We’ve all heard the comments all too often.

Did you hear the teacher’s kid is suspended? And the minister’s son decided not to go to college, doesn’t go to church every week, and is instead going to try to tour the country with some band! Oh my goodness…these are the people who are supposed to know how to raise their kids to be perfect angels at all times. What a shame.

Even when I was talking about this subject with my husband, he said, “But it is true that it always seems to be those kids you hear about.” I agree. So when the kid who lives in low-income housing and whose parents work their butts off every night on the night shift at the factory gets in trouble, it’s just not newsworthy because apparently, this is to be expected.

So I ask this…what are we doing to our kids?

We pigeon-hole and we expect. We believe they should live a certain way or be a certain person because of who their parents are, where they live, and how much money they have. It’s absolutely ridiculous and it has to stop. Take me for example. Here I am. I’m a mother of two young sons and I’m in the 24th grade. I’m almost a doctor of Special Education and I teach as a lecturer at a nearby University. I know education. I know kids. But here’s what I don’t know.

I don’t know how to raise my sons any better than that person with a high school education working nightly in the factory.

So today was a hard day in the Koch house. It’s never a good sign when the principal walks with your child to the car during after-school pick up. I learned my 4th grade son had pulled a chair out from underneath a female classmate, trying to be funny, and caused her to fall. Thankfully, she didn’t get hurt. But she could have, and I completely agreed with the school’s decision to give my son a day and a half of In-School Suspension (ISS). I’m not going to lie, I cried. For one, my son was crying. That’s not easy on a momma’s heart, but my tears were more of disappointment. I’m sad my son made this choice and truly could have hurt someone. I’m sad he didn’t know better. But alas, I’m sad I just don’t know how to help him understand his actions.

As parents, we can try and try to use our experiences to help our kids make the right choices every time. No parent is immune to the reality of not knowing what to do. But the truth is sometimes our words go in one ear and out the other. Sometimes our kids just aren’t ready to listen. And sometimes our kids have to fall hard in order for the life lessons to really hit home. I’m thrilled my son is in ISS. He made a bad choice, and now he has a principal and teachers telling him the same things he hears at home. We are a team. It takes a village to raise a child.

Just because I’m an educator doesn’t mean my son should be held to any higher standard than any other child. He has to learn in the same ways we adults did to get to the point we are at today. I think of myself as a 4th grader and I’m pretty sure I would have kicked my own ass. I was a liar, a cheater, and an entitled snot. My husband received ISS as a 6th grader. As parents, we all too often forget who we were during the years of trying to find ourselves.

So as an educator, I beg this of you. Please do not believe any child should or should not be any certain way because of who his or her parents are. Every child needs and deserves nurturing, education, a swift kick in the ass at times, and someone who truly believes in their abilities to become great. Not great according to anyone else’s rules, but great according to personal dreams, desires, and goals. Parenting only goes so far, then comes free will.

I will do my job as a mother to love my sons, to teach them about Jesus, to discipline them, to show them a healthy relationship with my husband, to teach them right from wrong and respect, to pray for them, and to back up the others trying to help me raise them (principals, teachers, community members, family, etc.). But mostly, I will do my job as a mother and help my sons understand that bad behavior does not mean bad kid, and bad kids do not exist. Bad choices mean opportunities for learning.

Every parent is in the same boat and we are all navigating choppy waters from time to time. Sometimes you just have to hold on and believe in our kids’ abilities to take the wheel. Every kid, no matter who his or her parents are, needs positive interactions and someone who sees the heart before the behavior. Be that person who believes in kids.

 

Follow our blog and learn more about our story from the following links…

https://jeremyandbaileyblog.com/

www.jeremyandbailey.com

https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbaileykoch/

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Bailey Koch

Bailey Koch is an advocate for those who can't easily advocate for themselves in every way. Married to her hottie hubby, whom has survived 5+ suicide attempts, and mom to two teenage boys, the oldest with High Functioning Autism and youngest with Epilepsy, Bailey is passionate about mental health and parenting through the messy realities. Additionally, Bailey is a Doctor of Special Education and works as an instructor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney preparing future special educators to be advocates for the learning of all. Bailey and her husband, Jeremy, have written and published two books. "Never Alone: A Husband and Wife's Journey with Depression and Faith" details their struggles with severe depression and the journey toward understanding their purpose, accepting help, and finding faith. "When the House Feels Sad: Helping You Understand Depression" is written for families, at a child's level, to open up a conversation about the reality of Depression. Follow their journey, the triumphs and the challenges, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/anchoringhopeformentalhealth and Instagram at @anchoringhopeformentalhealth.

God Gave Him Bigger Feelings

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground, color photo

He came home from school last week and asked, “Why do I get so angry but my friends never do? Why am I not the same?” And it broke me. Because he is passionate and intelligent and kind and intuitive and beautiful. He didn’t always seem different. We never paid attention to how he would line everything up in play. And we would laugh it off as a quirk when he would organize everything dependent upon shape, size, and color. He was stubborn, sure, but so am I. And then COVID happened, and we attributed the lack of social skills...

