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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There are some things a woman should look out for when establishing a new relationship with a man. Don’t believe that his last girlfriend or wife deserved to be labeled as the “bad” one in the relationship. Be careful if either you or he came from a family where violence was common or accepted if a woman or child did not do the right thing according to the man of the house. Be aware too that men or women can come from families where violence was common among the women of the family.
There is no real excuse for violence. When anger is considered “justified” because the person who is angry thinks that someone or something made him or her feel that way and that is enough to justify acting it out. This can lead to a very explosive situation. Add alcohol to this in some people and the situation becomes even worse.
Being the only man in the family, besides my elderly grandfather, my dad was called upon to “handle” his brother-in-law when he was in an alcoholic rage in order to protect my mom’s crippled sister and kids. My dad had been quite an athlete in his youth but this did not always help when my uncle was threatening them with a butcher knife. Also, my younger brother was still at home and had to witness this. I don’t think Police usually made domestic violence calls back then.
Women and children and even some men are not punching bags and it can leave a strong impression on some children even if they themselves don’t get hurt. “Don’t hit him; hit me” was a brave statement made by a sister when her brother got hit, not her. How helpless does a child feel when they watch their sibling or parent get hurt on purpose when the other parent has a “mad fit” and takes it out on him or her?
The witches (at least the bad ones) have gone and people don’t worry about curses being put upon them anymore or do they? When people put you down to make themselves feel better or to raise themselves above you, are they really putting a curse on you especially if you or those around you tend to believe them? The power in a curse is usually the strength that of the belief that the victim has in them.
Also, can putdowns be a form of domestic abuse? Yes, a person can be emotionally as well as physically abused leaving them browbeaten and powerless. Have you ever known a person who doesn’t ever seem to have something good to say about a family member and worse yet, other family members start to do it too.
Doing it to children is a heinous offense. They often do not have a way of knowing that it is not true and they believe it. Other family members, especially other children, will start to do it too. “Monkey see; monkey do” Also siblings seeing it done to a fellow sibling might think that they might be next so they keep the spotlight on their sibling’s faults and deficiencies.
It is not a good joke if the person who is the object of the joke doesn’t laugh at it too. When this happens to children, they are often reduced to tears. The perpetrators say they don’t know why the object of the joke doesn’t think it is funny and they label him or her a “bad sport.”
Frightened young girls get pregnant so they have somebody to love and young boys like to feel studly and see how many babies they can generate. Neither is a good reason to have a child. Nurturing a child is also a full-time process which involves being selfless much of the time. It also requires good judgment which is not fully developed until young adulthood.
Our welfare state facilitates irresponsible parenthood and children often raised without discipline or love. How many children are thrown out on the street and have to learn how to survive there on their own.Then we chastise them (not the parents or the state) for doing this and becoming angry at society and not fitting in there.
No wonder these children don’t trust anybody. Yes, the ghetto (where many of these children end up) doesn’t always teach middle-class values. In order to survive, these children do what they can to live on the streets or with parents and foster parents that don’t care or use them for their own purposes. They often only want the check. Worse yet these parents may have been raised the same way that they are raising their children.
Parents having the right to raise or not raise their biological children as they see fit does not take into account the rights of the children. They also go so far as to often use abortion as the method of choice when it comes to practicing birth control.
I think it is a case of blame the victim (which is the child) for the sometimes irrefutable abuse they sustained whether caused by the system, natural parents, and/or foster parents.
Last, but not least, parents who do a good job of raising their children by giving their kids love, discipline, and values do not get rewarded by the system. There are no rewards for doing a good job, just for doing a bad job.
Child custody also gets handled often by people who do not know what they are doing, what the child needs, and what constitutes a good parent. If they do know these things they are hampered by laws and regulations that often don’t make any sense.
For example in one northern county of my state, only the worst judges, those who are not doing their job in other venues, get “demoted” to doing child custody cases and they receive no training on how to do this in a way that would benefit the child whose custody is being determined.
I have proposed that that county develop special training for these judges determining custody cases. It would include forty hours of hands-on training by professionals in the field of custody determination. Doing it this way ensures that judges would actually participate and not just skim through some information on the subject. It should also be a mixed group so no judge would be swayed in a particular direction.
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Criticism and put-downs can be a form of mental abuse and so can sarcasm and being told that you can’t take a joke. Constant volleys of such “verbal” abuse can wear a person down and definitely not help them back up. It is often used in arguments to denigrate the opinions and/or wishes of those being put down. The partner might find him or herself spending more time defending themselves than having a constructive arguement.
