Children are like African violets. (A type of small very ticklish house plant which housewives of my mother’s generation raised.) They are very sensitive in terms of their response to the environment in which they are planted. Children were known to die in orphanages when they were physically taken care of but not emotionally taken care of. Yet some people give more attention to the African violets in their life than to their children.
As each African violet is individual in its needs for light and air and moisture so is each child individual in his or her needs for attention, love, and support. When this is neglected, the plant or child withers and dies inside if not outside like the plant. The payoff of proper care can be great in either case.
Perhaps one can afford to lose many African violets in this process but not even one child. Children can be resilient but still, can be greatly damaged and become of little use to themselves and furthermore to the society that child dwells in.
Moisture, light, and soil and the addition of fertiliser is needed for a violet to grow; but what is needed for a child to grow in the right direction? Love, support, attention, and unconditional love appear to be necessary for this to happen.
Caregivers can not neglect one child while caring for another, This has been shown to happen when a child has a seriously ill sibling. This child needs attention and care too especially if this child gets neglected while the ill child gets urgently needed care.
The sibling does not need to be seriously physically ill to take attention and care away from another sibling. Some children are more attractive to one or both of the parents than other children. How important is it for a parent to have an athlete or gymnast or beauty queen or a scholar over a wallflower, a geek, or any child who is not particularly gifted or attractive
Worse yet are parents who really shouldn’t have any children (P.S. I am not opting for abortion, but I am a champion of adoption in these cases). Sadly what welfare does sometimes does not necessarily encourage parents to be actively involved in bringing children up right.
Wealth is not necessarily the main factor in bringing children up right. The things that are needed to do this often can’t be bought. They often cost more time than money. First is unconditional love which occurs when a person often gives another person love no matter what he or she does or says.
Children need support, not just physical support, but emotional support. A child can do well at something, but this accomplishment might be ignored and/ or at least not supported emotionally by the family or guardian. The child can say to themselves, “Oh, what’s the use?” if the effort that he or she puts into something is unnoticed and they receive little or no help with it on top of that!
Prize winning entries at the county fair can go unnoticed and wining or losing a coveted position on a team or in a play can also be ignored. “You did what?, when said, demonstrates that at least part of a child’s life has gone unnoticed. Worse yet, a child can be hurt or sick and this goes unnoticed until the child is in serious jeopardy.
Psychological needs that go unmet can cause great harm to some children. Children that survive such circumstances can be very resilient but those who don’t are a drain on society and can be lost. Too often the people who make these decisions are incompetent as well. The judge in my family says that custody decisions in his court are given to the least competent to decide.
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Children are our most precious resource. Don’t waste them. This subject is worth repeating. They need love and affection to thrive. Good self-esteem is a must for all children to have. Nor should they lack support. Enough food and drink so they can grow and be healthy and not be hungry. These needs are often not met during weekends or in the summer. For some kids, all the food they get is in school. How can one study and learn when they are hungry? Security and safety are another need. Children should not be afraid or the innocent victims of crime. Adequate housing helps meeting these needs. Don’t forget adequate schools that can meet these needs too.
Finally and still important is an education on the rights of people, the rules we need to respect so that we can all get along, and the development of an inner sense of right and wrong. History is a necessary part of education so we don’t make past mistakes and so that we can also learn from past successes. Children also need protection so that they are not used only to satisfy other people’s needs when it is not in their best interest.
Parents or parent substitutes can be valuable assets to our culture. Those who take on the responsibility of providing for their or other children’s needs. Support is often provided for those parents who fail but not for those who want to succeed at doing this. Laws should be created and adjudicated with the child’s rights in mind. Children are not property and are individuals with innate rights. Custody determinations often forget this. I know of one county court system that penalizes the worst of their judges by having them do custody cases. Yuck!!! Children are not property!
Remember when you were not supposed to share your private parts with anyone, but a parent, or with someone else usually a medical person when your parents were present. Later you were told you could choose to share them when you were an adult; but not with someone you didn’t want to share them with.
