The blame game parenting with a victim mentality
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and walked away feeling like that Momma Bear inside of you is raging? This happened to me the other day after my son said that another child had his head pinned down to the ground on the playground. I went through all the “momma bear stages.” First, I looked at my 6-year-old like, “Oh you poor thing,” and gave him pity. I made the assumption that he had been bullied. My next mistake was not checking out the actual facts and then considering the limited information I got about the incident as absolute truth. When we fall into the victim role, we make lots of assumptions and over-generalizations about our victimization. “My child is not treated fairly!” is basically what that victim voice in my head was screaming. The last stage I went through was gossiping about how the victimization process took place. I see this happening all the time with parents, and I confess I do it a lot myself. The conversation usually starts with a persistent complaint about something, and then the receiver of the conversation agreeing with your complaint. Gossip is the conversation of victims. It is characterized as idle conversation that always makes you right, someone or thing wrong, and keeps you stuck in the past. Being a victim is characterized by blame, justification and being right. When you stop being a victim, you give up the ego state of being right. In all of these stages, I am protecting myself or my son from what I viewed through my victim mentality as a threat. Was there really a threat? Had I created that threat, and then passed that on to my child? Now how does he feel walking onto the playground? Had I created a victim thinker in my approach to his general story about the playground?The learning takes place when we look at the paradigm in which we are operating. We get these paradigms or life scripts from how we were parented and our own life events that shape what we call the truth. What is the risk of parenting out of a victim paradigm? Unfortunately, you raise mini-victims who blame teachers for their bad grades, blame a boss for a mistake at work, blame you for not treating them right or blame a ticket they got on peer pressure or police officers. The next time your child could be a victim, first ask yourself these questions. “What can I do as a parent to assist my child in taking control of this situation himself with assertive, not aggressive or passive, communication?” “How can I better show my children they are not victims and give them control of the situation instead of me solving this problem for them?” The next time you feel victimized, ask yourself, “What can I do for myself or my child to move out of this helpless feeling, creating a more strength-based, solution-focused mind set?” Kerri Cheney, MS, is a YouthZone senior counselor.
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