Nagging can result from such interactions. If a person is never allowed to win an argument by the means cited above, they may resort to nagging as a substitute for not being able to win in an argument. Nagging can be a symptom of a relationship where one person doesn’t do something that the other person wants and in an argument over this issue, the other person feels that they don’t have to a chance to win.
Such forms of interaction discussed above can result in a negative living situation with one or both persons involved feeling “less than” and unable to cope. Being constantly “put-down” does not generate a comfortable situation and it can become a constant war zone in which one person always wants to win and the other person doesn’t feel they have a chance.
Punishment is not a good way to encourage certain forms of behavior; positive reinforcement is. Also on many issues over which partners fight there is often no one “right” answer. Many such arguments are about personal preferences and not absolutes although some people like to think that they are. Mother nature and our environments are set up to encourage certain types of tastes and certain types of skills.
For example, if I have sensitive hearing, I may prefer certain types of music over other types. Does that make me right or wrong when I argue with a person with different sensitivites and experiences. For example, I do not like most “bluegrass music,” certain old time country music, and polkas (unless they are extremely “lively”). However that doesn’t mean that I don’t like music as a whole.
It often boils down to a whole issue of control. If I maintain that the things I like and like to do are the only “right” ones than I can be sure that I won’t have to do or experience anything different that I might not like. In one relationship I was in, I was not allowed to eat any onions cooked or raw at home or away from home for he could always tell if I did and he didn’t like them.
Nobody is happy if only one person is in control of the relationship. The winner might get tired of having to tell the loser everything they are supposed to do and the loser might get tired of never having “any choice”. This can be the motive for murder where one partner kills the other.
It is not difficult to look around and see parents trying to live out their thwarted dreams through their children. In fact it is so frequent and so common that I can’t give some examples because they are so close to home. I have even done it myself trying to make up for my husband (he was a farmer and also ran a dairy) not doing “father-son things” with our son. I was a dramatic failure at most of those things. It was almost as if the “cosmos” knew what I was trying to do and was working against me. The stories are “funny” now but not when they happened. They could have made for a situation comedy.
Remember my recent post on this website, “Weeds Versus Flowers”. This gives some background for why this is a problem. I think we all have a purpose in this life and no one person’s purpose is exactly like another’s and no matter how much we admire a person and want to emulate them we can’t as our life experiences and inborn abilities are not exactly the same.
I greatly admire Joyce Meyers; a Christian author and speaker; yet, I probably would not be happy doing exactly what she does and has done to get to where she is . I have learned that as a psychologist. I admired some of my professors. I thought I wanted to emulate them; but I found some of the work boring and unsatisfying and some of the theoretical thinking rather narrow minded. (Yes, I’ve always been very competitive.)
Then when I became acquainted with some of the great therapists, I felt doomed to fail because no matter how much I read and studied about them, I couldn’t get “it”, whatever it was they had. All along the way I (to some extent) ignored what I had to give and enjoyed doing and that I had had some experiences which taught me something which is where I am at today. I once toilet trained a young boy by playing miniature basket ball with him in play therapy.
Back to the subject of raising children to fulfill their life purpose and to use their life experiences as learning experiences while also using their own inborn talents. Many parents did not get to do this themselves and have tried to make up for this by using their children to do this. Either they push experiences on them that are not appropriate for that particular child or they discover some natural talents that their children have and try to develop them so that they ( the parent) can bask in the limelight or reflected glory of their successful children.
You must nurture your child like the particular and special “flower” that they are requiring different amounts of “moisture”, “soil”, “sunshine”, and fertilizer from other plants. Even if they seem to be very similar to you as a child and seem to have the same gifts, no one is exactly the same. Check your DNA!
And you must also continue to nurture yourself as an adult and make sure you get what you need to thrive and be “YOU”. What do “empty nesters” do after their children are gone? (Oops, I know, take care of their elderly parents. But that’s a topic for another post.)
Old rolls or old roles? Which are staler. Have you changed even so you might fall back into old roles when you are back in an old situation. The expectations can still be there and you can’t resist them. Does everybody eat at the dining role table when you eat in the kitchen even though you are not a child anymore. Do you wait until everybody else has eaten before you even attempt to eat your food? Anticipating a family visit can take you back to childhood, adolescence and possibly young adulthood. and when you actually get there it can be even worse. The cues that used to set you or family members off, still do. Okay, it doesn’t happen for you. What about your partner when they visit their family.
Do we ever grow up in spite of our families? Daddy’s girl or mama’s boy are roles that are easily taken up again when around mommy or daddy again. Do you or did you have a sibling that used to boss you around, always got their way , or could beat you in a fight verbal or physical? Were you the “STAR”, the one always recognized for your accomplishments or were you invisible and if you you did anything that achieved recognition, did certain or all other family members ignore it or worse yet not even know that something like that happened?
