Thanks to the bold, quick-thinking actions of a dear friend today I was finally able to see what she had known for some time now. E.v.e. is no longer the precious, innocent little lamb that always tells the truth. She has officially graduated into being a little girl and has discovered her amazing talent of manipulation.
E.v.e. screamed, pointed blame – someone hit her – the accused child begrudgingly admits he did – he is sent to his room for a spanking – E.v.e. runs to momma for comfort – I stroke her hair and realizing she is not hurt say ‘he just hurt your feelings didn’t he?’ – E.v.e. buries her face in my leg eliciting more comfort – I go back to making breakfast.
Sadly, no flags went up. No realization of what just transpired. I have cozy feeling of being a comforting mom, E.v.e. is happy once again and starts to go off to play. Just thinking about it now that I understand what really happened in those few short minutes makes my stomach turn. I am sickened by my own actions!
I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions I felt as my friend kneeled down to my daughters level and began to talk to her in a hushed, commanding tone of voice. E.v.e. froze and hung her head – she knew this lady meant business! First, my precious friend asks what her son had done to E.v.e. “He hit you where? On your foot? It looks fine to me. (E.v.e. was wearing shoes -.- why didn’t I catch that??)You weren’t really hurt were you? You just wanted to get him in trouble. That is called manipulation and that is very wrong. Now, he is going to have to get a spanking for hitting you because hitting is wrong too but you knew he didn’t hurt you and still wanted to get him in trouble didn’t you?” And then, to my great sorrow, my little lamb turned into a little snake right before my eyes as she nodded her head yes.
I was filled with an overwhelming rush of emotions – guilt, embarrassment, sadness, gratitude, remorse and understanding – my child had just intentionally gotten one of her friends in trouble for really no reason and I had fallen for it hook, line and sinker! She was mad and used me to retaliate against someone she felt had wronged her. I had coddled my child and allowed her to act like a brat.
In that moment I realized she is no longer my little baby, she is my little girl. I awkwardly sat at the dinning room table as my friend went to administer punishment to her son. She was being a good mom. Yes, her son was wronged – he hadn’t really hurt E.v.e. but instead of coddling him in return she punished him for the action he knew was wrong. You don’t hit your friends even a little.
I don’t know that I would have done the right thing if I were in her shoes. If someone had gotten my child in trouble on purpose for something so little I would have gone back to that room and had a ‘talk’ with her. I would have reminded her that hitting was wrong and maybe even apologized for her friend being so mean and trying to get her in trouble and might have even told her to forgive her friend. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have spanked her because she would have been very quick to emphasize the fact that she had been wronged so should be let off the hook. *blech* excuse me while I throw up a little! I do have to be fair to myself though, a few months ago there would have been no hesitation on my part. I would have marched her right back to the bedroom and spanked her butt! It is only recently that my daughter has acquired her manipulation skills and started trying to argue and reason with me. Since then I have allowed my child manipulate me into the very kind of mom I swore I would never be! I coddle her, I let her off the hook when she makes a good argument about why she should be, I let her whining wear me down to the point of submission just so I don’t have to hear her ask me ‘whyyyyyyyyy?’ one more time.
As I waited for my friend to come back from being an awesome mom I knew I had to say something. I swallowed my pride that initially wanted me to pretend like nothing had happened or like somehow it had been my friends job to do and say what she had done and so didn’t require any mention of it on my part. E.v.e. came and stood beside me and I could see her remorse all over her face. She knew she had done wrong. She even winced when she heard the “swack” sound from the back room and looked up at me with her sad, sweet face. “What you did to your friend was very wrong sweety. You owe him an apology. He got a spanking because of how you acted. Do you understand that?” She nodded and hung her head. There could be no denying it. I, too, had wronged her friend.
When my friend came back down the hall I tried my best to stammer out any sort of thing I could say to let her know I understood. I can’t even really remember what I said other than that I guess I get manipulated a lot because I just did NOT see it. I was totally blind to it and had no excuse other than I don’t know how to recognize it or correct it.
As she was walking out the door to go to work I realized two things – first, I admire and respect her more than most women I know and second, I have a LOT more left to learn. Gone are the days of simple discipline. I now have to sift through a cloud of manipulation to get to the truth of a situation and train my daughter how to respond in a godly way rather than responding out of the flesh and human instinct to manipulate a situation to her benefit.
E.v.e. wasn’t the only one that graduated today. I did too.
Love, thank you for such a wonderful friend that isn’t willing to let me keep walking around blind. Thank you that you gave her the strength and understanding to correct not only my child but me as well in a loving way. Thank you for her good example in my life. Give me eyes to recognize when my daughter – or anyone else – is manipulating me and help me to know how to correct it. Help me to see when I am manipulating others and teach me the right way to respond. Thank you for letting parenting come in stages and not everything all at once. Help E.v.e. and I both learn quickly how to interact with each other in a good, godly, and healthy way that leads to us both growing more towards the women you have called us to be.