Considering messages given to us as parents, and to our kids…
Aren’t you thankful that you don’t have to be perfect?
…Unless someone has told you that you DO have to be perfect in order to be worthy of their support?
Many of us grow up believing that if we were worthy enough, we would get the validation or time or support that we crave. We miss out on something and become vulnerable as we go out into the world searching for what we felt we needed that was not given to us as children.
As adults many of us struggle with having love withheld – unconditional love – in marriages and relationships. We might also struggle with an employer who withholds positive feedback or makes us feel like we somehow don’t measure up. We feel the sting of missed opportunities or even from a sense of betrayal.
Being told that you don’t measure up, and therefore are not entitled to support – or that you are not worthy of being believed or even protected – is a tactic that we hopefully learn to recognize as we get older.
But this tactic only works for as long as we allow it to work.
Once we get it that we really do NOT need to be perfect, or to be exactly as someone else dictates to us, we can claim our worth. We can expect to be treated better by those around us.
This is the phase I’m in with my children – helping them see their value is not attached to their grades or to their level of sports competition, or to which friends they have or don’t have.
This is also a common theme with so many parents who talk to me about what they are facing as they work through conflict with each other and with family court professionals.
The rest of this note is for the many parents who are expressing to me or to My Advocate Center’s team that they are being told, “You are so flawed that you can’t expect any better in this situation.” They are hearing these comments directed at them as decisions are being made about parenting time and parenting rights.
Apparently you must be “perfect” to be allowed to make decisions about the care of your child, or to be allowed to freely nurture and give to your child. Certain professionals claim authority and claim that in their perfect wisdom that they can tell you – the parent – that you do not measure up somehow, and that you must be fearful and in some cases be prepared to BUY time with your children.
Of course, no one is showing these parents what “perfect” looks like. And parents in most cases are not given the chance improve upon their alleged shortcomings before finding out they’ve lost everything. Many are not even allowed to see the results of their evaluations and tests to learn what their actual flaws and faults are…when those things are being used to take away CHILDREN.
No, it’s not right how these parents are being treated – and it’s not right what is being done to their children in the process.
There is no “win” in this for the children, only for the professionals holding these families captive and able to control time, decision-making and all of the family’s financial resources.
And just imagine how the kids feel seeing their parents under this much stress? If a parent is beaten down and made to believe they are not worthy, and have no rights and no chance, what do you think this does to a child’s peace of mind, sense of self-worth and stability?
I can confirm for you that it is just BAD all around. And completely unnecessary – - and preventable.
So let’s go back to the initial concept here: if you are worthy enough to be allowed to parent your child, then say so. Act like it. If your child is worthy of having your love, time, nurturing and financial and other types of support, then say so. Act like it.
If you are worthy of being believed and supported, say so. Then act like it. Send the right message to your kids by saying, “I am worthy of the best treatment, and therefore so are YOU.”
If the people around you – especially those who are working for YOU and who are hired to help protect your children and your rights – do not say so and do not act like they believe this, then why would you keep them around?
Aren’t you and your children worthy of getting what you need? Please let me know if you still need help getting to that answer by emailing me through www.MyAdvocateCenter.com.
Have you heard the saying, “It takes a Village to raise a child?”
If you’re a kid then maybe you have not heard this – but I’d like for you to think about it for a minute:
This is an idea that many people believe to be true. This is because we all believe that you – our children – are our most important purpose in life.
NOTHING is more important than your well-being. You matter, and you matter BIG time!
We adults have to work together to help you grow up strong, healthy and able to enjoy life and all that is wonderful about you, and about our world. You deserve to feel safe and secure, and to be peaceful in your surroundings, and you deserve the best that your parents and family can give you.
I really believe this is true, and this is my commitment to YOU. I say this for my children, for their friends and for all of you who are reading this on my website and blog.
If you are reading this, chances are that you are struggling with some challenge in your life that is really hard for you to overcome by yourself. And you shouldn’t feel like you have to do this on your own…we adults have responsibility for helping you through these things.
