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.
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.
Children are fearfully and wonderfully made. You can always learn something new. As you might know, I am teaching a child psychology class this summer. What I am reading is reinforcing what I already knew. Children are busy little beavers from birth and they come equipped with amazing hardware which enables them to perceive and understand their environment.
Children are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are not just passive receptacles of stimuli. They are programed to take it in in a certain way and then use it to form an amazing 3-D, multi-sensory model. It forms their conception of what the world is like. From this, they proceed to make assumptions about how things are and they use these assumptions to draw conclusions about what will happen in their environment. This will lead to developing concepts like depth perception and object permanence.
Ever since Biblical times and the Tower of Babble, the people of the world speak many different languages. The problem isn’t just that every different language may have a different word for house, but that some languages have several different words for house and some languages may not have a word for house at all. This is what makes translations difficult and often confusing. Also parts of grammar can be different and so can the structure of a sentence. So when you learn a new language you have to pay attention to a lot more than vocabulary. Different languages use different sounds and as children grow up with a language they learn how to selectively make some sounds (the ones that predominate in their language) and not others. This is what makes it hard for some people to learn a new language. They may have never developed the ability to make certain sounds and/or they initially had the ability to make made certain sounds when they babbled as babies, but as they imitated those around them, the ability to make other sounds atrophied from disuse. This may be why certain people who learned one language as a child and who learn to speak another language
as their primary language later as an adult speak with an accent.
I was raised to think that my first thought should be, “What will other people think?” when I did something. I grew up thinking that “other people” were more important than me. Yes, my parents were included in that important group of people that I should always defer to; but even my parents were not as important as “other people” were.
This continued on into my adult life as long as my parents were alive. This was the main consideration my mother had when I told her that I was going to get a divorce. She was more concerned with the stigma that being divorced would give me among her friends and family than she was with my well being.
Back when I was first married, I remember coming home to visit my parents by myself and I was wearing a brand new bright red maxi coat which I dearly loved and when it became time to go to church the next day, my mother said, “You are not going to wear that,” and she actually expected me to wear instead one of my old coats that I had left at her house. I stood up for myself and I told her that I was not going to church if I couldn’t wear my new coat.
When I remarried and had children and we were visiting my mother and the other grandchildren were coming to visit too, my mother would become critical of my children and not the others. We were glad when we could leave and escape being found wanting when compared to the rest of the family. Oh, believe it or not, later after she died, my cousins told me that she secretly bragged on my children when we weren’t there. I know she was raised to think that way and her growing up experience was not easy as my grandmother (her mother) was often sick and withdrawn from the family leaving her and her sister with the help of their father who had to work to fend for themselves. I am sure she didn’t know what to tell other people when they asked what was wrong.
How to be a good parent. Unfortunately most people become parents when they are young (and dumb?). Please excuse the should’s. I couldn’t think of another word.
Ideally a parent should love all children equally and show no favoritism. They should shower them with unconditional love. Not if you do this, then and only then I will love you for it.
Children are not born to be slaves (but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have increasing responsibilities as they get older). Children should not have to be parents either to their own parents or to their brothers and sisters. A child should also not be a substitute spouse for their parent. Parents should not demand from children something that appropriately only should be gotten from the spouse.
Parents should not predict what their children should be based on similarities to other family members or acquaintances. Predictions like this usually pressure the child and/or are negative. Children often are what they are no matter what one might expect them to be. Children might not follow their parents into business or a profession. For example, my daughter-in-law is red-headed and so are her mother, sister, and father, but both of her kids are blondes. I didn’t expect that.
I have always said that having a child is like planting a flower seed when you don’t know into what it will bloom so you plant it and you don’t know what you are going to get except that it will be a flower. It may take a special kind of soil, a maximum or minimum amount of water and a maximum or minimum amount of sunshine. You have to pay attention to how the plant is doing and change what you do for it based on what works. You also have to be satisfied with what you get because a sunflower is not a rose and a rose is not a sunflower. There may be different standards for sunflowers as compared to those for roses.
As children get older they become increasingly independent and do more and more things for themselves. Parents cannot hold on to their children forever. Children become parents themselves and they have responsibilities to fulfill with their own families. Parents often have done their job when they no longer have anything that they have to do for their children and their children no longer have to do anything for their parents. This doesn’t mean that they don’t help each other out in a pinch or unforeseen circumstances. They’re still family.