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Relationship Information > Betrayal As a Parent


As a parent....What is betrayal to you?

In this article I am going to focus on the betrayal of a child.

We all know that to feel a true betrayal, the abuser (betrayer) has to be closely connected to us, someone or something that we have trusted or completely opened our hearts to. Only then can it cut like a knife and rip our insides out in one hit.

To be betrayed by your child is as surreal and confusing as if your child died before you, which has always been said to be very unnatural. When you have raised your child to be strong, honest, and intelligent, you feel that your worries are over. But then that child decides to choose their own road in life, maybe one that will deter them from a positive route, maybe one that will even hurt them. This is where the betrayal comes in.

To you, the parent, this choice is like a siren going off in your head twenty-four hours of your day. To your child it is what they need to do, no reason, no rhyme, they just NEED to do this. So now what? You can cry and scream and yell. Guess what? It does not matter. You, the parent are not their concern at that moment. They are not worried about you. They are only worried about themselves. They are not outright hurting you in their minds. It is not a personnel attack. But you still feel betrayed by their choice in life right now. Betrayal floods your veins every second after the initial attack. It makes breathing almost impossible. Your blood feels poisoned.

Your confusion.............

......... added to the pain puts your mind into an irrational mode. Your first instinct is self-blame, and where did you, the parent go wrong? Surely you missed a lesson on the right choices. Why do parents do this? Why do parents not see this choice made by this child as just that, the child’s choice, or just a need to make a decision without any parental interjection?

Parents fall into the trap of feeling betrayal all of the time, because parents are the foundation of that child and they CARE. They care how their child will survive; they have been down that road and know that it is a dead end. They can see the traps that their child cannot see. They fear for their child’s safety and well being. So yes, they feel betrayed. They feel that all their sweat and tears, not to mention the sacrifices parents go through daily to ensure their child’s wellness and fun in life, are being tossed aside. Parents, hear me now; all the sweat and tears were your choices. They were not requests or demands from your child, so in their minds they owe you nothing. In fact, they still believe that you as the parent owe them a chance to prove themselves. Right or wrong, they need to be let loose to error on their own.

Who ever said that your child would make the right decision on the first try?

Who ever said that your child will not make mistakes?

You are living a bit of an  illusion,  an illusion that all will be perfect because you did a perfect job at parenting. Yes, let no one take that away from you, you did a perfect job, you did the best you could.   Now it is time to let your child spread their wings. It is as much their right to learn and make choices as it was yours to have given them birth. Stand strong, you will need to be strong if they fall. Fear not, they will get up and try again. It is the nature of the every child to succeed. They may not be following roads that you have mapped out for them, but they are definitely traveling a road to their future, a future that you instilled in their brains all those days that you were their mentor in life.

Betrayal is a very good description of how a parent feels when their child does not stay the course in which they have mapped out for them. Not all betrayals are done with intent. Never the less a betrayal delivers equal pain and disappointment. More than not it is simply a stairway of life which each child must climb with no intention to hurt anyone,

Parents, think about it this way, (you choose also here) you choose to feel betrayed or even disappointed if you would prefer that term, by your child’s choice. Keep in mind though, that they are not intentionally betraying you. As in any emotion in life, you can choose not to think negatively. You can use love and compassion to guide your ability to understand that they are doing what is natural in the course of human growth.

Try thinking that your child has learned enough strength and intelligence from your teachings, that they can take on the biggest battles of the world. Sit back and just wait, wait for them to ask for your help. Yes, you already know they will, but just let them be the ones to come forward. Let them think it was their choice to ask you to help. They NEED that choice.

Parents, be very aware of the panic button. Panic invites irrational thinking which leads to irrational actions. Actions that will only push away your child in a time of their needs.  Betrayal as a parent really is not a picnic. Having some faith and patience certainly does reward us in so many positive ways.This betrayal can also go both ways. Your child can also feel betrayed when you do not show that you trust and understand their need to just do it. Your failure to support them can also feel like a betrayal to them.

Just the word itself brings so many feelings!  Maybe we should rewrite a new meaning to the word, "Betrayal".



“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings”.
-Hodding Carter



Dorothy Lafrinere



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