¿Gritar? Los adultos no, los niños sí

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“You are not obligated to respect adults

if they do not respect you”

(Encontrado en Pinterest; guardado en 1.1 K boards.

“No estás obligado a respetar a los adultos si ellos no te respetan”)

Imagina a una niña que está a punto de ser víctima de abuso sexual. Tomemos en cuenta que el abuso sexual en niños, o incluso en adolescentes, usualmente no incluye violencia, ya  que en la mayoría de los casos, el crimen es perpetrado por un adulto de confianza (familiar, maestro, cuidador, sacerdote, etc) que sabe que tiene control sobre el menor, y que lo puede manipular, ya sea con amenazas, o peor, convenciéndolo de que lo que van a hacer está bien.

Dicha niña sabe que tiene que respetar a los adultos, a como de lugar. Ha sido enseñada a ser una niña buena. Cuando en su casa algo le disgusta, y se le ocurre reclamar a sus padres, es inmediatamente callada. Lo mismo en la escuela. ¿Gritar a sus padres porque piensa que le están haciendo una injusticia? Si ella hiciera eso, la castigarían. Ella sabe que jamás una niña decente le grita a un adulto, ya sea un familiar, maestro, cuidador, sacerdote, etc.

Sus padres le han educado en prevención de abuso sexual. Le han puesto videos muy apropiados al tema, en donde le explican que si alguien le hace algo que no le gusta, o le pide hacer algo que no le gusta, debe “GRITAR, decir no, y pedir ayuda”.

Pero esa niña una vez, hace tiempo, le gritó a un adulto. Como respuesta, tuvo más gritos, regaños, reprimendas y castigos. El adulto le gritó de vuelta, culpándola por exactamente lo mismo que ella reclamaba con sus gritos. Ella aprendió que los adultos siempre saben más que los niños, pues ya están crecidos; que los niños no saben, pues apenas están aprendiendo.

Si mis hijos piensan que estoy siendo injusta con ellos, o que les estoy faltando el respeto de alguna forma, tienen todo el derecho de gritarme. Yo no soy infalible por el hecho de ser adulto. También es posible que si me gritan, no tengan la razón. O que se deba simplemente a que tuvieron un mal día, y que estén gritando inapropiadamente. Igual los dejo, porque tienen el derecho de cometer errores. Lo que sí estoy segura es que quiero que ellos sepan que tienen que exigir respeto siempre, no importa que sea de su mismísima mamá.

Pero, si mis hijos me gritan, me estarían faltando el respeto, ¿no?

Así es. Pero ¿es que sí me van a respetar, si yo no les permito gritar, gritándoles castigos y amenazas como respuesta?

No. Lo que van a hacer es tenerme miedo, no me van a respetar.

Sin embargo, si me controlo, y les hablo de manera firme, puede que si lo hagan.

(Me viene a la mente una imagen de Trump y otra de Obama ¿Quién quiero ser?)

Para mí es importante que mis hijos sepan, que si para protegerse, ellos deben faltarme el respeto a mí, o a cualquier otro adulto, que tienen todo el derecho de hacerlo. En otras palabras, que pueden gritarme. El adulto siempre estará en una posición de ventaja, simplemente por ser adulto, y los niños tienen derecho a defenderse con las únicas armas que tienen: gritar, decir no, y pedir ayuda.

Si hay personas que no debemos gritar, ni en el hogar, ni en ninguna otra parte (a menos que estemos en una marcha, un concierto, o a punto de ser víctimas de agresión sexual o física) somos los adultos. Nosotros somos los crecidos, los que debemos saber controlar nuestras emociones.

Por otro lado, pienso que muchos problemas de depresión, ansiedad, transtornos alimenticios y adicciones, se hubieran podido evitar si a esas personas les hubieran permitido expresarse en su casa libremente, cuando eran niños o adolescentes. Si hubieran podido hablar, sin temor a ser juzgados, burlados, callados, o castigados. Los niños y adolescentes sienten una gran impotencia cuando no se toman en cuenta sus opiniones o sus sentimientos, y a veces el grito es lo primero que se les ocurre para llamar nuestra atención. A lo mejor, si hubieran podido gritarles a sus padres, no habrían tenido que callar sus gritos con adicciones, reorientar su agresividad hacia ellos mismos (o hacia los demás), o llamar la atención por medio de mal comportamiento.

Los adultos de la casa, son los padres. Los que tenemos infinidad de recursos y libertades para lidiar con nuestras rabias, somos los adultos. Nosotros somos los que debemos controlarnos, los que no debemos gritar. Nuestros hijos no tienen nuestros recursos: no tienen la madurez para evaluar una situación que causa stress, no pueden ir a un psicólogo por cuenta propia, no pueden ponerse a hacer un curso de yoga o meditación si así lo desean, no pueden o no saben cómo expresarse apropiadamente, no tienen dinero a su disposición, sus vidas dependen casi completamente de las decisiones de sus padres, en fin, el control que tienen sobre su vida es muy limitado, y a veces lo único que pueden hacer, o que se les ocurre hacer, es gritar. Nosotros, los adultos, tenemos muchas otras opciones.

