Will’s Thoughts – Forcing Children To Act Like A Parent To Other Children Is Child Abuse
I talked to my brother John on my birthday. It was the first time in almost two decades. It’s not that we don’t love each other, it’s just kind of how life led us. Talking to him did what it usually does, opened dark doors of our past that let pain come flooding through. He is the oldest, I am the youngest. He is a hero, I am a coward. Every time I hear his voice, I feel his pain. Both he and my sister, Kathy, are two of the sweetest, hardest working people on earth, but neither of them ever got a lucky break. My brother Mike and I were the opposite; volatile, vengeful and violent. We couldn’t absorb and suppress the pain like they seemed to be able to do. Provoking Mike and I was a very, very bad idea.
My brother John was the unluckiest of us all. He started out being the only child, Daddy and Mommy’s little pride and joy. But, as more of us were born, he not only got shuffled to the back of the pack, he somehow inherited responsibility for his little brothers and sister. That was so wrong, on so many levels. Every child needs a chance to be a child, and none should ever be forced to be a pre-adolescent parent. If anything, the oldest child needs even more attention, because the loss of their parents’ attention hurts them, very, very deeply. Forcing them to act like a parent, then blaming and punishing them for things they ‘allowed’ the younger kids do, is straight-up child abuse, plain and simple.
My oldest brother’s soul was devastated by abuse in his early childhood, from strangers, step-parents and family. He always got the worst of it (usually on purpose, to stop it from happening to his little brothers and sister). I cry every time that I think of what his childhood was like. All he ever wanted was just to be a happy little boy. Instead he was blamed and beaten, left with no one to hold and comfort him, or to wipe away his tears. I remember it like it was yesterday. He was so confused about why it was happening to him, and so frustrated by the injustice of it all.
That brave little boy somehow survived all that violence and abuse, and grew to become an artistic gentle giant, a doting husband and a fantastic father. I’ve never told him how grateful I will always be for his love, protection and guidance, nor have I said how crushed I was witnessing what he went through. Nothing, NOTHING, will ever, ever remove the shattering helplessness that I felt. I wanted so much to be able to help him when he needed me, but there was nothing that I could do but stand there with a breaking heart and cry. He loved me so very much, and all I could do was watch through tears as he screamed and was beaten.
To all you parents out there, for God’s sake, don’t use children as surrogate parents. Please, let them be kids for the few brief seconds in time that they can be. I know the ugliness of racism and the pain of physical, sexual and mental abuse. Only by forcing ourselves to see the world through the eyes of a child will we stop the tears from child abuse forever.
Will’s thoughts prove that everybody has opinions, but he has way more than he should. From dogs that won’t stop barking, to the antics of his spouse, ‘Crazy Lady’, Will’s Thoughts will make you smile.