Mothering the Falsely Accused: Mom Probs
Among the blog posts, a mom-blogger could write, mothering the falsely accused might not be at the top of the list. I am fully aware. Perhaps my calling in life is to be the odd mom out. However, I know you are out there. I hear from you every so often.
I have had a child or two or six be accused of doing something they absolutely did not do. Personally, it has happened to me. It has happened to my husband. And I want to start by saying, although it goes without saying, it is unequivocally miserable.
Furthermore, it is important to state, sometimes our children will be accused, and they are entirely guilty of said infractions. It is not easy to admit to our children’s folly. I stand by this, they are wholly a part of us and wholly apart from us. But their mistakes feel like a direct reflection on who we are as mothers.
The umbilical cord may have been cut, but the guilt lifeblood does not cease to flow.
It is part of our DNA.
I would preface all of that with this, my children are capable of anything. And that sounds harsh, but to not believe that, or worse to say that “my child would never”, is like a promissory note with the universe. Because, yes, they can, and they sure might.
We all stumble. None of us are above any of the world’s folly. And while some things seem more atrocious than others, you never know what the future holds, or what bodies might need to be buried in a remote location.
I would like to think none of us need to teach our children to dig deep. Shallow graves are always the kicker. Also, the husband did it.
But to believe that all of us are capable of anything, about myself and my children, actually is all the more reason to write this post about a child who absolutely would never, but someone accused them and said they did.
One of my children was accused of cheating. She was fidgeting during a test and the teacher was convinced she was moving about because she had stowed notes under her leg. In reality, she was having an allergic reaction to a new medication. She was entirely covered in hives.
Another one of my children was accused of helping someone else cheat. In spite of the fact that my child didn’t even know the cheater existed and wasn’t even in the same location at the time of the “crime.” My baby was penalized exponentially.
And, there are times when we as mothers can rally and help our children, maybe even rescue them from the accusation. Then there are the times that there is nothing to do but beg God to save, as He promised He would.
In this life, there will be injustice. And having watched a child walk that path, I can say I would much rather have to dig a grave with a rusty fork.
Not a shallow grave either. The full six feet deep.
I am not in the throes of any of that at the moment, so maybe it is a good time to discuss, without rage or brokenness, what it looks like to do what you can, and what it looks like to let go. And yes, I also know, it is never easy to let go.
Motherhood very often negates common sense. We were given a life to love, nurture, and protect. And if sense were common, we would never find ourselves in an Emergency Care Triage waiting room, explaining to a child what Sponge Bob is doing, play by play, because their head is stuck in an antique coffee can.
But having walked with the falsely accused, I would say common sense must trump mom sense. And that is the first piece of “advice.” Check-in with the common, breathe and if you must, write out the logic before you unleash the beast.
If you know, or can absolutely prove innocence and help your child, do it.
And if you cannot?
Well, the best help is to offer coping mechanisms. If your child is particularly shy or quiet, this might be a bigger task. If your child is verbally capable and strong, it is easier to suggest they stand up for themselves and what they know to be the truth.
Of my six children, it is probably an equal divide. Our youngest Charlie, handed me his “home folder” the other day and said, “There’s a note in dare and it says how bad fings were today.”
So I asked him, “Was there trouble today?” He responded, “Yes, I did all the fings she said, so don’t worry. Teacher isn’t lyin.”
Even at five Charlie is verbally expressive, where Sam, the 7-year-old is the complete opposite. And while I cannot take the privilege of confidence in the world and its fairness, I am confident of this, I know my kids.
Where my oldest daughter and second son, numbers one and three, or the “odds” will ask for advice or help, my oldest son and youngest daughter, the “evens,” are quieter and prone to fixing things themselves or letting life roll. Sometimes right over them.
Knowing this about my children is paramount in supporting them. Which is sometimes the only help we can offer, our undying support. True love is fearless and bears no contingency. That being said, I believe that one of the most important things we have to offer our children is our complete devotion, even if it turns out they did the thing we thought they never would.
Yep, even that.
Motherhood holds no promises, but of this we can be confident, we know our babies. And knowing them is the most valuable asset when they are faced with a false accusation. This is the place where we can shine and build them up when they feel completely torn down.
Even if they are not talking about the struggle, you are the sanctuary. You are the one that knows how they cope and how they dismantle.
Primary emotions associated with being falsely accused are to feel misunderstood and alone.
So whether your child craves words or just needs silence and homemade cookies, (slice and bake count as homemade, you are making them at home) your confidence in knowing them speaks volumes.