Now we can view others’ private parts anywhere on the street, in magazines, on the internet, and in advertisements. It is hard to say, “No, I don’t want to look at that, I don’t want to see you that way, and if you are going to do that either you must leave or I will leave myself.”
It is still alright to feel icky and to refuse to view things that you don’t like. As a long-time psychologist, I thought I had seen everything and nothing surprised me or offended me. If viewing something does not have to be done in the line of duty, I still can say it is inappropriate and switch channels or walk away or if it is my space, tell someone to leave and possibly not to return.
Private parts are your personal possessions and they are there for your satisfaction and enjoyment. This can be spoiled when someone tries to use another person’s private parts for their satisfaction and enjoyment only and will say anything or do anything to make it happen.
Feelings can become detached from the event and the victim may not remember what happened. This is a form of self-defense and possibly a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). This makes it difficult for the victim to bring up from inside him or herself what happened in order to digest it properly. This also can interfere with a person’s appropriate sexual development.
The victim has a large price to pay. What about the offender? Usually as long as he or she can do it, he or she will do it to more and more victims and in worse and worse ways. It could be called an addiction. It usually has to do with what an offender needs to do to get sexually excited and to reach orgasm. Like alcoholics need more and more alcohol, the offender takes more and more risks and does more and more damaging things to his or her victims. The frequency and intensity of the abuse also can increase.
How do you define yourself? By what others tell you? By what you think you should be? By what you really are?
Most of us grow up learning to define ourselves by the first two ways given? Thus we may never learn who we really are! Often we reach middle age or our golden years, not knowing who we are! Then we feel we have lost valuable time actually we could have been being ourselves in our lifetimes.
Who are you? In our society, we are subject to many outside influences trying to control who we are. We are unique human beings (one of a kind) who are shaped by varying outside influences and by inborn internal constraints.
Even identical twins are not entirely identical. In their bodies in some ways, they are mirror, rather than identical, images of each other and, of course, inevitably they are not treated exactly alike by other people and have experiences that are not exactly alike.
Yes, we inherit certain abilities and disabilities from our ancestors; but not always in the way that our family is happy with. Because that is so, many parents and grandparents are unhappy with their children and grandchildren who are unable to follow in their footsteps.
Even if we find idols other than our parents or grandparents to follow after, we might still not be qualified to do so. My parents were not college graduates so when I went to college something that my parents had not had the opportunity to do), I chose to become a psychologist, something that no one in my family had ever done.
I ignored some of my creative artistic and musical inclinations to become a knowledgeable scientist who would successfully do research to prove certain principles in the science of psychology. I felt had to do this to become what I was interested in being a practicing therapist and intuitive diagnostician and this was a preliminary step!
Actually, I was really interested in helping ordinary people before their problems became serious which is something I am doing now by writing this blog. I have also discovered that instinctively I have a good singing and speaking voice and artistic sense. That led me to rethink my past interests in projective drawings and hypnosis and other forms of altered states as an aid in therapy. I had briefly become involved in these things and then rejected them because they did not represent mainline scientific psychology and because I thought I was not talented enough in these areas.
So who are YOU really?
Introducing this topic, I do want to make it clear that I am Pro-Life (especially if you have not figured this out from my past posts). Children do exist in the womb. At eight weeks after conception, all necessary organs for the child exist and the rest of the time in the womb is spent growing and becoming capable of independent existence. In my lifetime, science has found more and more ways to detect life in the womb and to sustain such life either in the womb or out of the womb. The question is at what point do we determine that another human being does not have the right to exist. No one is infallible when it comes to making this decision.
Maybe we should call our children the “throw-away generation”. I think we would all admit that many children are not given the training, experience, and resources necessary to grow up to be responsible adults. How can we consciously keep the next generation in areas of the country that are veritable war zones in inhabitable surroundings with irresponsible adults and penalize those that do sacrifice resources, time, and sometimes careers to help raise responsible adults whether as parents or teachers or volunteers to provide opportunities to help the next generation grow up as safe responsible citizens.