Keep Reading

We Have a Big Family and Wouldn’t Change a Thing

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four children in front of Christmas tree, color photo

I have just had my fourth baby. A baby who wasn’t expected but very much wanted and very much loved from the moment we found out. When we told people we were expecting, the response was underwhelming. The stream of intrusive questions would then ensue:  You already have your hands full, how will you cope with four? You’ll need a bigger car! Where will they all sleep? Don’t you own a TV? You know how babies are made right? People seemed to have such a strong opinion about me having a fourth child. RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids...

Keep Reading

As a Mom I’m Far From Perfect, But I Hope You Remember the Joy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Happy mother and daughter on the beach

Sometimes, I think about the future when you are grown and I am gone. When all that’s left of me are photographs and memories. I know what the photographs will show. I took most of them, after all. But the memories I’m less sure of. I wonder what will stick with you after all that time. How will you remember me? One day, your grandkids will ask you about me. What will you say? Will you tell them I was always distracted? Will you remember that I looked at my phone too much? Will you tell them I didn’t play...

Keep Reading

Being a Daycare Mom Can Be So Hard

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Woman holding boy on couch, black-and-white photo

Dear daycare mom,  I know it’s hard.  To get yourself up before them, to make lunches, to pack the bags, to get yourself ready.  To go into their rooms, where they are peacefully sleeping, and turn the lights on.  To struggle to get them breakfast, get them dressed, and get them out the door.  I know it’s hard.  To have a morning rush when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch and ease into your day.  RELATED: When a Mom is Late To Work To feel like you are missing out on their childhood at times...

Keep Reading

The PB&J that Saved the Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Table with three plates of PB&J sandwiches, color photo

It was one of those days.  One of those days when your pants are too tight, you wake up with a headache, and the kids’ rooms are disasters at 8 a.m. It was one of those days when I had to physically go into Target for our groceries since I didn’t have time to wait for pickup—I think that alone should sum up exactly the kind of day it was.  The kids were hangry. The toddler was, well, toddler-y. RELATED: Toddlers Are Human Too—And Sometimes They Just Need Grace Two minutes into our shopping trip, she had kicked her light-up rain...

Keep Reading

One Day He’ll Love Another Woman More than He Loves Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

To Benjamin, my 16-month-old son, I am everything. I am the first person that boy looks for when he wakes up in the morning and the last person he wants before he goes to bed. If he is in a room full of people he loves and I am not there, he will search for me.  If he has a problem, mommy is the solution. I am the answer to his cries. I feel confident in saying that I am the most important person in that little boy’s little world. I love it. It is an honor and a privilege...

Keep Reading

To My Sister, Thank You For Being the Best Aunt To My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Aunt with three young kids

“Do you have the kids’ basketball schedule yet?” you texted the other day. I sent back a screenshot of the calendar, and within an hour you responded telling me which game you’d be coming to. It was a simple exchange, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for your love for my kids in that moment. It’s something I think often but don’t say nearly enough: thank you for being such an amazing aunt. Truly.  I know it’s not always convenient. You live three hours away and have a busy, full life of your own—but still, you show up for your niece and nephews...

Keep Reading

In Defense of the Stubborn Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy hanging over dock, color photo

“Lamp. Lamp. Laaaaamp,” my 2-year-old son screamed while stomping his feet. Tears were running down his face and snot was dripping dangerously close to his mouth. I put on what I hoped would be a soothing, motherly tone, “Okay, just calm down.” While trying to maintain eye contact, I slowly reached toward the tissue box. This must be what the greats like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin, or the Kratt brothers feel like when facing a volatile animal in the wild. The sound of a tissue being pulled from the box caused the crying to stop abruptly. His eyes flitted toward...

Keep Reading

Dear Stepdaughter, You Aren’t “Mine” but I Love You as My Own

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hug

First off, I love you. I wasn’t there the day you were born or when you got your first tooth. I wasn’t there when you took your first steps or learned to pee in the potty. But, I have loved you since the day we met, and I’ve been there for every moment since. I’ve given you baths and eventually, taught you how to shower on your own. I’ve brushed your hair, clipped your nails, and taken care of you when you’re sick. I’ve tucked you into bed and kissed you goodnight, held you when you’re sad, chased away your...

Keep Reading

I Was Meant to Be a Boy Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and three boys, black-and-white photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of the day you can pass all your Barbies and dolls on to your daughter and continue that same form of make-believe, to play dress up, do their hair, and go shopping with . . . at least I did.  You grow up, fall in love, get married, and decide to start a family and all those same emotions come rushing back about all you’ll do with your baby girl. You cut open that cake and the blue frosting peeks through, and you’re so excited that you forget all those girl dreams. You...

Keep Reading