Old habits die hard. Do family members that were used to giving you orders still order you around effectively when you are around them? Do you pick up the check, wash the dishes, mind the little children while the rest of the family doesn’t even thank you and may even go off without you. Enabling, double binds reassert themselves. Do they order for you, refuse to get you a drink, or comment on your hair or what you wear or even go so far as to pick out what you wear.
Worse yet do you become sick or somewhat spacey when planning to make a home visit. Worse yet can be family reunions where you are given no choice as to what happens or do you do the opposite and wind up planning the whole thing with everybody else’s wishes, preferences, and time schedules in mind, not yours, because it is easier for you to just give in. Do you find yourself not making a fuss even when you are grossly inconvenienced. If it is your partner’s family reunion, do you get taken along for the ride and have a miserable time. Do old dramas reoccur like Uncle George drinking all the spiked punch and getting sick and puking all over someone’s pants or carpet.
Do you wonder why you went. Was it just to go and put in an appearance. Did it even mess up your schedule and cause you to miss something else that you would have preferred to go to another family reunion, or a planned event with hard to get tickets. Do the people there smoke, drink excessively, or cuss outrageously even in front of children? How many of these events have you enjoyed? in the past ten years.
Are you still the scapegoat at these events like a school reunion, etc.. Or worse yet do you still get bullied or even worse yet emotionally , physically, or sexually abused. Some times sexual abuse by a family friend or member does not stop when the victim reaches adulthood. Do the people there go off into their own groups (old school friends) and leave you on the fringe. Or instead do you lapse into old negative behaviors deliberately talking about things and doings while openly leaving someone out and who has a miserable time.
I suggest a spa visit before to get ready or better yet after to pamper yourself. Aim to just live through it and give yourself some quiet decompression time possibly both before and after the visit. Reward yourself for getting through it even if you only went out of obligation such as “Honor thy father and mother.” You might even go so far as to do or not do one thing that that you usually don’t do or do (almost helplessly) on these occasions. Stand up for yourself, but be totally prepared for what might happen if you do this. These people can still push your buttons even if they have not been pushed in a long time.
Okay you are strong; you wouldn’t let this happen to you. What about letting it happen to somebody else just because this was the way it always used to be. You don’t want to cause any conflict. Worse yet then they might pick on you too. Have you really matured and do what you think is right rather than falling back into going along with the crowd. “The crowd” can exert a lot of pressure and you may be seen as spoiling their good time.
It is time to help yourself to the smorgasbord of life. There now is so much information out there that you can use to help yourself have a better life. Self-Help books have multplied geometrically. More and more people are investigating the spiritual realm whether it is the one that they were born into or one that they adopted when they were older. This kind of knowledge was once hidden and/or people were discouraged from pursuing it on their own.
Knowledge of this universe and how it works can only help you manifest what you want out of life for yourself or others. Often you hear people saying, “I can’t help myself” when asked why they are not getting ahead and/or don’t know what they want out of life.
All knowledge is built on knowledge previously attained and assimilated. Every discovery that leads a person on to new fields rings an imaginary chime in the person head and often affirms an idea or belief that the person was already contemplating.
In the smorgasbord of life, you only take what you need and help yourself to whatever tempting dish calls to you. In a real life smorgasbord, I might choose herring in sour cream or wine sauce. You, however, might not touch it and may even be repulsed by it. Remember to avoid temptation when it calls for you to hurt yourself or someone else.
There are so many new techniques of self-discovery perpetuated by modern day psychology; meditation and mindfulness are just two of them. Old standards are relaxation techniques and hypnosis. Should we save such techniques for people who are having serious mental health problems or should we teach them and encourage their use by everyone to help them feel better and succeed in life. When the pupil is ready the teacher will come. Be realistic and find a reliable qualified practitioner.
There has been the scientific verification of things in psychology that we either didn’t know could happen or couldn’t prove if we suspected that they might happen. The formation of crystals when water was frozen was effected by the positive or negative nature (the vibrations) of the words that labeled the water’s containers. When they were positive , the crystals were beautiful and well formed under the microscope; but just the opposite happened when they were negative. It was difficult or almost impossible for the water to form stable crystals when the words were negative.
It is also shameful that much has been learned in psychology as a science that could help us to raise people from children to adults with fewer problems in behavior, thinking, and relationships. In the name of freedom, we are not allowed to tamper with how and why children are conceived, who can have them, and how they are raised.
