When you unconditionally love a child, you love and accept him no matter what. For example, if your child drew on the walls with crayon, you won’t like what he did, but you still love him. According to a WebMD article titled “10 Commandments of Good Parenting,” it’s impossible to spoil a child with love. Just keep in mind that love isn’t synonymous with material possessions, low expectations or inappropriate leniency. When a child gets into trouble, a parent has a couple of ways to handle the problem — with punishment or discipline. Parents who use punishment do so as a way to make a child stop what she’s doing or to make her “pay” for her undesired actions or behaviors, according to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s publication, “Discipline and Punishment: What is the Difference?” Punishments often have nothing to do with a child’s offense, are self-centered and place responsibility on the parent to take action. On the other hand, discipline helps a child learn to behave appropriately, uses logical consequences that relate to the offense, shows respect and helps a child learn self-control. Parents are a child’s first teachers. From his first words to social norms, a child learns by watching and listening to his parents. According to the article “How to Be a Good Parent: It’s All about You!” on the Psychology Today website, being a positive role model for your child can be more effective than disciplinary measures or behavior training. Because your child looks to you to see how he should socialize and behave, it’s important to make your actions and words worth imitating. Children thrive on routine. When your behaviors, boundaries, rules and modes of discipline are consistent, your child will trust you, feel safe and respect your authority. While it’s important to be consistent with your behaviors and values, it’s equally vital to practice flexibility as a parent. As your child grows, so will her needs and skills. Making adjustments to the way you parent will help foster independence and intellectual growth, and provide a structured, supportive environment. Allowing yourself to pursue your own sense of independence is as important as fostering your child’s autonomy. Remember that you are more than a parent; you are a person with talents, hobbies and others who care about you. As you let your child explore and develop a sense of self, occasionally take time out for your own pursuits. Otherwise, according to Firestone, you’re at risk of living your life through your child, which can lead to emotional voids and rebellion. by Flora Richards-Gustafson, Demand Media http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/qualities-make-good-bad-parent-3846.html
Your kids require you
most of all to love them
for who they are,
not to spend your
whole time trying
to correct them.
Looking at codependency therapy, “family involvement is key,” according to Smith (Ann W. Smith MS, LPC, LMFT, NCC). She says that “the addiction was not caused by the family, but it thrives in a painful system.” She then goes on to explain the Attachment Theory Perspective, saying, “Every human being adapts to some degree in an effort to sustain emotional attachment.” She notes that “anxiety increases when we don’t have a secure and consistent connection as children” and goes on to explain three factors that determine how a person adapts and tries to maintain that connection: Temperament, Birth order and Degree of stress or trauma. If a first-born child is born exhibiting traits of compassion or a “Leader Gene,” that child will most likely demonstrate a natural fear response to move toward painful situations to try to help. Smith says this side of the spectrum is called “Anxious Attachment Style.” On the other side of the spectrum, children that are born second, third or fourth and exhibit traits of an extrovert or independent spirit, may tend to leave the situation when anxiety increases. A child in this same birth order category that shows traits of an introvert may withdraw into themselves when anxiety increases. Either one of these is known as the “Avoidant Attachment Style” as they pull away from conflict. Smith also touches on insecure attachment and says that these patterns often emerge without conscious awareness. “They are stuck in patterns that they have no awareness of and they end up not knowing themselves at all,” she explains. Attachment injury, she says, occurs when a person feels abandoned or betrayed at key moments where comfort and connection are important. By Shannon Brys, Associate Editor http://www.addictionpro.com/article/codependency-patterns-attachment
Behavior is a mirror
in which every one
displays his own image
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Prolonged, excessive chaos in the child’s home leads to brain and hormonal changes resulting in withdrawal due to fear and acting out. Later in life the earlier stressors show up in eating disorders, promiscuity, codependency and alcohol and drug abuse. Anger becomes an unwelcome generational gift that is passed down in families. Anger is a normal human response when our well-being is threatened. We all have anger when we feel betrayed and are unable to express the pain that we feel. Anger is made up of feelings, thoughts and physiological reactions, which includes adrenalin and cortisol release to prepare for action. While the feelings and physiological reactions cannot always be controlled, the thoughts and the behaviors can be modified and expressed in more acceptable ways. The research shows that anger is a normal response to betrayal and loss of basic trust in others. Anger also is a normal reaction to injustice, terror and feeling out of control. The innocence of the child is broken by acts of betrayal. What takes its place is fear and anger. The hurt child resolves not to trust again and creates barriers to further connection to others. All anger is not bad. Sometimes anger is a legitimate response to an injustice, which is used to bring momentum, which allows the person to make, needed changes in their life. At times anger is justified given an unfair situation where the energy that anger provides is needed to leave a bad situation. Anger can be used to protect yourself when you are terrorized. We need the energy that anger brings to get us to act and do something differently when we are stuck in bad circumstances. Other times, anger is just a bad habit to deal with the feelings of frustration because things are not going as the person wants. This article addresses the habitual type of destructive anger that harms family members and friends. From “So You Love An Angry Person” by Lynne Namka, Ed. D. http://www.angriesout.com/family2.htm
Anger is just anger.