Here is one example of how ignorant one of the most responsible areas of our government operates in one area of my state. Custody determinations cases (often done when a divorce is granted) are given to the judges who are considered the least competent and who have little or no training in this area. This leaves them free to make up their own minds about the cases and/or to depend on professionals who are presented to them as qualifying “experts” by dueling attorneys for each person seeking custody and those agencies who deal with these cases with certain biases as to parental (often not children’s) rights. This was in spite of well recognized and highly motivated diversion courts for domestic violence, drug addiction, and mental illness.
A bad custody decision can result in a “life sentence” for some children. One they didn’t ask for and one they didn’t deserve. It appears to me that in these situations early and appropriate intervention is desired and those appointed to discharge this duty should be well-trained and held responsible for what they do. Is there anything “flippant “about making a custody decision? and shouldn’t the best and most well-trained judges be given this duty. Another point that needs to be made in this area is that the best person for this position of making custody decisions should be someone who is and/or wants to become knowledgeable about child-rearing.
Children at different points in life need different things. Initially, it is important that needs must be met that help maintain the physical body of the child such as food and clothing, shelter, etc. and physical gentle, loving touches and caregiving, and by someone who is concerned about the safety and well-being of the child. How a task is done in caring for a child telegraphs to the child whether or not he or she is safe, secure, and the object of someone’s care and concern.
One of the next steps necessary to a child’s development the ability of the person providing the care and education of the child be aware that children are different and that is not necessarily bad. Nature requires diversity and that means that those providing nurturance be able to able to provide and or seek out sources for the education, training, and future achievements possible for each child.
Children also learn at different rates and in different ways. Having, eight young grandchildren, I have noticed this. Children progress at different rates in different areas and it does not necessarily mean that the child is “backward” and may not catch up in this area later when he or she changes their focus of learning.
Over time, children need to become responsible for certain things and to have certain experiences. For example, you don’t don’t teach a child about dating by not letting them be around the opposite sex until they are twenty-one and then let them figure it out by themselves. Children need also to learn to make certain decisions for themselves and to experience the appropriate consequences. Learning is done in steps and certain concepts need to be acquired and practiced before going on to other more advanced and/or difficult ones.
Small children not only have problems with object recognition in a dimly lit bedroom, they also in early childhood as young as two or three have good imaginations often telling adults that they see or hear something vividly that is only a figment of their very colorful imagination. Combine the two and they were easily could see monsters in the dark which their parents then tell them aren’t real and that they should act as if they are not there and go to sleep. What this really means is that they still “see” monsters but know they have to act as if they weren’t there.
When a child is in bed, they see things from a different perspective than the one they have when they are sitting up or moving around the room. There is the psychological concept of object permanency which is used when a child is able to see an object such as a bottle from different angles and in different types of illumination and still know that it is a bottle and treat it like one.
Another difference is the rods in the retina pick up and transmit the effect of a black and white picture which is more blurry than that the very sharp image that the cones give in brilliant color (which are in the center of the retina) in very bright light. Yes, black and white images in photos and motion pictures are almost gone and “little” ones are probably not familiar with them.Could this be the origin of fears of sleeping in the dark which are topped off by the parent telling them that what they see and what it looks like (how they perceive it) is wrong and their feelings about it are foolish and should be denied so that the parent (not necessarily the child) can relax and go back to sleep thinking that they have banished the monsters effectively and gotten the child to believe there are no monsters in his or her room when they have done no such thing. What they really have done has made the situation more scarey because the child still believes there are monsters but his or her parents don’t believe it and now they can’t depend on their parents for help and must face the perceived danger alone and probably without a light to illuminate the dark and scarey corners.
Don’t make children deny their feelings, they don’t go away, they just stay out of sight. They must be seen from the child’s point of view. For example, mommy, daddy, there is the monster over there and there is his head, there are his eyes and there are his hands and he has claws sticking out. See he is breathing. Fuzzy images in the near dark do look like they might be moving or breathing. It can happen also from a child’s changes in perspective.
