Family And Parenting
When kids hurt other kids: An imperfect parent's thoughts
By Featured Blogger Tina Santiago-Rodriguez Updated Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:27pm
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Most of you have probably seen the news on TV or on the Internet, or heard it on the radio — last Monday,

a four-year-old girl was stabbed dead by a three-year-old boy with a barbeque stick in Barangay Sauyo, Quezon City.

Apparently, the two children were playing together when they had an argument. The boy, who had been eating a hotdog at the time, stabbed the girl with the stick.

The mother’s victim found her still with the stick in her chest and the little girl told her what had happened.

Despite undergoing surgery though (the stick had pierced her heart), the little girl died of infection and pneumonia at the Quezon City General Hospital. (Source: Radio dzMM)

When I first saw the news report about this incident, I was shocked and deeply saddened. My next reaction was, “I wonder what the boy’s parents must be feeling…” It was then followed by fleeting thoughts of “superiority”: “Thank God my kids would never do that!” and “Didn’t that boy’s parents teach him that violence is wrong?”

Like I said though, those thoughts were fleeting. Because I instantly recalled that I am certainly not a perfect parent (just ask my husband and my kids!). I have my faults (many, many, many of them!) and Lord knows my kids (six and three years old respectively) fight A LOT. They are sometimes physical with each other too (pinching and hitting mostly) and I know that despite the fact that we try to limit their exposure to violence in media, they have been exposed to it at one time or another (yes, even a lot of cartoons are violent), sometimes without our consent.

So, instead of judging the parents of that three-year-old boy, I chose to look at the so-called “man in the mirror” (well, woman, in my case). I examined myself again as a mother. I asked myself questions like, “Am I raising my children to be loving and kind?” “Am I setting a good example for them in how I deal with conflicts?” “Am I teaching them how to ‘fight fair’?” “Am I equipping them to love God and their neighbor?”

I tell you… I was not pleased with the answers I came up with. I was totally dismayed at the realization that I (once again) have not been consistently modeling love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (the fruit of the Holy Spirit — see Galatians 5:22) to my kids.

So today, I repent. Today is actually our eldest son’s birthday. Being the eldest, I believe he has borne the “brunt” of our parenting mistakes and mishaps. I admit it — my husband and I are more “strict” with him than with his younger sister. We are less relenting and forgiving too when he makes mistakes or disobeys us. (Sorry, Kuya Tim!) As the eldest, we tend to expect more of him.

And that is one of the most painful things we could ever do, I think. To expect too much of our children. Added to that, the times when we hurt them with our words (or sometimes, our silence).

When I actually really think about it, that three-year-old boy who stabbed his four-year-old playmate could have been any of our children. Well, maybe they would not go so far as to stab someone who they are arguing with. But, at the stage they’re in now, they could still hurt someone who doesn’t see things the same way they do. Which is why this momma needs to practice more positive discipline and constantly and consistently emphasize the importance of respect, empathy and love for others.

Or, vice versa. The poor little girl who died could have been any of my kids. After all, we let our kids play with anyone — we don’t really “choose” who their playmates are. It is a reminder to me that we should be more careful then. And really watch our kids when they are playing with others — so that we can intervene when needed.

At the end of the day, we know that we can only do our best when it comes to raising our children. Sadly though, many times, our best may not be enough. Which is why I believe we need grace. We need God’s grace to cover what our “best” lacks. It is only by God’s grace that we can raise holy, happy and healthy children.

This post is lovingly dedicated to our eldest son, Timothy: As you turn six today, we pray that the Lord will continue to shower you with His grace, blessings and joy. Please forgive Mama and Papa for all the times we hurt you and let you down, when we made you feel less important, when we did not affirm and appreciate you for the great gift that you are. We are blessed and privileged to be your parents, our dear, darling boy. We love you very much.

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