Así que en mi casa, mis hijos pueden gritarme. La que no puede, o no debe gritar, soy yo. Esta afirmación no es un reflejo de mi vida, pues lamentablemente, he gritado mucho. Sin embargo, sí es mi propósito: cero gritos de mi parte, y cuando ellos griten, infinita paciencia, zen mode, y averiguar qué es lo que está pasando, sin gritar de vuelta. Si hay alguien que debe comportarse de manera madura, soy yo.

Video de prevención de abuso sexual: El libro de Tere  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6jlo2OFKXQ

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#MientrasTantoEnVenezuela – Parte 1

Caracas Venezuela from Valle Arriba Photo credit: Igvir

… la cajera del supermercado dice “sí, usted puede comprar atún hoy, porq es el día de su número de cédula. Pero no cuatro latas, sino solo dos. El sistema dice q con eso usted llegó a su cuota mensual”.

… se oye a alguien comentar: “me había quedado sin efectivo, así que el tipo de la bomba (estación de gasolina) me dijo q no importaba, q se lo pagara mañana”.

… con 1 US $ puedes echar gasolina a tu auto unas 365 veces ( 1 US $= 730 Bs y un tanque lleno de gasolina de un carro pequeño = 2 Bs).

… entro a una tiendita naturista solitaria, con mesitas de palets y pizarra escrita en tiza de colores. Al otro lado de la calle, un pequeño supermercado se desborda de gente haciendo fila. Entonces oigo a una cajera q le dice a la otra, mientras ambas ven hacia afuera: “qué horror trabajar ahí. Tienen q enfrentarse a las peleas q se arman en la cola todos los días” y yo, sintiéndome dentro de una pecera desde dentro de la tiendita, les pregunto “y cuánto cuestan estos Kale chips?”

… estoy en el asiento de copiloto del auto, conversando con mi esposo en el medio de un tráfico inmóvil … cuando veo a dos motorizados asomándose en las ventanas de cada uno de los carros q tenemos en frente.

… me entero que una de las mejores discotecas del país está en una cárcel (Disco Tokyo).

… me asomo desde un edificio de una avenida concurrida de Caracas, y me parece curioso q las tiendas, y otros negocios q están a la vista, estén cerrados. Una tienda de ventas de repuestos de autos tiene una cola de gente delante (yo me imaginaba q estaban esperando a q abrieran). Se lo comento a mi esposo, y me aclara: “es q no están cerrados. Te atienden por una ventanita. Cuando cierran, ponen una santamaría (puerta de metal q se desenrrolla ) sólida q está delante de las santamarías normales de rejas q ves ahora q están abiertos.Toda la avenida está así, me di cuenta el otro día”.

… me doy cuenta q no hay jabón en el baño de un centro comercial. Se lo comento a mi hija y ella me responde -con su mejor cara de Pinkie Pie- : “pero no está tan mal… por lo menos hay papel toilet!”.

… le digo a mi hija q mejor no llevara su celular al colegio porq se lo podían robar, y hoy veo esta noticia de otro colegio cercano (donde yo me gradué).

… les expliqué a mis hijos por qué no era buena idea ahorrar el dinero q les habían regalado, sino q era mejor gastárselo tan pronto como pudieran.

… mi hijo de 5 años me dice: “Verdad q vivir en este país nos está volviendo locos?” “Y por qué lo dices?” “Por los mosquiiiitos, las mooooscas, las cucaraaaachas… uff, nos están volviendo locos!”

 @chicadelpanda

 

Too many little bills

En menos de dos meses el precio de la moneda estadounidense subió 104% frente al bolívar en el mercado negro, pues el pasado 13 de mayo el dólar cruzó la barrera de los 300 bolívares.

I was outraged when I saw how easy it is to register to vote here, vis-à-vis how it is abroad. If you live in another country, the list of papers that you have to hand in is so long, the time frames are so short, and the places where you can register are frequently so far away, that in a lot of cases you just can’t vote. But here, I just had to go to the closest subway station, make a  two hour  line, show my ID , and voilà ! I was done! I just couldn’t believe it!  So, if you are a Venezuelan expat, don’t feel guilty because you can’t vote!  (I’m saying it because I did feel guilty, but not anymore!).

Maybe what I’m going to say won’t be nice for everybody to hear, but I’ll say it anyway. I recently read a banner that said “Venezuela is the best country”. I immediately thought, no wonder so many Venezuelans are seen in Panama as smug people who look down on Panamanians. Because Venezuela, of course, is not the best country. The best country is a fantasy, it doesn’t exist, just as it doesn’t exist the “best person”.

