I read an article where William Paul Young, the author of The Shack, uses this line to describe shame. He said, “Shame destroys your ability to distinguish between a value statement and an observation.” While that may also be used to describe our children, if they come from abused backgrounds, foster care, etc, when I first read it, I saw it how it perfectly applies to us – as RAD parents, as parents to traumatized, troubled children.
We are so used to getting judged for our children’s actions and behaviors, as if we are the cause of it, as if we “broke” them, by teachers, by neighbors, by strangers. We are so used to getting criticized for our parenting techniques because it’s not the “norm”. Pretty soon everybody who says boo to us seems to be judging and criticizing us. I’ve seen it happen in my friends of kids from hard places, I’ve seen it in myself. And sometimes – we are wrong, because we no longer can distinguish between a value statement and an observation.
Why are you ashamed, parents? Why are we ashamed? We should stand proud and strong for what we’ve endured (the general public has NO idea) and how we’ve continued on, loving the unlovable, trudging on through destroyed homes, physical injury, intrusive visits by CPS on false allegations, even outrageous ones (my kid says he’s never fed? he’s obese, you see that? does he look to you like he’s never fed? are you kidding me, not only that the school called you about this but that you didn’t take one look at him and walk away? he’s wearing Ralph Lauren for craps sake!), the exhaustion, mental and physical and emotional exhaustion, the cost of it all – friendships, family, an actual “life”, and the dreams we had of what having a family meant. And yet here we are, at yet another therapy appointment, caffeine in hand. Be proud, people! You are doing amazing work! You are accomplishing what the faint of heart could not!
Stop being ashamed of who you are and what you do. Stop being ashamed for who your kids are. In the old days, people were ashamed if their kids had any kind of deformity. We look back on that and think, how stupid. In today’s society, with adoption and international travel, it’s the same. Just because not all of society has caught up doesn’t change the fact that we should stand tall and proud. If we need to educate people in the moment, do it. But do it standing tall and proud, stand your ground. You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. You are not doing anything wrong. Let people talk as you carry your screaming child out of the mall. You don’t care. They are nothing to you – you are the proud survivor mom of a survivor kid, a kid who is fighting for their life and you are fighting right along with them to give them a chance at that life.
You are strong, you are educated in this field, you are an expert in your child. You are a rock star. Never be ashamed.