3 Ways I helped My Grieving Child Mourn

grievingchild_rockinrandommom

The past two months have been crazy busy. Most of it has been good but some of it has been sad. Two weeks ago, my ex-husband’s grandmother passed away. She had been very ill for a long time. By the end she was in a lot of pain and was suffering greatly. For my son, Conner, this was a great loss. My grieving child had a lot to deal with and I did my best to comfort him.

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The pain she was in often made her irritable and cranky. Two years ago, she had deeply hurt Conner’s feelings. Long story short, eventually, she apologized to my ex-husband and he told Conner. She was so remorseful for her behavior and I think maybe she was afraid that Conner hated her.

When we were told that she had very little time left we talked to Conner about it. Conner wanted to see his great-grandmother and tell her that he loves her. So the day came when his dad brought him to see her. He had prepared Conner as much as he could to see her because she was so thin and weak that she could barely even open her eyes.

Conner went to her and told her he loved her. I don’t know what else was said because I wasn’t there but my ex told me that about a minute after Conner left the room, Great-Grandmother stopped breathing. Conner was still there. He knew what was happening. She passed away and my son’s grieving began.

grievingchild_rockinrandommom

 

Adam handled it better. He knew his great-grandmother had been very sick and he understood that she was gone. While Conner chose not to attend the wake or the funeral, Adam chose to go to the wake. He wanted a chance to say goodbye. Both boys wrote her a beautiful goodbye letter and they were placed in her casket with her.

Watching Adam kneel beside her casket, I could see a slight apprehension on his face. I was prepared to console my oldest grieving child but he surprised us all. Everyone grieves in their own way. When I asked Adam if he needed to talk he simply said, “I know she’s in a better place and that I will see her again.” And with that, he was ready to leave.

Conner is a bit different. Death is really hard for him. He feels the sadness immediately and deeply. When he was only 3 1/2 and his Godfather died, his sensitive little soul felt it with a force like I’ve never seen on such a young child. Last year when my mother lost two of her cats one after another, Conner felt it. My grieving child cried over them for days.

So what is a parent to do when their child is in so much emotional pain? I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers for how we help our children deal with the loss of a loved one. As parents, our first instinct is to shield our children from all the bad in the world. What do you do though when one of the bad is a natural part of life?

grievingchild_rockinrandommom

Here are the three ways I comforted my grieving child:

  1. I let him feel his pain – A few days after Great-grandmother’s death, Conner and I watched Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Everything was great until Superman’s funeral. That scene is about 5 minutes long and my grieving child just let it all out in that moment. All I could do was hold my baby and let him cry into my arms. We sat like that through the rest of the movie. I simply held him.
  2. I gave him space – As soon as we got home he didn’t want to talk about it. He wanted to play Minecraft. I let him because I knew he needed something else to focus on. Every now and then he would stop playing and come cuddle with me but he needed that space to tune out and to process.
  3. Listened and answered questions honestly – This happened more when he was younger. When he had questions about death I answered them to the best of my ability. I was also as honest as I could be. Anyone who knows Conner knows that his questions can be very specific and sometimes out there. If I didn’t know the answer, I told him so.

These are the ways in which I helped my grieving child mourn his loss. I let him feel his sadness, ask his questions, and gave him the space he needed to process everything. He’s doing better this week but the road to healing will take time.

How do you help your child deal with loss? Feel free to leave a comment below

Thanks so much for reading!

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Mama Bear and the Bully

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It’s been three months since you last heard from me and I have a lot to catch you up on. One of those things has to do with my baby bear, Conner. My sweet, creative, energetic and imaginative little boy, who, despite his boyishly protective and outwardly robust nature, has an incredibly sweet and softhearted disposition. He’s a sensitive child and maybe this is the reason why he gets bullied. But he has a Mama Bear who works around the clock to make sure he is resilient but safe from this year’s bully.

It all started in the fall but during that time Conner and this boy were friends. At first all seemed well. Occasionally this boy would taunt Conner and say some rude things but nothing that concerned me too much as I know children can sometimes be mean. So my focus at that time was to teach my boy resilience. I would say to him, “A bully can’t bully you if you ignore them.”

Over the course of the past several months I’ve had some real conversations with my 10 year about people in the real world. Conner is a deep thinker like me so I knew it was time to start having these conversations. The fact is my boy is sensitive and the world isn’t kind to us sensitive people so I armed him with some strategies that I used growing up. Words hurt though and a bully knows this.

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That’s the hard part about being a parent. Well, lets’ be honest, parenting is hard in every respect but this is harder in the sense that we as adults are still trying to navigate this world and figure out how to deal with the ugly side of life. So what makes me even think I am qualified to teach my son about life? What makes any parent qualified? One word: Experience. And experience with a bully or two in my own life, well, I definitely have that.

bullydifferent_rockinrandommomHowever, teaching my son some resilience in dealing with the occasional rude comments from people is one thing. But we all know that words hurt and as the year progressed this boy got more and more aggressive in his use of those words. At one point he told my son that he hopes he dies in a fire all because Conner loves DragonBall Z and this kid thinks its “stupid”. At that point though I had already contacted the school twice about this kid. I also found out he was bullying other children on the bus.

