Being an advocate for my child is a balance between soft and strong

Being a mom has come with many challenges. When my kids were babies, I didn't imagine the questions, decisions, and obstacles that I would face. Of course, the tender, endearing moments outweigh the heavy ones. Still the challenges leave me up at night wondering if I acted to softly or too strongly. Only time will tell.

As my kids get more involved in school and sports, I have found that I need to be their advocate. Yes, I said advocate, not cheerleader, supporter or hand-holder. I really mean advocate. In my mind, being my child's advocate is the person who is my child's voice when they can't be heard. Of course, I am their supporter too, but I want to be more proactive in their activities.

Being the advocate, it is imperative to find a balance between being soft and strong. If you are too adamant to a coach or teacher, your child's voice may echo into no man's land. While being too soft, your child may be trampled by louder participants. Over time, I've dealt with both scenarios.

Last year at my son's swim meet, I watched as another participant continually hit, pushed and acted inappropriately toward my son. At first, I took a soft approach. I spoke to my son and said stay away from this kid. Unfortunately, the problem child was regularly lined up with my son.

After a time, I spoke with the hosting team's advisor and asked for more supervision over the swimmers in line. I did not point out the trouble maker nor my son. I simply asked for a supervisor to more closely monitor the line-ups.

When I saw my child get hit, I lost it. There was no more soft. There was only strong (and quite loud). I broke all the swimming rules and ran out to the deck and got the head coach involved. Since she knew me well her shocked expression knew that there was a problem. I advised her of the incidents and said that I wasn't moving till that child was removed. In a few minutes, the child was taken off the deck and there were no further problems.

Could I have handled the situation differently? Quite possibly. Did my actions cause the effect that I wanted? Yes. Was the outcome because I was a strong adovacte for my child? Most definitely.

I look at this situation as an understanding on how to handle my children's situations. If I had continually brought every problem to the coach, would she have understood the seriousness of the situation? Probably not. Could my child have suffered if I didn't speak strongly enough? Possibly. Would I act exactly the same if the situation occurred today? I don't know.

In the end, it is a difficult balance to determine when to act softly and when to act strongly. Everyone has their own opinions on this issue. Understanding how and why people act can be helpful to guide your own actions.

The debate over comfort and softness versus strength and durability runs throughout everyone's lives. Sometimes the most basic needs, like toilet paper can spark a huge debate. Join in the soft vs strong debate on the Charmin Facebook page. There are lots of prizes up for grabs for participants.

No matter what you believe, share your voice today. Vote on the Charmin Facebook page and help determine the soft vs strong debate today.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post as part of the SocialMoms and Charmin blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. For more blog posts on this topic, click here.

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