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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Part 3 of 5 - The Relationship Foundation - Child/Parent Relationships

This entry is a continuation of the entry dated 8/22/2011...

Part 3 of 5 - The Relationship Foundation - Child/Parent Relationships

Continuing the examination of how relationships influence our experience, let’s look into another example. An example that demonstrates how early relationships with parents can play out in future relationships with others is how a child learns to get the attention they desire. And getting attention is a huge issue…we all crave and bathe in the attention from others, don’t we? The attention relationship process, in many cases, evolves like this:

     - Child expects or assumes that when they speak or act they will get some parental attention. If this fails to get the parent‘s attention…
    - Child asks, demands or maybe begs for the attention. If this fails…

    - Child pouts, cries or ‘acts out’. If this fails…

    - Child becomes angry, aggressive, throws a tantrum. If this still doesn’t work, the child’s behavior becomes progressively worse, vengeful and out of control. Unfortunately, due to the parent's ignorance, the child’s now aberrant behavior is usually explained and rationalized as being acceptable! For example, “aw, he’s just like his daddy, boys will be boys, etc…” Well, I have news for all of us, being angry and aggressive is normal behavior for a child that has been denied the attention they need and deserve, BUT it is NOT acceptable. It is my non-professional opinion that the parent is at fault here and they are usually not even aware of this fact. They have unknowingly, unintentionally and behaviorally participated in the creation of their little monster!

How many adults have you witnessed displaying this same ‘child-like’ behavior? It is frighteningly familiar, isn’t it? I can’t even begin to count how many times I have seen adults revert to using the same attention-getting techniques with loved ones, friends, family and associates that they learned as a child to use with their parents. These ’child-like’ behaviors become so ingrained into the fabric of personality that most adults are not even aware that they are using them!

This demonstrates my point that, to are large degree, how a child learns to relate to their parents when they are young greatly influences how they relate to others when they are older. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that the child/parent relationship is the ‘relationship foundation’ on which all other relationships are built in the future. Furthermore, if this relationship assumption is indeed a fact, shouldn’t learning about this subject be an important part of what I have talked about as “the knowledge made available” to our next generation? I certainly believe so.

As a reiteration, the point here is that if we, as parents and as a society, make the right knowledge available to our children when they are young adults, they will be much less likely to repeat the same mistakes their elders have made. They will be less likely to create mother and/or father issues with their own children. As a result of their knowledge, they will raise children that will be be less likely to manipulate relationships by pouting, crying, throwing tantrums and becoming vengeful or aggressive. I believe that once these children get "the right knowledge" and have children of their own, they would simply get along better with their children and, in theory, their children would get along better in all their future relationships as well!

Based on the examples above, I propose that the first ingredient of “the right knowledge” to make available to our children is:
    #1) How to build a healthy child/parent relationship.

I can attest to the fact that I certainly did not get exposed to this knowledge at home, in public schools nor when I brought home any of my three children from the hospital…and I don’t think I am a rare case of isolated ignorance. I have never seen or had made available to me an owner's manual for having children. How many of you can attest to this same fact? I don't think we should be made to hunt down this information ourselves. It should be made available! Anyone agree?

If our global society would implement this 'first ingredient' into the mandatory school curriculum, by adding child psychology classes in high school for example, it would fulfill both objectives - making some of "the right knowledge" available to our children and positively shaping the relationship experiences of our children. This alone would be an easy first step forward and a giant leap toward global peace.

To be continued…

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