Most people who have survived abuse and live victoriously over it maintain that victory by putting a set of policies, or boundaries in place. As an abuse survivor, I have such a set. My set of policies has been in place for a great number of years now and has worked well to help me live in victory. I did my best to base these policies on the Word of God and it's my desire to honor God through them, even when they might not make sense to those around me. One policy that trumps all others is the policy that my children will not know the fear of abuse. I decided a long time ago, before I even had kids, that no child of mine would ever fear the way I have because of any type of abuse. That's not to say they have not feared me over the years when it comes to obedience, but I've intentionally tried to strike a balance between parental authority and abuse of that authority.
I've spanked them, yet never taken my anger out on them. I've pulled them by the arm to get them out of harm's way, yet never left a bruise. I've raised my voice at them, expressed frustration at their actions, taken away privileges, grounded and given them extra chores. But, I have never instilled in them the fear that accompanies abuse. I know that fear. I was raised in the fear. That fear controlled me for a very, very long time, until the Lord Jesus Christ took that fear and replaced it with peace, determination and perseverance.
In the movie, Flightplan, Jodie Foster's character is a mom and her six-year-old daughter goes missing on a jumbo jet flying at 33,000 feet. Her entire focus during the movie is to locate her daughter and ensure her safety. She's doubted, labeled as crazy, handcuffed and restrained, yet she does not ever give up on finding and protecting her daughter. The incident awakened the Mother Hen in her and once the Mother Hen is awakened, there is no going back. At the end of the movie, not only does she retrieve her daughter, she also protects her daughter from knowing about the trauma she'd undergone in locating her. The daughter was drugged by her captors and slept through the entire ordeal. It ended as a win/win for the daughter because her mom protected her not only from certain death, but from the fear of knowing what had happened.
This is part of our goal as parents. Not only do we want to keep our children safe from harm, we also want to keep them safe from the fear that comes with knowing about harmful dangers they can't control. Sometimes, this goal is more easily attained than other times. Sometimes, a mom has to get worked up to accomplish this goal. Sometimes, she has to have the energy of being worked up to motivate her to keep her focus in rough times or times of threat.
Word to the wise: Never try to calm a Mother Hen down. It does not work. She needs her enhanced energy to protect her chicks. She needs that adrenalin rush to fight potential predators. Attempts to calm her down result in frustration on her part because it invalidates her concern, leaving her feeling like she has to justify herself. Her energy is better spent being worked up so that she can protect her chicks.
When it comes to abuse, I have learned that there are always going to be abusive people in the world. They simply better not mess with my kids.