The meme was making its way around Facebook yesterday to a chorus of “hell yes” and tagging teen offspring so they know you’ll “hunt them down.”
I’d like you to try a thought experiment with me (suggested by my friend Ginger). Replace parent with another relationship in your life like your husband/partner.
I am your husband.
I will stalk you
Flip out on you
Drive you insane
Be your worst nightmare
Hunt you down when needed
Because I love you.
Does that sound like a healthy relationship? When someone says they love you is it ok for them to treat you like this meme suggests? Of course not! We recognize if your “love” holds such control and conditions that it is not in fact love at all.
For children we throw all the normal rules of healthy relationships out the window. This is a particular crime because kids learn how relationships work from watching their primary caregivers and the way the treat others.
As parents we model relationships for our kids. Everything they take into adulthood about how relationships should be come from their earliest formative experiences with the adults in their lives. Do you want this to be the message your kids hear?
This meme isn’t about loving your kids. It is about controlling them, wielding power over them and teaching them that life is a hierarchy and they need to submit to those above them and force submission from those below them. This meme is about a non-consensual relationship where the object of “love” has no say in their treatment. It is one sided.
There is another way. And guess what? It works better. Lectures? Anyone who has a preschooler knows lectures work about as well as spanking. Which is to say it may cease the behavior but it never lasts and carries the scars of knowing mom only loves you if you “behave”.
Luckily Joni over at Tales of a Kitchen Witch created a much better version of this meme.
Instead of stalking, lecturing, and being a nightmare how about we listen, guide, and be a cheerleader.
That is the definition of love I want my kids to see when they think on our relationship. I want them to know from this example that ANYONE who treats them like an object by lecturing, stalking, and hunting them is a predator and they should not have a relationship with that person because they deserve unconditional love and always a consensual relationship.