And, the Casey Anthony Award goes to…

Parenting, particularly bad parenting, has been brought under a harsh and shining light, with recent headlines. This, as a result, will be more of an opinion piece, than one offering advice, or tips, and reaching out for them, in turn. Just to forewarn you, Reader… So, now, disclaimer aside, I begin.

As the mother of a three-year-old, I see a lot of weird things, which make up my day. My daughter is imaginative, intelligent, stubborn, demanding, manipulative, silly, shameless, and altogether lovely. She is at the beginning of the ‘fibbing stage’, still not potty-trained, merely, for a lack of willingness to be consistent and want of cooperation, on her part. Needless to say, it is an exhausting and frustrating job, full of laughs. I know how that sounds, but, life itself, at this point, seems to be a contradiction. I’m big on discussion. I sit Kyra down and talk it out, particularly when either of us is angry with the other. Each discussion ends with a “squishy hug”; I wouldn’t have it any other way; and we move along with the day.

She’s definitely a goofball. She pulled her first little joke on me when she was just over a year old. I’ll never forget it. I was getting her dressed for the day, so I told her to turn around (for some reason, unfathomable to practicality in young children’s clothing, there were buttons of the back of her shirt), so I could put her pants on for her. She slowly turned, a full three-hundred, sixty degrees. All the way around. Then, she started giggling. I was baffled. My one-year-old was messing with me. She is something else. See, the thing is, they all are and, if you listen, you can learn as much (if not more) from them, as they learn from you.

That said, there are days, naturally, where I just want to bang my head against the wall; and every parent knows exactly what I mean. The thing is, when I found out I was pregnant I knew that the life I’d led, until then, was over and a new one; one with a new cast and a whole different star; had begun. Everything changed. No coffee, no aspirin, no beer, a lot of weird, fatty food… I even moved to the damned suburbs (ugh).

Bad parenting starts out small. A woman (for example) who disregards her unborn child’s health, in favor of her former lifestyle, is not likely to ever put her child’s best interests above her own. A man (biological father, or not) who, in any way, endangers kids (born, or not) is also far from the pinnacle of an exemplary adult. As this sort of negligence evolves (if you can even call it that), so, too, do the negative ramifications on said child’s development, worsen and grow. These are the parents who scream at and slap innocent babies (they’re all babies, to me, until about age eight, or so) for the slightest infraction. In other words, these kids are abused simply for being kids.

My father always taught me that respect is reciprocal. It is earned; not owned; and I certainly can’t expect it from my daughter, unless I show it to her. If she doesn’t see it from me, how can she know what it is; let alone; reciprocate it? All I ask is that, whenever you see these monsters of parents, step up and speak out. The parent will likely never learn, as it is too late, for him, or her. It’s not too late to teach the children, through a single act of kindness, that people care, even if their parents don’t. It may save a life. It could even-dare I hope?-break the abusive cycle, in which they might otherwise, be trapped.

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