I must say too, that Venezuela is not the only nation that thinks that it’s “the best”, a lot of others do, but what happens with that? Every expat knows it:  if you are in such a country, some people look down on you. So, now that we come from a country that is not “the best” , are people looking down on us? Unfortunately, although not everybody, I’ve noticed that some people do, as if Panama was a lesser country.

The dollar in the black market was – more or less – 600 bolivars yesterday (to know more, click on the image), so,  1000 Bs.  (The maximum amount of money that you can withdraw from an ATM machine at once),  is a little less than 2 US$  (I’m talking about my bank, but it’s similar with the other banks). Nevertheless,  you can repeat the procedure several times (only if you are in an ATM machine from your bank, otherwise the limit, is 1200 Bs.) until you get to the maximum allowed per day, which is 16000 Bs. This might seem non sense, but this is the reason: the pack of bills for 1000 Bs. is the thickest pack the machine can handle, so even if the dear ATM wanted to give you more than that at once, it just can’t because it wasn’t built for that.  But the people who programmed the machines don’t think you need any explanation, so what you read in the screen (if you want to withdraw 5000 Bs. or any amount bigger than 1000 Bs.) is “Sorry, we can’t deliver cash at this time”. So you’re all, “crap, this one doesn’t have cash either” (there is, along with everything else, a shortage of cash, so it’s not such a dumb assumption) until someone clarifies the misunderstanding telling you, “oh no, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have cash, it’s just that you requested for too much (too much?!) money; just ask for the maximum that the screen tells you”.

So that’s how I learned everything that I just explained, and that’s how I ended up only with 1000 Bs. in my pocket, because my patience had been worn out, and I just couldn’t  repeat the process four times more.

Til’ the next post…

Michelle

@chicadelpanda

A new meaning for simple pleasures

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“In the west, the daisy is a symbol of simplicity”.

It’s funny how I once  thought that “the West” meant actually the whole West, all the countries in the Americas, Europe and Africa. Sometime in the past, probably at the university, I realized that “the West” is just USA, Canada, Europe, and sometimes, Australia and New Zealand.The East would be Asia and the islands of the Pacific (sometimes known as Oceania) and the South would be the rest: Latin America and Africa. I also realized a long time ago, that in most political or economic articles from the West, the South doesn’t exist, it’s just West and East, and the rest is an addendum.

Anyway (F.Y.I. I’m writing from a city from that addendum, a city called Caracas) it’s a good thing that I changed my life style to a more simple one some time ago, given my present situation. It’s very convenient that I stopped freaking out if my house didn’t look as the picture that I had in my head, and that I stopped obsessing about having a perfectly designed solution for every need in my life. It’s a good thing, too, that we don’t have as many stuff as we used to have, because we’re comfortable now in our small apartment. So in many ways, living in this city fits my life style.

But in many others it doesn’t. This new mind set of having to buy anything basic that you see at any given moment, is driving me crazy. What am I talking about? Well, in Venezuela there’s a shortage of almost every basic item that you can imagine. What’s a basic item? Something that can make your life hard if you don’t have it. For example: soap, detergent, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper; milk, chicken, fish (in my case, since my kids don’t like meat), eggs, salt, oil, sugar, butter, flour, etc. So what everybody does is that if you find one of these products with the regulated prices of the government, you buy it. It doesn’t matter that you already have lots of the stuff at home. Sometimes you share it with friends and family.

For example, my brother-in-law, looking at my impressed face when I saw that he was bringing yet another 3 kl pack of detergent, felt the need to explain himself: “Now we can find it, but then, Caracas could be months without detergent ; and what do you do if you can’t wash your clothes?” He also bought a shampoo for my sister-in-law, since she was running out of it, and more tooth paste for us.  I’ve been here for almost two weeks and I already feel like we’re preparing for a war. I told my mom, regarding all the milk that we’ve stocked at home: “But what do I do with so much milk? Please, give some to Jane Doe”, “No, no ” she said, “keep it, you have kids and we don’t know what’s coming”.

Anyway, so far, in these 13 days that we’ve been living here, we’ve had everything. Well, not everything, I had to drink my coffee without cinnamon for 11 days!  But I finally found it two days ago! Yeah!  So, in spite of having to hoard a lot of stuff in my house ( which is not minimalistic at all), I get very happy by the simple pleasures of life, like drinking coffee with cinnamon!  Not that bad for someone that wants a simple, minimalist, life style.

Til’ the next post.

@chicadelpanda

Little things that are important

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It’s priceless to see my two kids informing proudly to their grandparents that there’s a new white flower. Somehow, the fact that they are witnessing it, makes the whole event theirs, not my mom’s (even though she’s the one who planted it and took care of it). Looking at the happiness in my mom’s face because finally someone could appreciate at length the importance of her plants and flowers, is priceless, too.