You need people to believe you, believe in your right to be free and healthy, and you need people who will speak up on your behalf. So here goes:
If someone is getting in the way of your rights, we adults and advocates and especially parents need to know about it. If someone is hurting you in ANY way, we need you to be strong and tell us. It’s the only way we can handle the people who are hurting you – and it is the only way we can help you.
You are very brave. So know that I and our “village” recognize that, and are here to support you. You are NOT alone.
And even if someone has disappointed you in the past when you’ve asked for help, please know that it is ok to feel disappointed and to even be angry at someone who didn’t follow through and help you. Even though that felt bad, and you may be worried that someone else will disappoint you, I want you to try this again.
I do know that this is hard, and that when you’ve been hurt it is easier to stay quiet and to give in to shame and fear than it is to speak up and ask for help. Just know that we can work through that, ok?
It is your right to be supported and helped through this. So please ask your parent or another adult you trust to let me know how I can help you and them.
Who am I?
I am a Mother – one who has worked hard to help my own children overcome fear, worry and sadness. There were people who got in my way and caused my children to hurt a lot. So we know how you feel, and how your parents feel. My children are healthy and happy now, so if I can help them…then I can help YOU. (No, I don’t do this alone; there are lots of great people here who want to help you! It’s important to know I do this because I’m a good PARENT. I work with both mothers and fathers to help kids get what they need. Sometimes parents need help…so let’s see what we can do for them, too, ok?)
I am an Advocate – this means I work in our community to help others see what they need to do, helping them to do it BETTER, so that you can get what you need. Does that make sense?
I am a COACH! This is my JOB. I lift other people up and make them stronger, so that we can all make things better for you – our kids. If you have P.E. at school, or know about sports, you know about coaches, right? I love coaching kids! It’s my favorite thing to do…so think of me as someone who can help you do better in this challenging “game” that you want to win.
Did you know … there are many people here who want to help you? Leaders in our business community, in our schools, at our hospitals and in our neighborhoods…all who want to work to see you get what you need!
So if this feels right to you – and you can help me help YOU – ask an adult to help you get in touch with me.
How do we get in touch with each other? Easy… Use this page – click HERE – to send me your email and/or phone number.
~ Keep being Yourself ~ Believe ~ Play ~ Dream ~ Be a Kid! ~Read More
Why do I do much of what I do as an advocate and mother?
Because decisions and actions in our community are having a negative impact on the health of children.
How do I know? Because I lived through watching my own children suffer unnecessarily while having the right help withheld from them – intentionally and with dishonesty – by certain members of our family court system.
As a parent can you imagine much worse than seeing that your children need help, and not being able to give it to them?
Having your hands tied…while being lied to and made to believe that you have no choice but to let your own child suffer…when you could be providing needed care, nurturing, and psychological or medical treatment — things are ARE within your reach. You don’t have to be a parent to imagine how terrifying or traumatic this might be… You just have to be human and breathing… And, YES, this is happening a lot, right in your own backyard.
Please ask WHY anyone would intentionally prevent a loving parent from protecting or providing treatment for their child. Does this make any sense?
Since resolving my own conflict and gaining perspective on the family court arena, I’ve seen countless numbers of children having their health needs – including physical and emotional health – ignored and have even seen treatment withheld and denied when the diagnosis and financial resources were available.
This is child abuse and neglect, goes against the law, and in too many cases it is happening simply because of greed… and to reward foul play in a legal setting. I’m asking you to look at this and decide where and when you can help. It’s time.
This issue is like a cancer in our society, only we don’t know until it happens to us, and usually by the time we realize what has happened and what or why it is being done, it is too late to stop it from happening.
If you are offended by this notion, that this is going on, then I’ve done my job with this post. But the bigger need is for you not to turn away from it but rather decide where you can lend your voice or resources or connections to help #MakeaDifference.
