Some Thoughts On Raising Children

In family on August 2, 2008 at 12:26 am

I find myself sitting here and thinking about my relationship to members of my family. In particular, I remember something of how love was expressed between parent and child, between child and parent, and between siblings.  I came to some conclusions that I think might be universal, and therefore might be worth sharing with prospective new parents.

In general, the positional nature of parents to children influences the nature of the love experienced between them. Parents (unless dysfunctional) probably feel unconditional love for their children, while children feel a mixed, dependent love for their parents. Parents are seen as the creator (perhaps somewhat god-like); children are the created (weak and dependent).

It is perhaps difficult to see ourselves as giants who can be threatening at times and playful at other times. There may be occasional resentments on the part of children, owing to the behavior of such powerful parents, which is aggravated by what may seem capricious and unjust treatment. Whereas, parents would feel some pride, reinforced by the knowledge that what they do for the child is actually rational and necessary.

It would be my guess that children, who are totally dependent, cannot love independently of this dependency. They most likely love for “things” and feel that parents love for “performance.” They see their parents as withholding love for unsatisfactory performance, rather than as administering punishment for guidance. And I think that when one loves through dependence, one cannot help but resent the dependency.

Lastly, I notice that siblings are often in competition with each other. If one of them feels he or she isn’t getting their share, mainly of attention, they can get pretty rough on a brother or sister when the parents are looking the other way. What amazes me is that when you question them, they give a pretty convincing argument that either it didn’t happen or someone else started it.

There must be a message somewhere in these observations. Let me suggest that this is at least a pretty powerful indicator that spanking children, especially the very young, is both a waste of time and perhaps a form of child abuse. I also suggest that maybe we shouldn’t push them too hard in the development of academic skills in the early years, but that we encourage participation in group behaviors and focus on developing social skills – not that we ignore the academic skills, but that they develop in a context of having fun. What’s your take?
2008-0802 Raising Children Copyright © 2008-2010 by Tad Laury Graham

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