The bus driver had made several reports on this kid yet nothing was done. That is until a few weeks when he punched Conner in his head as hard as he could a few times. Conner got off the bus in tears complaining that his head really hurt. When he told me what had happened it took everything in me not to get on that bus and go after that kid. I did, however, call the school right away and left a message with the principal. Only this time I threatened to call the police.

 

Now of course the last thing I want to do is call the police on any child. But I was at my breaking point with this kid and with the school. Prior to this incident they had done absolutely nothing. Kids have gotten kicked off the bus for less.I had to do something. The sad part about this whole thing is that it even went this far.  I shouldn’t have had to resort to threatening legal action in order for the school to finally step in and do their job.

He got suspended for a week from the bus. However, I demanded that this child not be allowed near Conner. I found out through my own investigation that this kid has anger issues. The school knows this, yet does nothing. Now I am pretty sure there are legitimate reasons behind that but the picture is clear. This boy is not getting the help he deserves.  If I hadn’t stepped in my son would have been ignored too.

This boy still tries to insult Conner on the bus. He has to be five seats away from him at all times regardless. It tells me that he did not learn his lesson and no one is doing a damn thing about it. I’m sad for this child but I have to look out for my own. Conner now ignores him though which means my talks with him are doing at least some good.

Thank you for reading!

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Making Oobleck with the Kiddos!

makingoobleck_rockinrandommom

So this past weekend was pretty busy. It wasn’t my intention, mind you, to be busy. With kids though, it always happens. I was all set for a relaxing Saturday watching some Netflix and chilling with Conner. He had other plans. He saw this project on YouTube and wanted us to try it. So here we are, sharing with all of you awesome parents out there, making oobleck!

I wasn’t really wanting to make anything this weekend. On the menu wasn’t me making oobleck with my 9 year old. Hell, I didn’t even want to cook! Pizza was on my mind. Here we are though, making oobleck on a Saturday night. Since Conner wanted to make this cool thing he saw on YouTube, I figured we would try it out. Not like I had anything else to do.

As it turns out, making oobleck was kind of fun. Of course, we had to make two trips to the store. The first trip was to get the corn starch and the food coloring. The second trip was to get more corn starch after the first attempt at making oobleck failed miserably. Conner was in a rush to make the stuff, causing us to skip a very important step.

No worries though as the second attempt turned out much better and I have to admit that I really enjoyed the project. The end result was good too. It’s so simple to make this stuff and as I was making it, I thought, “hey I can write a blog post about this.” Then Conner suggested I record it and put it on YouTube. After thinking about it, I figured it would be a great idea so here we are.

Ingredients you need:

1 to 2 boxes of Corn Starch

A tube or two, or three, or four of food coloring

One mixing bowl

1 spatula

 2 cups of water

Well, why don’t I just leave my video for you to watch below: *hint: It stars Conner*

Have you made this with your kids? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below or comment on my YouTube channel.

Thanks so much for reading!

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The Brock Turner Conversation

brockturner_rockinrandommom

This post is about the two latest tragedies to hit my Facebook feed. Brock Turner and the Orlando Shooting. This is how I used these tragedies to teach my boys valuable lessons.

Brock Turner

Now you wouldn’t think that this would be something that I would actually talk to my boys about. Most parents do their damnedest to shield their children from the news and any negative stories that come on. However, my children are in school and they hear it all. So over this past year I have come to see these stories as opportunities to educate my kids on things they won’t learn in school and teach them very important life skills that many of us really don’t think about. Like teaching our boys NOT TO RAPE!

Now here is where I’m going to get the most personal I’ve ever gotten on my blog: I am a survivor of childhood rape. I am one of the many statistics in this country. What is it?

brockturner1in4_rockinrandommomLet that sink in for a minute…

I don’t talk about it much on here because even though I have healed from my past hurts and trauma, it’s still not a subject I broach with very many people without having a damn good reason. Brock Turner is a damn good reason. Being a mother of two boys is a damn good reason for my writing this.

As a survivor, I bring a unique perspective to the table. I raise them to respect all living things but to also understand that not every person in this world is worthy of their trust. That may sound biased and pessimistic but that is the world we live in and I have to know my boys are aware of that fact.

Right now, I want to talk about the conversation I had with Conner. The letter that the father wrote to the court and the lenient sentence the judge rendered was appalling. I told Conner that a young man violated a young woman while she was passed out and not able to defend herself or even consent. His first words were, “Why would someone do that?” Out of the mouths of babes!

brockturnerrape_rockinrandommomI talked to him about the letter the father wrote, excusing his son’s behavior.  Before I could “teach” him anything, he said, “How can his dad think what his son did was okay?  Why didn’t he take care of her? Why did he have to hurt her?” Obviously I’m doing something right.

I talked to him and let him know that neither myself nor his father would ever condone that kind of behavior and he said, “Don’t worry mommy, I won’t do anything like that ever! Besides, I know women can kick my butt.” Then of course he laughs and I laugh with him.