It isn’t good.
It isn’t bad. It just is.
What you do with it
is what matters.
It’s like anything else.
You can use it to build
or to destroy.
You just have to
make the choice.
From “White Night”
by Jim Butcher
Children learn how to be in relationships from their parents through a process of social learning, and especially observational learning. They adapt the behaviors they see their parents do. The children in the family watch their parents and learn positive as well as dysfunctional coping styles in dealing with stress and threat. Research studies show that there are three social skills that create happy marriages: problem solving, emotional distress regulation and conflict management. Expression of positive words, maintaining a pleasant attitudes and the avoidance of conflict and negativity are other major skills in creating happy unions. People, who have poor coping skills in handling internal emotional distress, often become anxious or angry. Aggression is learned behavior. Children raised in families with above average in rates of violence are at greater risk for being physically aggressive toward their romantic partner. Violence is passed down through the generations. Parental physical punishment of the adolescent has been associated with later dating violence. Increased risk for overall antisocial behavior in general in turn increases risk for aggression toward a romantic partner. Children, who aggressively fight with their siblings, can carry this destructive fighting pattern over to their adult years. Parents who discipline their children by emphasizing positive interactions and inhibiting negative behaviors promote skills in conflict management. Parents who do not monitor their children’s behavior or give inconsistent discipline create children who do not have the social skills to succeed in happy relationships. Achieving emotional intimacy is a necessary developmental task of young adults. Close social ties promote personal well-being. The failure to establish or maintain positive relationships sets up physical and emotional distress in the individual. From “So You Love An Angry Person” by Lynne Namka, Ed. D. http://www.angriesout.com/family2.htm
There are two things
a person should never
be angry at,
what they can help,
and what they cannot.
Feeling ‘not good enough’ is very common. As a child, we have often been criticized by our parents… told we should, could, must, be and do better. And often this results in the extremely damaging sub-conscious belief ‘I’m not good enough, and nothing I do is ever good enough’. The result is that we feel dissatisfied with ourselves, and with everything we ever do. It is a hard existence! If you have this belief, you will find it very difficult to complete anything (because, if you complete it, it will not be good enough… at least, if it is incomplete, you have an excuse.) You may go from project to project, never be able to rest, admire your creation, say ‘I did that!’ and feel proud. Your negative belief will be projected outwards and you will feel dissatisfied with your partner, your friends. Nothing about them will be ‘good enough’ either. Your partner cries ‘you’re never satisfied!’. You feel guilty you are ‘not doing enough’. Nothing is ever enough. If you think about it, ‘I’m not good enough, and nothing I ever do is ever good enough’ is a total negation of self. The entire self has been rejected, and consigned to the scrap heap. Maybe Mum or Dad criticized something about you when you were a small child, and as a result, you have decided that you are completely worthless and shouldn’t be here. Emanating out from it, like the branches coming from a sturdy tree trunk of negation, are others, such as ‘I’m not worthy’, ‘I’m stupid’, ‘I’m ugly’, ‘no one understands me’ and so on. However the reason for these beliefs is… ‘because I’m not good enough and nothing I do is ever good enough’. Change the ‘tree trunk’ level belief and the branches above it are also relieved. By Jelila /Angela Torrington http://www.baliadvertiser.biz/articles/spiritual/2005/feeling.html
Whenever you are self-conscious
you are simply showing that you
are not conscious of the self at all.
You don’t know who you are.
Intellectual Abuse: When the child is not encouraged or supported to think independently, told they are stupid or incapable, not taught to problem solve, how to be accountable your actions and thoughts and how to communicate is abuse. It also includes not being taught a philosophy or belief system in life. Spiritual abuse occurs when the parent is so rigid that they are the final word in everything. The child is not allowed to have their own desires, wants and needs; it must coincide with what the parent wants and needs. Addiction to Religion is similar to any addiction, it means that there is no room for questions or alternative thought. Religion can be used to scare and control, which is abusive. When a representative of a religion abuses, besides the trauma of the crime, it also casts doubt on “God” for the victim as well as the fear of authority figures. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
Religion has the capacity
to silence critical thinking
and create blindness
in entire groups of people.