I’d appreciate your support – and these kids really need you. Let’s see what we can do to ensure that your kids, your grandchildren, or your friends’ and neighbors’ kids don’t feel the impact of this problem. It “takes a village,” remember?
There is more to what I do than challenging certain professionals around their poor judgment and lack of loyalty and honesty; this is about challenging more parents to recover faster from conflict, to take a look around and to really see how you can use what you’ve learned – and what you’ve earned. Get out of your own situation, and find someone else to help.
If you’ve followed me in social media you know that I sometimes serve as a voice for families dealing with pediatric cancer. My own children are involved because we are all so thankful that we are healthy and have the lives and privileges that we do, so we give back by uplifting other families and raising awareness for this issue. We need greater funding for #PediatricCancer. We need more heroes! #YoungHeroes4KidsCancer (Stay tuned as we head toward March 2014 and the next St. Baldrick’s event in Atlanta/SandySprings.)
More success stories are needed to show what happens when we rally behind kids and give them what they need to overcome challenges. Check out Briana Hudson on Facebook to see what I mean! #YoungHeroesLeague #NewWheels4Briana
Follow My Advocate Center to support us as we work to help families transition through and out of conflict. If we can #ImproveFamilyLaw then we have a better chance of letting kids receive the best that BOTH parents have to offer. There is just no valid reason to do anything different and our laws support this mission.
Follow People Against Childhood Cancer if you want to learn more about how to help children that way. Cancer in every form is AWFUL and deserves your attention, commitment, resources and your voice. Please do what you can while praying this doesn’t touch your own family, neighborhood, church, business or school.
Above all, be grateful and be inspired to do more with what you have.
How does your mind react when you read, “Counts are coming up”?
When you are missing the right perspective in your life, just go to a fund raiser for kids with cancer or volunteer to help out a family in need. Read about what Rally Foundation is doing with kids and athletes, how remarkable St. Baldrick’s Foundation is with their crazy-fun head-shaving events, or find others like them.
Subscribe to a blog about a particular child, like our #MightyGus:
Since I had previously written this & included that post, Gus took a turn for the worse and is now fighting a new battle, with his first stem cell transfusion now completed. His family is so positive and strong, but they need all the support we can give them, so please join in by reading and supporting however you can: http://augustusthemighty.info/stem-cell-transfusion/
Think about what is really a big deal in your world; your bad day or month isn’t such a big deal after all, is it?
Of course you know someone who has it worse than you do; we all do. But sometimes they fall from your mind or you just think there isn’t much you can do for them that will make a difference? That isn’t the case when you get involved and start to care about any of the children around us who are struggling for their lives, fighting cancer, hoping for new treatments and for cures.
Planting seeds: can you think of one of the worst times in your life? …I can. In that moment, I consoled myself by saying, “Well, I’ve never been this scared, or this exhausted…but my CHILD does not have CANCER. So these things I can handle – they are temporary – and we will recover.” Yes, I actually said out loud, “my child does not have cancer, and I’m so grateful.”
Then I met Gus. I learned from his mother and her supporters. Gus has cancer. Gus has a lot of friends who have cancer, and every little bit you can give does make a difference. Each of them is Mighty in his/her own way, and their parents/caregivers will stop you in your tracks, causing you to realize just how strong we are when we have to be for the sake of a child.
This video was produced last year by our friend Conn Jackson & is hosted on 11Alive’s site:
Talk: I didn’t hear about pediatric cancer and THEN think that my life wasn’t so bad. I knew to contrast these challenges with our own because of spending so much time in pediatric hospitals and in specialists’ offices. This awareness came from my own experiences in mothering preemie twins, and from doing hospital volunteer work. But not everyone has reason to come across the reality for these young patients. It has to be revealed, and then spelled out – to the average person who is super busy, dealing with their own challenges, more interested in what they are having for dinner, or cursing the traffic.
Awareness is key, and I’m asking that YOU not rely on others to do the sharing.