Whether by word or deed, you can support your falsely accused child by modeling your commitment to their character because you know them. In the moment, when they are faced with injustice, this may not seem like nearly enough. However, it is a presence that will go with them out into the cold, cruel world.
I would hope that we are rapidly moving away from the days when it was shameful to seek counseling.
But if you have a child that is quieter than not, do not negate the power of a good counselor.
Depending on the gravity of the accusation, counseling might be a good option anyway. Which brings me back to the common sense versus mom sense statement. Even though we know these human beings and we are an excellent channel for them to feel they are heard and understood, a third party, that isn’t directly impacted by the trauma, is an excellent asset. A counselor can listen and assess in ways that we as mothers often cannot.
And while this might come as a shock to some, I have to say it.
Eventually, your child will not need you anymore.
This is the goal of motherhood. It is a terrible retirement plan. You will pour every ounce of yourself into this human and they, in turn, will grow up and leave you and get their own life.
However, this is part of the agreement. And what I never wanted was for my children to be emotionally impotent in their adulthood. Part of this training is to let them walk out the hard stuff. Counseling was something we quickly turned to aid in this process.
The prelude to that, especially with preteens and teens, is acknowledging the trauma.
We needn’t make a mountain out of a molehill, but a lot of molehills feel like mountains to a teen or tween. They are wired to feel all eyes are on them.
This makes them even more sensitive to a false accusation.
As someone who is regularly accused of being “over” sensitive, I am hypersensitive to my feelings being labeled as such. So I recommend you never do this to your child. There is no tangible gauge on emotion. What one person feels mustn’t ever be branded by how another person might cope.
I am fully aware that I wear my feelings on my sleeve. And, I am not confrontational and I cry easily. This is how I roll. The people that know that about me, and do not negate my feelings because of it, they are my safe places. So if your child is falsely accused of something you see as a minor issue, steer clear of statements like, “it’s not that big of a deal” or “you are overreacting.” Nope. How something impacts them is not ours to justify. And if they are feeling victimized the last thing they need is to feel further persecution from their mother.
I wish I could close this post with all the happy and mushy advice to help your child out of a tight spot.
At the end of the day, life is just hard. And while we know that, watching our hearts wander about outside of our bodies is brutal. We can’t fix everything. But we can be exactly who they need us to be, their moms.
Without contingency or judgment, we can step in and punch a throat or we can slice and bake cookies and do it quietly or with opinion. In any case, where I have walked the road of a child being falsely accused, I have held tight to my faith. And no, I did not say their faith. If your adult child is falsely accused, certainly this is a discussable and helpful aspect. Yes, I have said to a child, “Let’s pray about this,” and “God is our defender.”
And I believe in instilling the hope of Jesus in them. And Jesus was falsely accused. That is a good talking point.
But we cannot make our faith theirs. Especially with teens in the throes of being falsely accused, it is important to remember that this may come across as flippant. If they are in need of action, simply stating, “Let go and let God!” might alienate them. Something I never want. I do not want to alienate them from me, and certainly not from God.
I absolutely believe that God is our defender. And the situation might bring them closer to making the God of my heart, theirs. However, as with any injustice, sometimes God allows things to play out in what seems completely unfair. I feel it wise not to put too much promise on Him for our children.
Think about that.
If you intervene for God, although He says He will defend us, we cannot know for sure how He will intervene. So words like, “God will fix this!” could do infinite damage in your child’s faith walk if they believe “fixing it” means a specific thing and God has something else in mind for them.
Experience may have increased your faith, making you more capable of walking through the fire of being falsely accused. But this, even if it feels like it, isn’t your fire. I do tell my children I am praying for them. They know Jesus is everything to me. And I encourage them to seek Him. But I hope I never make them feel as if they cannot voice their struggles to me, only to have my feedback be, “I’ll pray about it.”
Better a millstone be tied around my neck.
This may not be widely read or applicable to all of my readers.
But if it was just you and your child has been falsely accused, I hope you feel seen and understood.
I woke at 2:30 am, prompted to write it. If it is you, I see you. I have prayed for resolution and that your child will grow in wisdom and integrity. May this be but a blip in their productive and happy life. And, I am so sorry they were wronged. The God of Justice sees and knows them. He will never leave or forsake you or them. His babies.
Jesus be all over you. Love, Jami
Visit my Etsy shop for unique and one-of-a-kind gifts! AND my “Be Still, Seriously, Y’all Need to Calm Down…” t-shirt!