(A) child’s unconscious adaptation to a dysfunctional family interferes with his or her adult relationships. Because the real self is safely tucked away, the adult must “invent” a different one that will appear as normal as possible and be able to negotiate the day-to-day interactions of adult life. Invented selves, however, have no interest in true intimacy. Instead, they exist as a kind of interface between the true self and the outside world, carefully monitoring and controlling what is allowed in and out. As a result, passion and empathy have to be manufactured–while the person may take the time in the early/romantic phase of a relationship to “act” this out, many soon tire of the effort. Often partners notice the “wooden” nature of their response or their obliviousness. It is not unusual for these people to be particularly accomplished. They channel all of their energy toward a particular pursuit, and away from everything else that is happening around them. . Workaholics often fit this category. From “Why Can’t Some People Maintain Intimate Relationships?” by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D. http://www.voicelessness.com/intimacy.html
The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational
until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction
and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.
Codependence is the pain in adulthood that comes from being wounded in childhood and leads to a high probability of relationship problems and addictive/compulsive behavior. It is a combination of immature thinking, feeling and behaving that generates an aversive relationship with the self (self-loathing), which the codependent individual acts-out through self-destructive unduly self-sacrificial behavior. The most creative description I came across was this one: codependence is about growing up depending on someone who’s depending on something that’s not dependable. This could include anything from abusing alcohol and drugs to compulsive overworking, overeating, and overdoing almost anything. An example would be the child left in the car for one or more hours, enduring heat or cold, while his/her parents are working in the office. Today, I use this simple, generic definition of codependence: “Codependence is the pain in adulthood that comes from being wounded in childhood, which leads to a high probability of relationship problems and addictive disorders in later life.” Children of addiction, neglect, and abuse acquire social and emotional habits that turn on them in adulthood. Survival behaviors such as compulsive caretaking, martyring, door matting, scapegoating, controlling, people-pleasing, and approval-seeking are classic examples. http://www.thebridgetorecovery.com/overcoming-codependency.html
Research on child abuse suggests
that religious beliefs can foster,
encourage, and justify the abuse of children.
When contempt for sex underlies teachings,
this creates a breeding ground for abuse.
Writing that both describes traumatic events in detail and also examines how we felt about these events at the time and feel about them now (describing both negative and positive emotions), is the only kind of writing about trauma that clinically has been associated with improved health . And this is accomplished in Pennebaker’s (Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas) experiments by only one hour of writing – fifteen minutes a day – over a four-day period. Later studies showed that the more days people wrote the more beneficial were the effects of writing. Dr. Pennebaker’s work is compelling. I knew nothing about it during the years when I was working on When the Piano Stops, my own memoir of recovering from incest (and Never Tell: The True Story of Overcoming a Terrifying Childhood, which was the title given its best-selling, UK print). From time to time during those years, my beloved uncle, who had a very limited understanding about what’s involved in healing from childhood sexual abuse, expressed concern about my continually revisiting the most horrifying experiences of my life. The information in this blog would have been great to share with him at that time, but of course I couldn’t. Today, however, I have the opportunity to share it with you, and I do so with the hope that if you’re a survivor of child abuse you’ll take it to heart, gather your internal resources, your memory, your pain, and your creativity, and write on! By Catherine McCall, MS, LMFT http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/overcoming-child-abuse/201209/how-and-why-writing-heals-wounds-child-abuse
We must be content to grow slowly.
Most of us will still barely be
at the beginning of our recovery
by the time we die.
But that is better than killing
ourselves pretending to be healthy.
Many people hope that once they leave home, they will leave their family and childhood problems behind. However, many find that they experience similar problems, as well as similar feelings and relationship patterns, long after they have left the family environment. Ideally, children grow up in family environments which help them feel worthwhile and valuable. They learn that their feelings and needs are important and can be expressed. Children growing up in such supportive environments are likely to form healthy, open relationships in adulthood. However, families may fail to provide for many of their children’s emotional and physical needs. In addition, the families’ communication patterns may severely limit the child’s expressions of feelings and needs. Children growing up in such families are likely to develop low self-esteem and feel that their needs are not important or perhaps should not be taken seriously by others. As a result, they may form unsatisfying relationships as adults.
Types Of Dysfunctional Families
- One or both parents have addictions or compulsions (e.g., drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, gambling, overworking, and/or overeating) that have strong influences on family members.
- One or both parents use the threat or application of physical violence as the primary means of control. Children may have to witness violence, may be forced to participate in punishing siblings, or may live in fear of explosive outbursts.
- One or both parents exploit the children and treat them as possessions whose primary purpose is to respond to the physical and/or emotional needs of adults (e.g., protecting a parent or cheering up one who is depressed).
- One or both parents are unable to provide, or threaten to withdraw, financial or basic physical care for their children. Similarly, one or both parents fail to provide their children with adequate emotional support.
- One or both parents exert a strong authoritarian control over the children. Often these families rigidly adhere to a particular belief (religious, political, financial, personal). Compliance with role expectations and with rules is expected without any flexibility.
If you cannot get rid
of the family skeleton,
you may as well make it dance.
George Bernard Shaw