Human beings are creatures of emotion and being a parent often enhances those feelings. I cringe yet thinking about things I may have said as I discovered vegetables stashed between cushions or a VCR tape with its film pulled out into a pile. “Oh my God look what you did!”
Now imagine the wide-eyed faces of my little girls not knowing what might come next. I cannot bring myself to think how scared they must have been and how this moment was imprinted into their childhood memories. I wonder, did I get to Parents Anonymous soon enough? Was I ever able to undo the damage?
From attending the Parents Anonymous support meetings I learned there are ‘safety-net tricks’ a parent can put in place to prevent those “Oh my God” moments. One such trick I employed was serious Lady Justice with her scales of truth and fairness to weigh the value of my child against any object, like my favorite yellow plate that was broken or the black paint that was spilled on the new mauve carpet.
Without a doubt folks, when I compare the value of my child with any object, accident, occurrence or mistake— believe me, my child is going to be the winner, hands down. No one thing will ever mean as much to me as my children.
Have you ever discovered a damaged item or loss caused by your child? Just how mad were you? Were you angry enough to need a safety-net trick? You will know if you have what is called a ‘hair-trigger’ temper. You find yourself getting angry or upset at little things or things of small importance. Your heart pounds, respiration increases and adrenaline floods your veins. Count to ten… to a hundred by twos. Got your safety net in place?
No matter where you live in the U.S. there are hotlines you can call when you need to vent or calm down. Here in New Jersey you can call the Family Helpline at 1-800-843-5437 or 1-800-THE-KIDS. Volunteers staff the line 24/7 including all holidays to take calls. All calls are kept confidential and anonymous.
The National Parent Helpline will take your calls Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST (Pacific Standard Time). In New Jersey our time would be 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Their number is 1-855-4A PARENT or 1-855-427-2736. All calls are confidential and anonymous here as well.
Parents can benefit by talking things over with other parents. You can attend the Parents Anonymous online group every Wednesday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and every Thursday from 12 noon to 2 p.m. www.pa-of-nj.org. All times in NJ are ETS (Eastern Standard Time). Parents may attend the Parents Anonymous online group from any state.
Jackie Ramirez has been with Parents Anonymous of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Jackie writes these ‘Reminders’ for parents who attend the online support groups. The groups are found at www.pa-of-nj.org every Wednesday 9 p.m. and Thursday 12 Noon. To receive the ‘Reminder’ send her an e-mail at: ParentRap@gmail.com.