25,300 MOMS HAVE JOINED
Violence

“Locked & Loaded”:Opinionated MAMA’s Perspective on VIOLENCE

Originally posted 10/09:

You know what happens when you fill a balloon up too much?  It pops!  We seem to be a nation on the verge of exploding.  There is so much pent up frustration, anxiety, fear, anger and despair locked up inside the American people we are about to burst. Something has got to give.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what your life situation is, we are all affected by the same issues right now…a depressed economic situation, a healthcare crisis, a nation at war…not to mention everything else we deal with on a daily basis in our own personal lives…losing our job, going through a divorce, getting sick…there is always something.  You never know what is really going on with people.  People are pissed off.  We are directing our anger outward.  We are mad at our boss, our girlfriend, the kid who tattled, the Army, the government, drivers who hesitate at a red light, grandmas who take too long at the check out, the kids crying on the airplane…whomever. We lock it up the best we can, but if we don’t have a constructive outlet for all the pressure, we unload on society.

There has been so much violence recently.  Whether we are talking about shooting sprees, domestic abuse, gang rapes, beatings, lighting people on fire, angry mob mentalities or just yelling at the kids for no reason.  We are a stressed out country.  Life seems out of control and it’s driving us crazy.  We all just need to count to ten and take a deep breath…

History shows that the frequency of mass murders is increasing, although, they seem to go in spurts.  Increased stress, both social and economic, increases violent tendencies.  Teen stress has increased in the last year.  It is estimated that 10% of teens suffer from anxiety and 28% of tweens say they are stressed. Teen violence is up.  In fact, homicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24 overall.  Breathe.  So, what happens when our kids feel stretched in too many different directions?  Like a balloon, they’ll explode. To date, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history took place in April of 2001, in two separate attacks at Virginia Tech leaving 33 people dead including the two college gunmen.  In January of 2011, a lone gunman, Jared Loughner, opened fire in a Tucson supermarket parking lot at a political event, killing 6 and wounding 13 others, including a Congresswoman. In the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, two bullied teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.  In 1995, Timothy McViegh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City killing 186 people in retaliation for perceived government mishandling of Waco.  Four years earlier, the deadliest mass shooting was in Texas, when George Hennard had a psychotic breakdown and drove into a Luby’s Cafeteria and killed 23 innocent people before committing suicide.  There have been maybe a dozen, smaller shootings in between Columbine and the recent events at Fort Hood.  Quiet, “normal,” loners to some observers, but with an angry or depressed side.  They all felt like outsiders who needed to be heard, and they all got the attention they so desperately sought.  They all made news and captured their moment in American History at our expense. They are part of the cautionary tales we tell each other.  Exhale.

So, what is the lesson?  People are fragile?  We can only take so much?  Like a balloon, we need to let some air out. Regardless of who we are mad at, whatever our problem is, perceived or real, we need to vent some way.  If we have a constructive outlet, then society doesn’t get blown away when we snap.  We need to find healthy outlets for all the pressure and we need to teach our kids to do the same.  Our kids are dealing with the stresses of growing up…peer pressure, not getting the girl, not being cool, or cool enough, or being too cool, being bullied, being teased or embarrassed…all the things we all dealt with in one way or another, but combine that with parents that are stressed out and consumed with their own pressures…add unlimited access to the internet and exposure to violence at every turn…video games, TV shows, news.  It can be overwhelming for them and they are overloaded.  Teens that feel out of control and isolated, turn to anything and any one that makes them feel more powerful…weapons, gangs, sex, drugs, violence.  Every parent’s nightmare.  O.k., breathe.

Take a run.  Talk to someone.  Breathe.  Start journaling.  Start knitting.  Breathe.  Get advice.  Get help.  Breathe.  If it is not working, do something else.  Try something else.  Breathe.  Remember that tomorrow is another day and that you will be o.k.  People that find themselves in despair feel isolated, helpless and trapped.  They don’t have a support network they trust.  Find someone you trust.  Don’t keep it all locked up inside.  Let’s start with the basics…sitting down to dinner together every night, talking to our kids about their days, their ups and downs and maybe even having a laugh.  Helping them sort through their issues, might even help us decompress from ours.  We all need to let it out…just let it all out…before we POP!