Recently I have been conducting experiments of my own. There is a night light on in our master bedroom and I often wake up very early in the morning while it is still dark outside and I see things in the shadows and they even seem to move or look unrecognizable especially my husband’s clothes hung on the bedpost or the covers pushed up in a pile at the end of the bed. It seems very easy to not realize what I am really looking at and could easily identify in broad day light. I’ve seen a goblin with a shiny eyes and a big male pig laying there with two twitching ears. I have even reached out to touch the apparition in order to satisfy myself as to what the image really is.
Have You Been Brain Washed As A Child?
It is likely that you have.
In order to understand our world, we quickly accept our parents and others views of the world and begin to reject or deny those things that don’t fit these preconceived notions. How much evidence from our own senses do we reject in order to fit in? Researchers have found that sounds not used in our native language atrophy if we don’t use them. How many other things atrophy from disuse. Our caregivers teach us what to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to and thus, limiting what we take in in terms of our senses (normal vs. paranormal?). Yes, if some limiting does not get done, a child will be confused by all the input coming from his or her senses and his or her ability to pay attention will be impaired.
For example, still today professionals in my field, psychology, deny that children see monsters in their rooms when they try to go to sleep and give advice to parents that they should reassure their children, when this happens, that this is not so, and not to encourage them to make a big deal of it. This can make children doubt their senses and this can be seen as a form of manipulation.
Recently I have discovered that this is not true. Things do look different in a darkened bedroom with only a little light from a night light or from the hall through a barely open door. Our pupils dilate in these circumstance and we can see more with less light. True, it is the multitude of black and white sensors (which are called rods) in the retina that perceive this as they are the most sensitive in this type of situation of low light. Also their accuracy in perceiving things is only fair unlike that of the cones which are not operating. Cones perceive things in bright light and do so with a lot more accuracy than the rods which take over and dominate when there is not much light. Part of the reason for this is that there are more rods than cones.
I’ve tried this out in my bedroom in the middle of the night and things don’t look the same as they do when the room is well lite. I often initially have difficulty figuring out what things are, even familiar things like my spouse laying besides me. I am an adult and I know that this is happening. What about about a child who naturally sees things differently when the light is dim and he or she may see formless shapes that don’t look familiar and is scared. A parent denying that this happens doesn’t make it go away and further more it doesn’t change what and how children see in their dimly lite bedrooms. It just encourages them to deny that what is really happening is true.
Often the child learns that asking for reassurance doesn’t work. It just teaches them to keep it to themselves and to be afraid of the dark like I was as a child. The only time I could sleep comfortably is when there was another person staying in the room with me or when I had a low wattage light nearby where I could see it. This fear can spread farther if parents’ continue to tell children to deny what they see and how it makes them feel.
For awhile there was a lot of research on the “double bind”and how it was often found in families of schizophrenics (which is a serious mental illness) and their ability to think and reason is also often impaired. A family member would say one thing when he or she obviously looked like and or sounded like he or she meant something else. For example, by holding a small child at arm’s length and saying, “I love you.” Sometimes adults’ think that they are being polite when they do this and often people are trained to not “see” this or if they do, to not comment on it. This can completely mix up a child’s brain. He or she can not be confident that what they are seeing and/or hearing is what they are actually seeing or hearing.
Genuineness can become a rare commodity if this is constantly done. The child’s gut feels one thing when he or she is told that the person with them is not feeling that way. Lately people have been told to trust their intuition or instincts more. So many people have shut off that “still small voice” so often that they don’t hear it anymore. How often have we been taught not only what to think, but also what to feel. Does the word “propaganda” sound familiar? It starts when parents are uncomfortable with children who see and feel things like they really are and that is not what the parent wants the child to see and hear. This makes them uncomfortable because they don’t want a child to feel or think that way for some reason. What is the difference, if any, between this and outright deliberate lying?
