Opinion: Love Your Kids Most When They Deserve It the Least

Filed under: Opinions



Erma Bombeck famously wrote that a child needs your love most when he deserves it the least.

We volunteered for this job -- didn't we? – but it sure was easier when they were cuddly little bundles who never flipped us off, stole our iPod earphones, spilled soda on our computer keyboards or misbehaved at school, getting us -- along with them -- repeatedly hauled into the vice principal's office.

That's why it's essential for mothers of challenging kids to make friends with other mothers of challenging kids. Nobody knows the troubles I've seen, but the mom who's just an email or phone call away won't remind me later of all the terrible names I called him and things I swore I'd do to him after this latest test of my nerves and will and stamina.

Years from now, maybe we'll hold reunions, like war veterans, our solidarity forged through catastrophe and narrow misses.

I collaborated on this video with my talented friend, Karen Borchers, and several lovely moms gathering at the recent Parent Education Network conference in San Francisco's AT&T ballpark. The inspiration was an incident whose details I'm not at liberty to reveal. All I can say is that it involved a public embarrassment, some sadness and then a lot of great advice and comfort and laughter with women I'm so lucky to know.

Katherine Ellison is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of four books, including "Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention," a hilarious and heartrending account of one mother's journey to understand and reconnect with her high-spirited preteen son. Learn about Katherine's work and read her blog on Red Room.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.