He may not know the power of hormones (which is not excuse) but he does know right from wrong. He does know that forcing anyone to do something against their will is wrong! I have talked to him about this before. As a survivor I feel very strongly that my boys need to understand what consent means and how important it is.

We parents believe that as long as we teach our children right from wrong and do our best to live good lives, our children will follow suit. Sometimes though, we need to have conversations. It’s important that our boys know how to be men. They won’t learn it on their own, despite popular belief. All of our children need guidance and nowadays, teaching our boys NOT TO RAPE is one of them!

Orlando Shooting

The second tragedy was the Orlando shooting. It is a horrible thing to know that despite teaching our kids to accept one another, they are still bombarded with pictures of hate in this world. The news today makes me wonder if Adam’s Autism may actually shield him from certain things because none of this influences his behavior towards others. Of course, he doesn’t watch the news but this will still be a conversation that I will have with him.

Conner, on the other hand, always asks me why people are so mean to each other. I wish I had a straight answer for him. He knows that the victims were gay. His response: “So what if they’re gay! That doesn’t give anyone the right to kill them! Mommy, I just don’t understand people sometimes!”

I teach my boys to treat others with kindness, understanding, and respect. We aren’t meant to be one size fits all. That would be boring. It’s important for me to teach them tolerance in the face of hatred and that is how they see the world. “After all” says Conner, “We all have to live on this one planet so let’s live on it together.” If only the adults in this world saw it that way.

Thanks so much for reading,

 

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50 Life Lessons For My Sons

lessons

I saw an article recently that was about a mom teaching her daughter all these values and it got me to thinking, boys need values too. These life lessons will be learned along the way but it’s important for me to start teaching them now. It’s important to teach our girls to value themselves and never to let anyone take advantage of them but it’s equally important to teach our boys many of the same values, if not all of them.  We live in a harsh world and today, people seem to be getting more selfish and showing less compassion and understanding than in my generation.  So here are 50 Life Lessons, or values (with a few more tips in between) that I strive to teach my boys.

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To my sons,

As your mom, my love for you is incomparable to any love I’ve ever felt for anyone, including my sister (you know how much I love your aunt Jen).  As your mom though, it is also my honor and my responsibility to guide you, protect you, and when necessary, to discipline you.  I hope that when you venture out into the world one day, you will bring with you these values that I work hard to instill you:

  1. Never settle for less than you deserve, but…
  2. Always be humble, not entitled
  3. Follow your dreams, but…
  4. Remember to work hard for said dreams
  5. Be fearless but not reckless
  6. NEVER, EVER HIT A WOMAN! But…
  7. NEVER TAKE ABUSE FROM ANYONE, MAN OR WOMAN!

WALKAWAY8.  Stand up for yourself but…

9.  Know when to walk away

10. Stay away from toxic people, even if they are family

11. Family isn’t always who is related to you. Family are the ones who stand by you and accept you for who you are.

shinebright12. Learn who your true friends are then hold onto them – they will bring out the best in you.

13. Forget what the fairytales say about “True Love”. Real love is much better.

14. Be a leader, not a follower.

15. Follow your own path, not someone else’s.

16. Don’t worry about what others think of you. You won’t be able to please everyone, so just do you.

17. YOU ARE UNIQUE!! Embrace it!

weirdness18. Trust, honesty, compassion, and communication are the keys to any relationship.

19. Never Stop Learning!

20. Stand up to Diversity!

21. NEVER COMPROMISE WHO YOU ARE!

22. Take the time to recognize the incredible beauty this world has to offer.

23. KNOW YOUR WORTH!

24. Be your best self

25. Don’t regret your mistakes – Learn from them.

26. Take responsibility for your actions…

27. Never be too proud to apologize

28. Embrace change – It can be hard but you can do it

29. Face your fears

30. Don’t forget to forgive.  If you don’t, it will invite darkness in.

31. Be strong, resilient, and smart

32. Take time for self-reflection

learn33. Remember that NO MEANS NO!  No exceptions.  I don’t care if she means it or not.  Walk away my boys… Just walk away.

34. Always be kind but…

35. Never let anyone take advantage of you or someone you love.

36. You are allowed your own opinions but remember…

37. So if everyone else

38. People come from all walks of life, from all over the world, respect their differences.

39. Be a law abiding citizen but…

40. Don’t be afraid to QUESTION AUTORITY when the need arises.

41. Remember that money isn’t everything.  It can’t buy you love.  It can’t buy you happiness, and you certainly can’t take it with you when you die.

life42. Life is too short to hold grudges. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting.

43. Trust has to be earned! Be kind, be generous but be cautious.

44. Stand up for what you believe in

45. Learn to accept criticism. While some may not be very nice, most of it will be constructive and you can learn from it.

47. Learn to give constructive criticism.  Don’t let your emotions allow you to say things you don’t mean.

48. If a woman is drunk, DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HER!

49. Always have your friends’ backs! If they are true friends, they will return the favor.

50. CAPRE DIEM!!  SEIZE THE DAY!!

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There are many, many more that I’m sure I am forgetting but we will learn together which ones are the most valuable.  You will learn much along the way.  Above all, I wish you health, happiness, and love my boys!

Love,

Your mom

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