To add to Sara's Parenting thread

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DammitJanet, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know I have mentioned before on here that I am doing Inner child therapy right now. Its interesting to say the least. Im still not 100 percent sure how I buy into it completely but we shall see where I stand when I am done with it.

    But I do think there is something to the whole thing of how we react to certain situations paying off a kid and creating a self fulfilling prophecy. Keyana is two. She surely doesnt have enough life experience under her belt to know how to manipulate people well but she is learning how to work us for that quarter for the gumball machines. She also is learning to throw a fit in the grocery store when she sees candy and we use compromises with her so she learns to pick one fun item per outing. But then she always wants to "OPE it...OPE IT NOW!" Well that isnt happening and we stand firm no matter what little fit or tears she turns on. I am convinced that somewhere her tears work for Personally I can push a crying toddler all through walmart without a backwards glance.

    When I see a toddler screaming in a store my first thoughts arent what a bad parent but that the kid must be either tired, hungry or just cranky. It has nothing to do with the parents. Now if I saw a parent throw a kid across the floor I might think something was wrong...but just a crying kid...nope. Kids cry. Its what they do best.

    I know my mom messed me up royally because of what she did to me. I think I had the genetic disposition to have the bipolar anyway but when she started her invalidating and downright abusive behavior of me as an infant...she started me on the inevitable path to borderline and bipolar. One fed off the other. I dont know if I would have developed the bipolar without the borderline being triggered so early. maybe...maybe not.

    My mom was roll model for how to parent your child into a label. If you could do something wrong...she did it. The fact that I am still here is truly a miracle.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We must also not forget that a child's environment is not just the parents.

    My sister and her husband bought a business in the country, a mining town. They ran a pub, in fact. It was rough. Their son was 2, the daughter just a baby (born in the last year they were there).

    The son had been a strong-willed toddler, but now became a big behaviour problem. He would run away. They would find him on the train tracks, or in the middle of the highway. They joked that he was suicidal. I believe he was.

    My sister had not expected to be working such long hours herself, or working os hard. The kids were more neglected than they should have been, but her discipline methods never changed. They were at this place for two years before they got out and came back to the city. In those two years the boy became a big problem. He also was on antibiotics but began to refuse his medicine. My sister and my mother tried hiding it in his drinks but he would detect the flavour and refuse it. The only other way to dose him was to hold him down and force his jaws apart.

    My sister told my mother that some things and money had been going missing from their private rooms in the pub. She suspected a long-term resident, who she had seen coming out of the kids' room. There had also been times when she couldn't rouse her son.

    While I believe a pub is not a good place to raise a child, it shouldn't have been that disastrous. I also believe that my nephew was being drugged and molested.

    My sister's parenting style was not at fault - her daughter, and another son later on, turned out fine. But her older son has had problems. He improved a lot when they moved permanently back to the city, but he was a troubled teen and finally moved to live away from people, almost a hermit. He finally dropped his wild ways and now works a steady job in engineering maintenance.

    Other environmental factors were I think a major cause of my nephew's difficult child-ness. Good parenting was not able to overcome them. Mind you, I feel a batter parent (or perhaps more open times) would have uncovered the abuse and organised counselling. But I can't hold my sister responsible for what she simply couldn't see and what society wouldn't allow her to deal with, if she HAD seen.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Marg...that is right in there with what people talk about when they say an "invalidating environment". It doesnt always have to be the parents. It could be parents, school, daycare, neighbors, whomever...but it also has to do with how a child "sees" the environment through their filters. The more garbage a child gets heaped on him from an early age and without some heavy duty validating of himself...he will see the world as a scary place and things go out of wack.
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You have touched on something that I was actually discussing, at length, with easy child's boyfriend yesterday. We got into this deep discussion about how those that pass through our lives, positively or negatively, leave some imprint. However, it is up to us to decide what to do with that imprint.

    He had a mother who was a drug addict and prostitute; a mother who basically walked out on him at two and didn't look back until she was dying of aids 15 years later.

    I can tell you, with perfect clarity, that I made a deliberate decision to parent different than my mother. I did not want to parent my children as she parented me (us, but particularly me). She had some baggage from her mother than I was forced to pay for. No way was I doing the same with my children.

    Why was I able to stop the cycle but she was not?

    That is the question pondered in "Man's Search for Meaning?"; I gave easy child's boyfriend my copy, now I'll have to get a used one through Amazon!

    What makes two people go through the same circumstance but react so differently?

    We are not talking about mental disorders or inherited diseases. We are taking about the turns you choose to take in your life and what choices you make as a result of those turns.

    Parenting is one of those areas where we make a choice. I beleive there are very few people who don't have a choice as to how they parent.

  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sharon, you said, "Parenting is one of those areas where we make a choice."

    Sometimes - a lot of times - people either don't realise they can make a choice, or they don't see a need to. They just go ahead and do what needs to be done at that moment. Or in some cases, lurch from crisis to crisis.

    My best friend would like to believe she doesn't parent the way she was raised. And in a lot of ways, she would be right. But in some ways she is very much exhibiting the same characteristics that so angered her about her own parents. Especially the capacity for self-deception and denial. And because both self-deception and denial allow you to justify your choices (or justify not making choices), it means that her parenting style keeps snapping back to the default setting.

    In other words, all the mistakes her parents made are still living on in the way she is living her life.

    And I can't tell her - because even if she could agree with me, in a moment of rare lucidity, she would rewrite reality in the next short time and it would be as if our conversation never happened.

    Unfortunately, she is not unusual in this.

    I also made a choice to parent in a different way to my parents, but I know that a lot of the time, I do things in a very similar way. I like to think I've kept the good stuff and rejected the bad stuff. But then my (now adult) kids will tease me about my stock phrases, or my faults (what? I HAVE FAULTS?) and I realise I am far from perfect. And what is worse, my kids know it.

    So if it is true that we have the capacity to choose how we parent our kids, then how can we accurately and truly assess how successful we have been in making and sticking with that choice?

  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I have thought a lot about this due to the family I grew up in. My mom is bipolar and my dad has schizophrenic tendencies. They had an incredibly dysfunctional marriage and the dysfunctional households continued after the divorce. It's the kind of family you would look at and think there should be no hope for the kids. Yet out of the three of us kids, my younger brother and I apparently have no genetic predisposition for those mental health problems. We rode out childhood, mopped up the wounds, rebound from the hits we take in adulthood, and lead stable functional lives. My brother with the neurological problems since birth had a lot of emotional and behavioral problems which led to substance abuse and trouble with the law. He died in a car accident when he was young so I'll never know how it would have played out in the end but it's hard to ignore the correlation.

    The other thing I've given thought to is that despite the serious dysfunction in our family, some life principles grew out of it that have served us well. For instance, both my brother and I have a high respect for life. And we're fiercely loyal to each other (we live a few states away and it's not uncommon for us to talk on the phone several times a week). We both were absolutely determined that our kids wouldn't live a repeat of what we went through and it's very much impacted the choices we've made. Don't get me wrong: it's not like we both are living a cakewalk, perfect life and expect to see things rosy for our kids because of it. But neither are we stuck in the mire of the past. I think not having the genetic or medical tendencies towards mental health problems frees up a lot of personal energy and resources to put towards everyday life.

    As far as we knew, my brother's neurological problems stemmed from a forceps delivery. What a crapshoot life is--it could have been me.