Many children are raised with parents who are poor examples of how to behave and in less than optimal circumstances especially when parents or caregivers decide not to use their available resources (time? money?) on the children. If there are problems, parents can determine that nothing will be done about them. In psychotherapy later in adulthood how much time is spent undoing what went wrong in childhood?
Atmosphere is important. Children, even babies can sense when an adults, words, facial expression, behavior, or gestures do not match. However, the adult often tells the child who sense this that they are wrong because the adult does not want the child to not trust them.
There are resources out there and they can be found in many places. People and groups of people who share the same beliefs involving respect for all life, determination to do the most good for the most living beings, and love for all provide these kind of resources.
Do adults bully children in their own families? Unfortunately, yes. Making fun of someone, joking with them, is not humorous if the person being teased gets upset. Do we stop or this is this a signal to keep on going? Building a child’s self-esteem is one of the most important functions of the family.
Most children will get plenty of opportunities outside the family to be put down, bullied, and feel insignificant. What downers! But this doesn’t happen in my family! Yes, it does and it is often ignored and not even noticed or the person gets away with it because the family member should be able to take a joke. While this may be alright in adult company, it is not right in a family setting with vulnerable children with fragile egos. Do you think making a three year old cry on purpose can be justified?
I have noticed that in this society we often do not notice what is going on around us and it is especially true in families. We tend to do the same old thing over and over and nobody notices it. They often say things like “I was just teasing (while repeating an unappreciated taunt).” They follow this with comments like, “I don’t know why he or she cries so much? He or she must be a crybaby?”
Love will keep us together. Hugs and kisses, well earned complements, a smile in someone’s eyes or elsewhere on their face is priceless and does not cost anything to give. They are free. What are we thinking? Is it that by bringing someone else down we are building ourselves up? In this case are the means are justified by the end result.
What do you think if you see someone kill a baby rabbit out in the field just for the fun of it and then laughs? Aren’t children just as vulnerable? Especially when they don’t know as much as you do and don’t always understand what adults are talking about.
Find yourself; not someone else. It may be admirable to have a child or even children who are like you and follow in your footsteps; but he or she or they may not be comfortable in your shoes. In times past, it was important for people to have children so they could pick up where they left off. Parents trained their children to take their place someday and to be of help to them in a labor intensive time. Parents usually were not happy if their children did not take over for them.
Now it is more a matter of self-validation. It confirms to the parent that he or she took the right path when the children take the same path. Sometimes it is like the story of the ugly duckling. Remember that one turned out to be a swan, different, but beautiful. You can feel like the ugly duckling if you don’t fit into your family, class in school, or community. Some children like the ugly duckling even look different from the people that they are being raised with when if they were being raised with their own genetically kind (people who would probably look like them) wouldn’t look different at all. Down syndrome children and some biracial children are even often seen as different from their relatives.
If you study genetics and how traits are passed down from parent to child, you will often find that it is a very complex problem and doesn’t always work the way it seems it should. Children can have the same parents and have surprisingly different traits. This is also true of apptitudes and abilities. Add into this what happens to them from the time of conception to birth which may not be like their siblings and the children and their parents will still be related; but can be very different. Also traits may get passed down, but not to the desired child or sex (like first born male).
Children inherit tempraments which may or may not be like that of their parents. Sometimes oil and water do not mix. An “easy” parent may inherit a slow to warm up child and he or she can’t understand why his or her child does not easily take to new things.
Some talents or abilities which might be very strong can not be desired or appreciated in the family or society into which a person is born. I was born on a farm and eventually married a farmer (after doing other things) and I can understand why he sometimes does not understand why a “city” boy does not know how to do things farm boys know how to do and he has difficulty valuing what the “city” boy can do by virtue of his college education even if it was not in agriculture.
As much as I love flowers, I don’t want them to be all alike all the time. I like seeing new and different ones. Also some flowers that some people call flowers around here are called weeds by other people in other places. This might even be true of people growing marijuana when flowers appear in their plots. (I am not recommending that you start growing marijuana however.)
Be yourself as long as you are not deliberately hurting yourself (or others for your own gain) and when you find yourself, you will make your contribution to the world and become what YOU were or are meant to be. I believe finding yourself is why we were meant to be as we each have our own contribution to make. If we pay too much attention to what others tell us we should be, we may get led astray. It may not be easy, but it often will be rewarding. For example, how many shoes at how many shoe stores do some of us have to try before we find a shoe that fits us, feels good, and wears well. It usually is a personal thing. What shoe style works for one may not work for another. Also many people, especially women, pay the price for wearing shoes that they think they should wear because they are in fashion, etc. (Check out Oprah on this issue.)