We naturally are able to perceive many different things and people find it easier to deny this ability in others so they can control them, not only what they do, but also what they think. We are not a bunch of sheep who must be herded in the direction that the “shepherd” wants us to go for his or her own convenience or nefarious ends.
How often have we heard the response, “No, I am not angry,” when a person obviously is. Lying is often a convenient thing to do. It aids in the manipulation of others and has almost become a way of life for many if not all people. In this society we continually put people down and this most often happens after we have encouraged someone to tell the truth.
Don’t put people down. There are enough people doing it already. Bring them up instead. No wonder we are so sensitive. Sometimes I feel that I should be wearing a suit of armor. This is often done in childhood when it is most easily done. Children are innocent and don’t realize what is being done to them. Do people put other people down just so they can bring themselves up? Sounds phony doesn’t it?
What do you think? Continuing to explore this issue, was your childhood family motto:”Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?” More on this in a future post.
Social interaction is crucial to children learning language. Watching a video or listening to an auditory version is not enough. Are children becoming autistic because people in our world are becoming less and less involved? What about a good old fashioned conversation or a satisfying read? Being unable to interact with others is a very real problem and I can see the day when children have virtual play dates? How removed from reality is this? Will we all sit home and rely on clouds and the internet to keep us in touch? Will the ethers be doing our talking? It will no longer be necessary to read or write as computers will communicate for us just by talking and ultimately will thoughts and images not words be used to share ideas?
This just started out as a blog about how children need human contact to learn and ultimately to thrive. Scarey isn’t it? For example, someday people will not sign their names, not just because they did not learn cursive writing; but because reading and writing are no longer considered necessary. We have done this since the dawn of the machine age and eliminating the human factor in creating things that we need and use. Is it possible we are also eliminating the good vibrations that many skilled, dedicated craftsmen and craftswomen put into their work.
It all depends on your point of view.
The problem is that in your garden you may have been taught to see certain plants as weeds and which should be “weeded” out and others as flowers which should be cultivated. Many people when they plant their gardens expect to get flowers but the truth is that when you plant a seed, you may get not get what you expected which is someone like you and you don’t know how to cultivate them. How do you handle this mystery seed as a disappointment or as a wonderful new discovery if you got what you were hoping for. Why take it out on the plant, because you have to learn new cultivating techniques and, for example, provide different amounts of water, different amounts of sunshine or shade, and different kinds and amounts of plant food as well as protection from different types of insect infestation. Some require more space than others or grow taller and block the sun getting to other plants and/or your view of them. You can look on this as a pleasant surprise or as a serious disappointment and/or you might learn new things about growing different “plants”.
The famous Kennedy family had their developmentally disabled daughter unsuccessfully operated on to deal with her unconventional behavior and then institutionalized her because they couldn’t cope with her unfortunate behavior changes after surgery and her perceived inability to benefit (they thought) no longer from family life with the other children. Could she who was seen as an unfortunate weed that needed to be changed been raised successfully (at least for her if not for them) in the in the Kennedy family compound? They felt that they couldn’t cope with her behavior and poor ability to comprehend and benefit from what was going on around her. It was an unfortunate decision and at the time, they didn’t know that the operation would not help her, but injury her further.
Did you get what you individually needed to grow and flourish as the flower that you actually were or were you treated unfortunately as an unwanted weed? Also what were your parents considered to be by their parents, teachers, and even peers? Flowers or weeds? and how were they raised? Taking account of the differences as well as the similarities is important in raising your own off spring or the children you have contact with, students, nieces and nephews, etc. . Consider such happenings as a pleasant surprise and as a splendid way to learn new things and see life from a different point of view and not as dealing with an unwanted pest and, at best, as at least an inconvenience to have such a child and set them the child up for the rest of his or her life to be seen as a failure or to be at the least second best when compared with a sibling or or siblings who might more meet your expectations and fit your style of dealing with life itself.