Militant Mom

28 Jun

Yesterday on my way home from work, I was on the train and disturbed and/or distracted by a mother with her two children. Her kids, one a girl of maybe eight years old and one a boy of no older than eleven years, were on both sides of her holding onto two different poles so they wouldn’t fall. I sat and I watched as this mother began to talk to the younger child, the girl. The boy paid no mind the entire time I was on the train watching them and turned his cheek the other way. While people watched what was unfolding, their faces grew with confusion and anxiety.

The mother, who despite not looking terribly aged, sounded like she had mothered more kids than she bared. At first, she talked to the girl for a few minutes about school and what was expected of her in school the following day – what I presume was the last day of school. The girl seemed happy in her responses and aware. After what seemed like one small jerk of the girl in her movement, the mother scolded her for not holding onto the pole correctly and disciplined her on holding the pole like her mother. The girl’s face went from bright as day to looking like it was melting right off of her face. I could see the girl wanted to cry. As if crying weren’t an option and the mother instinctively knew what the girl were going to do, she commanded she not cry – “Crying doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t get you anywhere,” she told her daughter. The gentleman sitting next to me stared at the mother and child in frustration and confusion and shook his head.

After tireless minutes of more bantering, the mother continued to scold her daughter about how to stand and properly hold onto the pole on the train. She diverted into scolding her in their native language and she scolded her about a number of other things including the girls’ genuine interest in extracurricular activities and whether she was honest about not wanting to continue an activity. The mother told the daughter she questioned her crying and asked, “Was that all an act or did you really not want to play the piano anymore?”

I’ve seen this theory I like to deem as “Militant Mom,” where mothers will rough their kids up with “tough love,” if you will..but to the extreme. It’s one thing if a parent is telling their child that certain things are wrong, but pushing so much opinion and thought onto your child when they are still so young is just so disturbing to me. How can any one child learn for themselves or be given the chance to make a mistake? It seems to me that that child is forced to do so much and even forced to not think certain ways. I wanted to cry for the kid when I saw her head down in shame and fear.

The gentleman sitting next to me said to me before I was getting off of the train, “I would kill myself if I ever had a mother like that.”

What does that tell you? What does that tell society? I’m not saying the woman wasn’t a good parent because I’m not one to judge, but I was completely taken aback by her use of parenting because it isn’t so often that you see such force thrown onto a child and so much so that you can see the child’s face deteriorating as the minutes go by.

In response to the gentleman, all I said was, “Poor girl.” I could imagine that she probably faces that lecturing and ridicule every day and must face her mother like she is facing an entire battlefield of warriors. It’s heartbreaking that a child must grow up fearing their parent to only later resent or betray them. I’ve seen it happen many times – I’m not sure what’s to be said of this..other than to love your child unconditionally – flaws and all!

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