Please pick an organization AND a child – learn – and share. Give, of course, when you can.
St. Baldricks and Rally Foundation are creating many more Heroes in the Fight against Pediatric Cancer, and my son Jack is one of them. I’m so proud of him for choosing to be an ambassador in this, so here is his fund raising page, where you will see a photo gallery showing more about his experience. You may even note what this has done for his confidence; he is truly inspired and I believe you will be, too.
March 9th, 2013, at Meehan’s Public House, Sandy Springs
#YoungHeroesLeague is his team name and something he will build on for years to come. So come on out if you’re in town and join in – great way to have FUN while you learn and support:
What am I about?
I’m a Peace-Keeper and Problem-Solver. Marketing and promoting are secondary, means to an end. I’m after quality of life, solid mental and physical health, productivity and enjoyment.
For whom? Children and our Community. If it is good for kids, then it is good for me and you as parents and leaders.
Here is where we may differ: there is a notion in some areas of “leadership” and governance, including governing boards of companies and agencies, that “Doing the Right Thing” by children, families and the public has to be difficult and expensive.
I’m asking you to help change this tone and conversation and see how it is possible – not just IDEAL – to Do the Right Thing as you pursue profit, power, influence and status.
Many seem to think those don’t go together, that they are mutually exclusive. They are not. Would you like to see the How and Why?
Yes…I can show you.
I also like to build profit, while lifting others up. Profit is not a bad word, so I discourage anyone who who talks as if being an entrepreneur, investing for a return, or working like a Capitalist is a bad thing.
Is there a way to meet in the middle? Of course, but please try not to label me or ask me to color inside the lines. If you like terms like Social Enterprise, Civic Venture, Conservatively Compassionate or Compassionate Conservative, then maybe that is where I fit. If you saw the recent coverage of what we do at My Advocate Center on CBS, then this may make more sense.
The bottom line, though, is where and how are you making a difference, and for whom? What does your power and influence or status do for others? More specifically for children…
If you talk about the healthcare industry, the burden on our healthcare system, or on schools, law enforcement, the housing industry, etc., but you are only looking at it from the perspective of your insurance costs or shareholder value, then I’ll challenge you to rethink this a bit.
…Because the “Damages to Children” ARE having an impact on YOUR bottom line. This has a lot to do with Trauma – and addressing how we can prevent more and help victims recover faster – but I will address this topic in depth in the white paper being produced for My Advocate Center and community leaders. Email through that website if you would like to be sent a copy of that report.
In your realm and in your comfort zone and timing, let’s open up this conversation and see if I can help you see what you’re missing?
What else should you know about me?
Well…I’m very certain. Patient while impatient at the same time because of what I see daily. Creative. Persistent. Inclusive. Get to know me, and you decide on the rest!
Thank you to these contributors, to Men Stopping Violence and the AJC for highlighting what really needs to be changed in how we look at and respond to conflict:
This is one of the best pieces written yet on this story, so thank you to all the contributors and to the AJC for ongoing coverage.
As Director of My Advocate Center, Atlanta, GA, I am especially appreciative of Judge Hobie Jones’ comment above. It’s time to call it like we see it. …Based on the facts and patterns around this and other cases, and not as a “Monday morning quarterback” (which I agree with you on).
And it is true that this is not just a women’s issue – violence and false allegations of domestic violence affect everyone. Our focus is on the damages to children that stem from all of it. If you hurt or threaten a good parent, you are harming her (or his) children.
False allegations, as well as NOT heeding and responding to REAL violence…and NOT using the evidence or following protocols that we have in place…all put us in a downward spiral.
I knew Donna and John, but not recently, and because I didn’t cross paths again with her in time…I am both distraught and determined that we not let this discussion end without seeing the needed changes in how we respond to these situations.
There ARE pending local cases that mirror this tragedy in too many ways, so we would appreciate continued coverage and investigation. Please email for case and location details for hearings and transcripts.Read More