where was the paycheck going to come from?
As soon as Susie came home from school she could sense that her mom was itching to unload on her. So she took the lunchboxes away from her sisters and said to them, “let’s play dressup! Why don’t you both run and find all of my fun dresses and shoes and some of Mommy’s old makeup, and we’ll have a fashion show?” Her little sisters ran off, and she hoped they’d be gone for enough time that she could calm her mother down.
As her mom prepared the after-school snack she started moaning about her dad. And little Susan listened, like she always did, hoping that spilling everything to Susie would stop her mom from worrying her little sisters.
Susie grew up. She got used to running interference for her siblings. She got used to judging her mother’s moods and trying to manage her mother’s emotions. And she started to really dislike her father, who was always so irresponsible and got her mother so upset in the first place.
Susie’s story isn’t rare. We women often love to talk, and when there’s no one around to talk to except our children, we often turn to them. There’s nothing wrong with levelling with kids about the financial situation, the work situation, or other difficulties you are having. Kids can sense when something’s wrong, and naming the source of stress can actually be a relief to kids.
But sharing insight into what is happening is quite different than expecting your child to be your confidante. Using your child for emotional connection, or using your child as your outlet for physical affection, can be stifling. It places them in an adult role. And it often forces them, like Susan, to try to protect other siblings.
When you’re geographically isolated or socially isolated (because your husband’s in ministry and you can’t share what’s going on in your family, or because you homeschool, for instance), it can be tempting to use our children as an emotional dumping ground.
Deal with the issues in your marriage head on, even if it’s hard. Speak the truth to your husband and work through things. But don’t rely on your kids. It isn’t fair to them, and in the long run, it will do much damage to your relationship.Don't let your kids become your source of emotional support. Let them be kids! Click To Tweet
What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?
Emotions drive many parts of our lives. They can put you on a high or bring you low depending on the situation. This week we look a range of emotion, from the craziness of change in body chemistry, to the endorphin-filled passion of sex, to even the low of feeling powerless. It’s all here in this week’s top posts!
#1 of the NEW Post on the Blog: Let’s Not Make Women Powerless In The Name Of God
#2 on the Blog Overall: Why Do Teenagers Rebel? Thoughts From A 19-Year-Old Who Didn’t
#2 from Facebook: Can Perimenopause Give You The “Crazies”?
#3 from Pinterest: Top 10 Ways To Signal “Yes” To Your Husband
Wow. I’m Humbled By the Response to Monday’s Post on How our Christian Church Structure Encourages Abuse
Sometimes a post takes on a life of its own. I go to write it and it just flows and I think about it in the shower and I think about it all day and it has to just come out of me.
Monday’s post was like that. It was passionate.
And I’m really humbled by the emails and tweets and messages I’ve received over it. We really, really need to do something about the fact that too many churches are set up with the pastor and the elder’s board being so far above everyone else that they cannot be questioned. This is how abuse happens. It’s because we let it because we let people have too much power.
And it’s wrong.
And then when those same churches preach that men should have power over their wives and kids, we perpetuate abuse within the family.
It won’t stop until we start speaking up. And I hope that we will start to recognize the signs: when a pastor preaches about how he should not be questioned, and how he has been put over the flock, and if people criticize him, then they are opposing God (which is what C.J. Mahaney is now saying, even though his church covered up sexual abuse within its ranks). Or when people bring legitimate concerns about leadership styles to the elder’s board, and those people are maligned within the church and told they must repent or leave (which is what happened in Mark Driscoll’s church).
Even if the preaching in a church is good–if the leadership cannot be questioned, then that leadership is not operating in a Christlike way. And it’s time to say, “no more!”
I’d encourage everyone to see the movie Spotlight, about the Catholic sexual abuse scandal. And then ask yourself: do I go to a church where such a thing could happen as well? Does the leadership of my church allow criticism? Is the leadership of my church humble? Does the leadership of my church care for women and children, or does the leadership preach that they must “know their place”?
I’ve Been Speaking All Over Alberta This Week!
And I’ve got some great pictures up on Facebook! Come on over and take a look. We’re at a huge Mennonite church in Winkler, Manitoba, tonight, and I’m so excited to speak in my native Manitoba (that’s where my roots are from!)
I’ll be coming through Pennsylvania in early May, and then I’ll be in Iowa, Michigan, and Kansas in September (you can still get in on that September tour! Just email my assistant Tammy!).
I’m planning to return to northern Alberta in October, so if you’re in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Cold Lake, or Fort McMurray, let us know if you have a church that may want to book us!
And then we’re putting together dates for Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Texas for next winter. Let us know if you’d like to be a part of it.
Keith and I Are Recording a Podcast Tomorrow for my Supporters!
Keith’s picking me up at the airport tomorrow (yay! I get to see him again!), and we’ll be driving home. And on that drive we’ll be recording the podcast that goes out to my monthly supporters (those that support me for $5 a month or more). They get all kinds of perks, including weekly emails about what I’m thinking, struggling with, or praying over; podcasts; free ebooks; chat sessions; free physical books; and more! Check out how you can be a supporter and get the inside scoop on what’s going on in the blog (and with me).
Have a great weekend, everyone!