18 Responses to “Locked & Loaded”:Opinionated MAMA’s Perspective on VIOLENCE

  1. latinmama November 9, 2009 at 7:35 am #
    Opinionated MAMA
    Party MAMAs

    so sad, but hopeful! i hope she sticks to her guns!

  2. latinmama November 9, 2009 at 7:36 am #
    Opinionated MAMA
    Party MAMAs

    @latinmama: i mean rihanna!

  3. Anonymous November 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Great article!

  4. Anonymous January 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA

    I totally agree with this. As for the stress that society is under, I put alot of blame on the media and how they elevate what they are reporting on. I don't blame them entirely, after all, we are adults and we are responsible for our own actions. There are so many avenues out there to try and regain our sense of normlacy, but even with all that, I think it will be a long time before we are able to cope better with the everyday stresses that are put upon us.

    • momof3 January 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA
      Democratic MAMAS
      MAMAS 6th - 8th Graders
      MAMAS 1st - 5th Graders
      MAMAS Pre-School - K
      Party MAMAs

      Yes, I agree. The media highlights the extremes…it's exhausting for us to try and sift through it all?!

    • rochesternative January 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA
      Party MAMAs

      Things have "speeded-up" don't you think? I just don't remember my childhood being so hectic. My life was Sunday church, and Wednesday Girl Scouts. Today's kids don't HAVE a sense of "normality"

    • momof3 January 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA
      Democratic MAMAS
      MAMAS 6th - 8th Graders
      MAMAS 1st - 5th Graders
      MAMAS Pre-School - K
      Party MAMAs

      O.k., so I've figured it out…stay with me on my rant…when I go to the drugstore in August looking for beach balls, I can't find them because the Halloween stuff is already out. When I go to the mall to look for snow boots in January, I can't find them because they've already got the bathing suits and flip flops out. The grocery store has Christmas stuff out before Halloween has passed. I need to get through and enjoy each phase of the year. My kids need to be able to enjoy it before moving on to the next thing. AND, don't get me started about technology. We need to just turn it off and take a break. It used to be, "I'll get it to you within the week." Then, with the advent of the fax, it was "within the day" and now, with cell phones/email everything had to be there 5 minutes ago. I just turn it off. Breathe.

  5. Anonymous January 11, 2011 at 3:33 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    I viewed this same opinion on my FB page and a mom just didn't agree…hummm…I went back and spelled it out as you had in this article. she understood my stand but still didn't agree…I'm okay with disagreements but I have to admit I don't understand how one can't see this.

  6. rochesternative January 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA
    Party MAMAs

    Society has changed. The "common values" have changed. My kiddos are 11,12,14 and they have a sense of entitlement that just horrifies me (and THEY are mad at me, because they think they DESERVE a game system that I won't buy) I wish I could say their attitude was a result of my poor parenting, but society-wide (I'm a teacher) I'm seeing the same sense of entitlement in kids and young adults. WE the grown-up have done a BAD job in teaching our kids coping skills. The fact that our society "moves" so fast is a big stressor for adults…just imagine kids w/ fewer social/coping skills. We NEED to take responsiblity to our own children and even to children that our friends/relatives are parenting. Kids DON'T always get their way…and they need to learn that. Kids CAN'T always get the toy,candy,gum etc. that they want. Somehow we need to communicate to ourselves (and our kids) that they DESERVE, food, clothing, shelter and love BUT they don't deserve the latest-and-greatest game system, brand-name clothing, iphone etc. We are hurting our kids in the long run by giving them an unreasonable standard of living they won't be able to maintain right out of highschool/college. No one owes US anything.

    • momof3 January 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA
      Democratic MAMAS
      MAMAS 6th - 8th Graders
      MAMAS 1st - 5th Graders
      MAMAS Pre-School - K
      Party MAMAs

      YES. YES. YES. I wish we could have a big group hug right now. I absolutely agree with you and I think this is one of the keys to unlocking the next great generation. Think of the way our grandparents behaved…respectful, hard-working, appreciative, blah blah blah. I think when we harken to the days gone by, we reflect on those American values. The ones when we sat on the porch with our neighbors and watched the kids play. When we all felt like we were part of something, we all understood our role and our vaue. The good news is that I think it is entirely within our control. Engaged parents can just say "no." Our kids, all of our kids, need to start understanding that they need to contribute…to our families and our communities. They need to understand their role in our families and our communities…chores…participation…not for money, but because they are part of something and their role is important in contributing to it. Does that make sense? If kids feel like their role is valued and appreciated, I think they value what we do as parents, and appreciate what they have.

