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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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.
Think of all the people who have helped you. For a moment, don’t count the times that they didn’t. Be appreciative of what you did get even if you can’t rely on them now. It is unusual to look back and not find at least one person who has helped you. Even people who have did you great harm might have done something that benefited you once. It is also easier to notice the things that have gone wrong than to count your blessings.
So often we do not remember or note in any way things that people who treat you right have done and value more what someone who has neglected us has done. Be truly grateful. Why is a favor done by someone who usually rejects us mean more than one by someone who consistently supports you. “Ah, you say when this happens, “It doesn’t count.”
There was a mother who had a lot of children. Two of them took care of her and even at one point had her live with each of them. Who did she get excited about when they came to see her or when she had a chance to go see them, the ones who usually did nothing for her and usually weren’t around very much. Seems shallow, doesn’t it.
You may feel the same way about family. If they are not the ones doing something for you, then it doesn’t count. Yet hasn’t God sent other people into your life to help you at times maybe when your family wasn’t there. People aren’t all or always bad.
No one’s family life is perfect and I spent some time when I was younger talking about what my parents had done wrong in raising me and did not talk about the good things (Oh, yes, there were some). For example, my parents put me through undergraduate school at a private four year college. Also holidays and family get togethers were important to them.
I don’t want to underestimate anything that went wrong in your upbringing; but many times there are more than one thing to consider if you are looking at how you were raised. Yes, the bad things might have outweighed the good ones; but the good ones still existed.
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.
Are some people rude and obnoxious because they count on other people to be polite? Also do some people lie because other people won’t correct them for fear of being rude themselves? Some people say hurtful and insulting things because they don’t expect other people to call them on it. They will also tell lies because other people will often give them the benefit of the doubt or don’t want to start an argument.
What is often true is that the other person is uncouth and often cruel because they can get away with it. It is sometimes even extremely obvious that they are doing this but they think that no one will say anything and they usually don’t. Doing so often accounts for a period of stunned silence from the audience members with it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
For example, I once entered the room where a large family gathering was already going on and everybody looked to see who was coming in. The rude person in a loud voice asked, “Who cut your hair?” It was obvious that person was being critical of the way I looked. It had already been a long day for me and I replied, “Well, who asked you?” in front of the whole group. This was met by stunned silence not just at the initial comment that had been made but at my reply. I felt it had been very appropriate considering that this person made a game of doing such things.
Sometimes the only way you can handle such comments is by being rude, obnoxious, and impolite in return. Such cruel people love to embarrass people and often do this when they have a crowd for an audience. People who are crude this way often may unconsciously worry that they might have the same problem that they are pointing out in somebody else but we usually don’t call them on it.
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.
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.
Do you keep a low profile. Do you wait for others to celebrate you life landmarks and they never do? Did you miss your graduation? because it was too much pomp and circumstance and you saved everybody the hassle of coming to it. I have my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin; but I don’t know what my academic colors are because I didn’t go. I didn’t feel I should make everyone make the trip back as when I finished I was no longer on campus.
Only two people were invited to our wedding, the witnesses. I don’t believe I have ever celebrated my anniversary with a special date night on the town. Is it bad to blow your own horn? I bought my own birthday cake and my friends knew I was celebrating my 70th birthday last November but my family didn’t know it wasn’t an ordinary birthday (Don’t worry it has been almost a year and either I am getting used to it or getting over it (being 70)). Many achievements in college I didn’t get to celebrate with my family because they couldn’t make the trip but my mother did come for my graduation. But when my son and my son-in-law graduated from the training academy, we went.
If you don’t celebrate yourself, no one one else will. If you don’t think you are worth it, no one else will? Your attitude toward yourself communicates itself nonverbally to others and they treat you the same way you treat yourself. I can be very professional when I know I am right and have the responsibility to do what is right! But it doesn’t carry over sometimes to my family and friends. Even the grand kids have begun to question my authority. But I’m not going to back down for their sake.
I have a list of complements hidden on the back of my medicine cabinet door that I would like to get; but it is not posted where anyone could see it. Why are we encouraged to be so self-effacing? I am the opposite of a narcissist I guess. Stand up, stand up for what you believe in including yourself. I hesitate to share my opinions at home or at family occasions so nobody knows what I think there. I hesitate because I might embarrass myself or others like family or friends. Keep your mouth shut. Ever hear of that?
Self-help materials suggest that you associate with only supportive friends in order to keep your self-esteem high. Of course that can keep you in denial by only associating with people who agree with you. Is there a happy medium? Are you lying to yourself or do other people keep trying to put you down?
Children who know their limits are less obnoxious and thus nicer to have around. Do you want to set up your children so that people say, “Oh, my God, here come the Jones kids again.” Do you have relatives who you’d rather not see because of this problem? Is this because the parents are lazy or because they think that their children can do no wrong. Can you think of another reason?
Good behavior makes for a better school experience. Most children don’t want to get a red mark on their behavior chart. Civilizing or taming young human animals is not necessarily that teacher’s job. Just like a horse, some maybe most children need to learn how to get “broke” behave outside the home. If inside the home their are no limits and appropriate behavior is not taught, what is a child to do when he or she has to start meeting other people’s standards.? It is not doing a good service for the child to do this as eventually he or she will be the one to suffer long after you are gone.
Yes, it seems easier to not discipline or set limits at times; but children thrive under consistency and the modeling of appropriate behavior. They need to thrive under well-earned praise and require fewer and fewer prompts when out in public or in group settings. If this is not done then something like, “tough love” may need to be done when they are teenagers or young adults.
If you have been slipping and not meeting the standards yourself. Children are “tattle tails” and can you spank them for telling the truth about our inappropriate behavior. Relax not everybody is perfect and most children know this. They may even tell you this.
Have you ever had your house trashed by somebody’s children or even your own children when you were not there to supervise them? Isn’t it a nice job to clean up after them? No it isn’t. Once you establish limits, children will test you by doing the forbidden thing or by being creative and doing something else that is not completely forbidden under the rules you have set.
The best supervision is in operation a 100% of the time. Observe parents. Some parents when actively playing with their children do a good job of supervision; but once they have stopped playing with the children their attention is usually somewhere else. Other parents have a built in security system and even though they are doing something else can tell when a child is in trouble whether due to an accident or due to some mischief on his or her part. Multitasking and dealing with distractions make it difficult to get work done; but it is necessary when you have children even teenagers.
Often a parent has a tendency to spoil their child and not expect much out of him. The parent sometimes thinks that his or her child will have to toe the line soon enough anyway. They think they are doing them a favor especially if the parent had few opportunities or things as a child and/or had to do housework or care for younger children. The parent doesn’t spoil his or herself but focuses on the children having what they didn’t have and not being too strict and expecting adult behavior out of children. Please take the middle road and save some resources for you the caregiver. Remember the inflight announcement about the parent needing to put on the oxygen mask so he or she will be able to attend to their child?
Please note that sometimes parents have children who by temperament or because of developmental problems, are difficult to discipline or maybe even to love. Seek help from a childcare specialist, family, and friends and other parents. Also Look for support groups with those who have dealt with similar problems such as colic, autism, hyperactivity. When I became a mother at a later age, I found that associating other (usually younger) mothers of infants and toddlers. Some people organize play groups and take turns having it at their house.
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.