the lion don’t sleep tonight
and if you pull her tail she roars
ya say, “that ain’t fair”
ya say, “that ain’t right”
ya know what i say, “up yours!”
audrey ii little shop of horrors
i talked to a mom friend of mine. she has an eight year old daughter getting shunned on the playground. one instance, she wanted to play with a friend. her friend was playing with someone else. the third girl said, no, i’m playing with her. the friend’s daughter walked away alone.
not surprisingly, the daughter struggles with self-esteem. mom asked me what she could do. (we’re going somewhere with this.) i said the daughter needs to learn to stand on her own. mom asked, “but how?” in that moment, i had an epiphany.
the lion that never learns to roar, doesn’t roar.
Her daughter never learned to roar, yet needs to learn to roar, to stand up for herself. but how? especially when mom and dad never learned to roar. how can that horrible cycle of the inability to stand up for oneself be broken?
my suggestions my friend? start off with role playing the playground situation, push the daughter and get her to stand up for herself in some staged situation similar to what happened on the playground. if she doesn’t, stop and explain the situation and offer some suggestion on how to stand of for herself. but it doesn’t end there. in another few days, wrongfully challenge her. if she doesn’t stand for herself, stop, and help her to stand up for herself. repeat this until she can stand up for herself. hopefully, standing to the most difficult person for an eight year old to stand up to, mom, will give the confidence to better stand up for herself.
i can see some parents reacting, “but, i want respect from my children.” okay, but respect in absence of the ability of a child standing up for themselves is scary propitiation that will last for years. they will be pushed around on the playground, at school, at work, by enemies, by bosses and even friend for the rest of their lives. demanding respect from you likely ends to your child likely surrendering their respect to many that come their way.
this is the environment i grew up in. at 14, i was justifiably angry with my dad and expressed in some way including raising my voice. standing face to face, he replied, “you can be angry with me. i’m your father!” my attempt at standing up for myself, at self care got snuffed out.
since i never learned to roar, i live with that to this day. i find it difficult to stand up for myself against acquaintances, family, friends, loved ones, peers, bosses waitresses, and even cashiers.
i can hear the parent’s voice again, “ya but, think of when my kid’s a teenager?” guess what? teenagers will be teenagers and blow ups are guaranteed. well, except for me, except for the one time mentioned above and that turned out so wonderfully. i was perfect 😕! on top of that, wouldn’t like your kid standing up to you a few times extra in return for your kid being confident in standing up for themselves?
one last thing, the first teacher of any child are there parents. if parents don’t allow their children to stand up for themselves to parents, our children get sent out into the world, somewhat crippled, unable to standup when situations necessitates it.
did you learn to roar? how well can you stand up for yourself?