  7. Anonymous January 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Surely the founders never conceived of a time when people would have rapid firing guns. The purpose for having a weapon was for a "well regulated militia." That is not why people are buying and using guns today. Perhaps the multiple bullet clips should be more difficult to get and highly taxed. Perhaps only licensed dealers should be allowed to sell the guns and ammunition, not Wal-Mart cashiers. And each weapon should be licensed to the person who buys it. If it used in a felony, the blame goes back to the person to whom it was registered.

    • momof3 January 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA
      Democratic MAMAS
      MAMAS 6th - 8th Graders
      MAMAS 1st - 5th Graders
      MAMAS Pre-School - K
      Party MAMAs

      The ability to form a militia was about rising up against an unelected government…that will NEVER happen in the USA…and, even if it did, our militias would have to defeat the US military…and that could NEVER happen. So, can't we all agree that the purpose of the amendment is now moot. So, it is really about our cultural preference to own guns. The right to protect our property and to use in sport…we don't need an armed citizenry roaming the streets. If we can agree on the role of guns in our society, we can come up with responsible regulation. I think you are on to something…1) bullets should cost more and 2) Walmart cashiers and gun shows should NOT be allowed to sell weapons to random people. Only licensed dealers. I like it.

    • Anonymous January 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Good point. That had never occurred to me that the militia was to go against an UNELECTED government. thanks for pointing that out.

    • Anonymous January 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA

      The second amendment is part of our history and our culture as a nation, although I don't like guns, I get that and I respect it. But, to your point, our founders could never have conceived of the weapons that exist today or the evolution of our strong democracy and powerhouse military. Our founders feared the King of England coming in and imposing rule. That will never happen. Nor would our citizenry ever tolerate a self-appointed dictator. So, we need to adapt to 2011 and realize that if we don't treat gun access/ownership with responsibility, it will be to the detriment of our society.

  8. hudsonmama January 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA
    Party MAMAs

    I still have friends on the other side of the aisle, but not like I used to. People a getting more and more distant from those who have different opinions. Maybe it's because we all now have places like this go, instead of talking to each other face to face… interesting, eh?

    • momof3 January 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA
      Democratic MAMAS
      MAMAS 6th - 8th Graders
      MAMAS 1st - 5th Graders
      MAMAS Pre-School - K
      Party MAMAs

      I don't think there are many places like this…but, I'm happy there is!

  9. Anonymous January 29, 2011 at 6:15 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Although my nest is now empty, the condition of "entitled children" was around and seemed to be perfected during the 80's and 90's. Perhaps the parenting mentality was "I'm a better parent and my children will have an edge if I give them a Tommy Hilfiger layette, french lessons at one, swimming lessons at two, limos transporting them to themed birthday parties, their own room with their own TV, computer, bathroom, mini-fridge, phone…and we ask nothing from them in return but to be perfect! Because of the "opportunities" we provided, we expected no tantrums, no back talk, perfect grades, a perfect soccer game, and perfect gratitude. Think "after all I've done for you…" How dare we wonder why they feel they're entitled! And how dare we resent them for feeling that way. Kids need to receive, it's true. They deserve to have their needs met…and some of their wants. But they also need to know they can contribute to their family and eventually their community and beyond. We start when they are little by building our family culture on respect and giving them everything because it makes us feel successful is not respectful. Creating a family culture where our children can find not only their belonging but also their significance goes a long way in creating authentic empowerment. I think then they can grow up believing they can make a contribution to their community and purpose is the antidote to entitlement and it's consequential distress.

    • Anonymous January 29, 2011 at 11:03 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Perfectly said MAMA – parenting has changed and not for the better. Although intentions might be good, what we are doing is not good for our kids. Kids need to feel part of something, connected to something (their family, their community, their country), not supplemented and pacified by something (toy, game, over-the-top limosine experience). Our kids are growing up empty and disconnected…parents need to wake up and realize that parenting is hard. It is not easy. If you turn on the tv and tune your kid out, we ALL deal with the consequences of apathetic parenting.

Leave a Reply