Same thing looking at the thrill in my brother-in-law’s eyes when S,  my five-year-old kid, was demanding gnocchi. A second later he was calling his mom to tell her about the emergency, and S got his craving handled, but first, he got a lesson on how to make gnocchi in his grandparents’ kitchen (priceless, too). Needless to say, they were also relieved that someone finally could understand the importance of gnocchi, and pasta in general.

Now, let’s talk about something I’m happy about, maybe not so poetic as flowers or pasta, but something important to me anyway. Today, July 3rd, is International Bag Free Day and the county where I live in Caracas (Alcaldía de Chacao) decided to join efforts with Tierra Viva (an ecological NGO) to promote it. So I’m thrilled to know that some else realizes the importance of some thing that I really care about!

Til’ the next post.

@chicadelpanda

bolsas

Mosquito shock

You’d think that moving from Panama City  to Caracas is not such a big change. Well, in part that’s true. But then, every tiny thing that is actually different, startles you.

For example, there’s the bug situation. In Panama there are millions of them, but they were usually outside of our 23rd- floor apartment. In Venezuela, well, let  me quote S, my five-year-old son: “This is like a jungle: there are ants, mosquitoes, flies and bees!” The issue here is that they aren’t just an annoyance, they actually interfere with my sleep, not because they wake me up, but because they sting my kids, who are allergic, and then, they wake me up for every itch (all this wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that it could happen randomly at any time, like at 3 am). But we’re solving the situation, we repaired the mosquito protection for the windows, turned on the fan and the air conditioning, and the kids are using mosquito repellent. Did I tell you that the mosquitoes stung him on an eyelid, so he spent the next morning with a half- open eye? Not funny.

Other comments from S about Caracas have been: “I don’t like this city. The buildings are dirty, I like the clean buildings of Panama”. That’s not completely true, since there’s a lot of dirty buildings in Panama too. The difference is that over there, there’s another lot of pretty, brand new buildings, that we don’t find over here. But the next day, when we were driving in the Cota Mil (the highway that is the limit between the Avila mountain and Caracas), he yelled, “Wow, this country is so big!” So I presume the city might be a little bit more interesting for him now.

Until the next post!

Living over a crevasse

A Climber Steps over a Crevasse in Root Glacier Lámina fotográfica

Can you get used to have your heart broken? That’s what I would like to say when people assume that, since I’ve moved so much, it’s easy for me to move from one country to another. When I live in a place, I have a love relationship with that place. Having lived in six different countries is like having had six different partners that I loved, with whom I had experiences together and had lots of dreams together. When that relationship is broken, that is, when I move, there’s always a period of mourning and adaptation to my new reality. I wish there was a name for that period, when you don’t feel you actually live anywhere, when you are suspended between two worlds, with nothing beneath you. I wish I could say that I live there, in that emptiness.

Every time I move it feels a little bit like dying, because the life that I used to have is over. A little friend of my daughter, five years old at the time, expressed her  sadness in her own words (she had just moved from France to Chile): “Mom, where is my life in Paris?”  Well, it’s nowhere, it doesn’t exist anymore. What do you call something that has ceased to exist? Even when we try to hide it, moving from one city to another, or moving from one country to another, there always comes a time of mourning. I’ve healed many times in the past, so I know I will heal this time too. But it’s a process that I cannot speed up (believe me, I’ve tried, and I’ve failed miserably). So, can you get used to have your heart broken? No. You just know, that “this, too, will pass” and that one day (probably in a year or so) you’ll wake up and realize, amazed, that you’d made the crossover without realizing it.

That emptiness is actually filled with flammable gases: sounds, sights or smells that don’t have any meaning for other people, can cause an explosion inside me. The other day, watching a soccer game of Copa América, tears came out of my eyes, not because of the Venezuelan team, but because of the sight of the Andes mountains covered in snow; that mariachi song that suddenly played when I turned on my parents’ car; or the Facebook message of my friend and neighbor in Panama City; or the many places that I’ve visited here in Caracas, that make me nostalgic, but at the same time inadequate (I mean, old) that  are telling me that I should be  a fifteen, or a twenty-year-old  to belong to them.

Living over a crevasse is not comfortable (you’d think!) so the first instinct is to try to cross over as fast as you can. On top of it, a lot of the people that are already on the other side (or that have never left that other side) don’t  get what´s the matter with you, why don’t you jump once and for all. This is why: because if you don’t do it right, you might fall. So please, if you are around our family, or any other family that has just moved from another city or country, be patient. It takes time. And … go watch that awesome Pixar movie, Inside Out to get a glimpse of what goes on inside our heads.

Until the next post…

Michelle

@chicadelpanda