What have we done to our children?

By Debbie Moore-Black, RN

None of us are perfect nor do we live in a perfect world. We all carry some degree of baggage.
But something is wrong.
Terribly wrong.

One of my past jobs was Mental Health/Behavioral Health and I think I’ve seen it all.
From the young to the old.
Deviant behavior, cutters, schizophrenia, psychotics, bipolar, homeless, drug addictions, alcoholism, depression, catatonics, rapists, murderers, kidnappers, mental, physical and sexual abusers and the mentally, physically and sexually abused.
But the ones that tear me apart, the ones that break me down
are the children… and that’s when I begin to wonder.
Is this where the mental illness begins? Our formative years?
What is missing?
In our world of cell phones and social media comes bullying and violence and self-harm and isolation.

She was 14 years old.
She was disheveled, hair in her face… rocking back and forth in her assigned hospital bed.
She was hiding. Hiding from herself. Hiding from her mother and step-father.
Hiding from the world.
Her arms and thighs revealed the sadness.
Multiple superficial cuts down her arms and thighs.
My heart wept.
She was awaiting placement to an adolescent group home. She couldn’t live at home anymore.
Step-dad raped her on multiple occasions. Her screams were disregarded. Disregarded by her mom and muffled by her step-dad.
Neglected, physically, mentally and sexually abused at 14 years old.
Her mom wanted her out of the house.
Momma wanted her out of her life.
Momma didn’t want competition in the house.
So Haley had to go.
The husband, the step-father won over Haley. Or did he?
How do we tell Haley she’s valuable and smart and precious and wanted?
How do we regain her self-confidence, her love for herself?
Or does she end up in society as a deviant, a sociopath, an abuser, a drug abuser?
I sat by her hospital bed and listened to her as she rocked herself.
Her tiny voice barely could be heard.

But I wanted to scream. Moms, dads, parents: your kids need love, consistency, boundaries, respect, shelter, guidance.

Please don’t toss them away.

Check yourself out. Stare yourself in the mirror.
Go to their football and soccer games. Attend their school plays and chorus and ballet.
Cheer them on.
Tell them they are smart and beautiful and kind and good.
Teach them responsibility, teach them to clean up after themselves, please and thank you, respect for themselves and for each other, protect them and guide them.
And love them.

Haley was placed in a group home. She had friends her age that became her “sisters.”
She learned love and guidance and she felt safe and protected.
She excelled in school. I knew she would.
But despite all of her new positive life, deep down there was that tiny black hole in her heart.
That missing basic love from her mom.
That painful tragic raping from her step-father.
Hopefully she will be able to grow and turn her pain into creativity.
We discovered Haley was an artist.
We hope you paint the walls and paint the town and paint your life into a new beginning.

Haley, I send you my love.
You’ve only just begun ….to live.
Paint the world baby love. 💖

📞 988 📞 #Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 24/7

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