A few months ago I saw a post online about a mother who had shaved her daughters hair off because she was always playing with the scissors. She was always trying to cut her own her or cut everything in sight. She shaved her daughter’s hair off because she felt that there was nothing else she could do to stop her little girl for reaching for the scissors. She felt she needed to “teach her a lesson”. There were so many comments in agreement saying “good on you, show her who’s boss”, “she needs to learn” etc The only thing that girl learnt was humiliation that will no doubt haunt her for the rest of her life. She learnt that communication came in the form of punishment, and that her feelings didn’t matter because she was doing something that someone else didn’t agree with. Last week I saw a boy no older than 4 walking out of his driveway, coughing and crying. So visibly upset that he was choosing to walk down the road in the rain. What had made him so upset that he felt the need to escape the one place that was meant to make him feel safe? I watched him for a while before I drove over and stopped the car. I asked if he was okay and he just looked at me with tears in his eyes, shaking his head. In that moment I just wanted to put him in my car and take care of him. I told him to go inside so that he was out of the rain, and said that I hoped he felt better soon. I watched him stand there as I drove off, and I saw the person that was meant to be looking after him just point and laugh. My heart ached for that little boy. Just the other day I was in the mall watching the kids play in the play area. A little boy, younger than my own son ran out crying. He walked around the mall searching for his parents, he was so visibly upset and lost. My partner walked right down to the other side of the mall with him before picking him up and bringing him back to the play area. It had been a good 10 minutes and we couldn’t see anyone who looked like this little boys mum or dad. There was no one distressed searching for their child, in that moment I panicked and thought they’d actually left him there for good. 5 minutes later a dad came out of nowhere and asked what was going on. As we explained to him what had happened, he told us his 11 year old was in the play area.. and then he asked her why she hadn’t been watching her brother, why had her brother run off without her seeing? The mum also came over from the other side of the mall wondering what had happened. These parents had left two of their kids in charge of a toddler and ate where they couldn’t see their children. They didn’t notice their child walking around the mall crying. Not once did they panic or show any worry over what had just happened. I was angry for the daughter who was expected to be play mum, and upset for the little boy who couldn’t find his parents. These moments have played on my mind lately. Small snippets of a child’s life that have reminded me that there are so many kids out there who ARE suffering in ways we couldn’t even imagine. These moments have left me feeling helpless, wishing I could do more for all the kids that are falling through the cracks. The kids that are being taught that they aren’t important enough to come first, to be loved and nurtured in all the ways that they need to be. As parents we need to love and respect our children. We need to treat them as we would anyone else, we don’t need to “show them who’s boss” or put adult expectations onto them. We may be struggling with our own shit, we may not know how to get out of a bad situation or a vicious cycle, but we need to be strong enough within ourselves to put our children’s needs first. Whatever your journey , wherever you’re life is heading.. please just do your best and be kind to your kids. Love them without bullying them, love and respect their innocence, and love them so hard that no matter what’s going on in life.. they will get by just knowing that you’re there.