TRAUMATIZING CHILDREN - 97% OF THEM?

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.


If you are a parent reading this and feeling guilty about your past or present parenting, please consider the possibility of being guilt-free (see chapter 9). You did the best you knew how at the time, but you may now want to rid yourself of guilt by developing a new spiritual system (Earth School compatible) as described in Chapter 11. It is your growth opportunity now to find a way to move beyond the guilt.


Most trauma inflicted upon children is not the obvious abusive kind in which the child gets beaten or molested, or hears "you are dumb" or "you are stupid." Instead, most trauma is less obvious. Its craftiness does not mean that it is not important! In fact, it causes most of our unhappiness, our hangups, our symptoms and our problems. There are four particularly damaging parental strategies that regularly and consistently create less-obvious trauma in our children. Two of these (those associated with sex and anger) tend to be inflicted more often on girls. The other two (those associated with sadness and sensitivity) tend to be inflicted more often on boys. The trauma message received (though not necessarily consciously) by the children is: "my anger, sexuality, sadness or sensitivity is not OK." The most common response of children so traumatized is to deny these aspects of themselves. This denial usually propels them into a search for others' approval (discussed later). If these four areas of trauma were even partially eliminated, our society would be incredibly and wonderfully different!


Families in therapy together? Yes, often the most effective treatment for some or all family members is family therapy.

Today, many parents are doing OK with the above issues of sex, anger, sadness and sensitivity but fail to see the necessity for some authority. Children receiving this type of parenting (parenting without authority) are often either fearful or narcissistic (i.e., insensitive to others). Later as adults, they often: (1)blame others, (2)believe in conspiracy theories, (3)fear, hate or look down their noses at all signs of authority, or (4)"do their own thing" without awareness of how they affect others. As adults they also will be more insecure and more violent than those who have taken in authoritarian messages.


Let me give an example of why I think this new-style parenting cannot succeed with a significant percentage of children (30%, 60%?). Consider Bobby who just yanked his sister's hair. "We don't do that, Bobby. That is not nice, Bobby. Be kind, Bobby. Consider how she feels, Bobby." What Bobby learns from these parenting messages is that Mommy and Daddy will stop him if they are present. But he does not necessarily learn (actually take in) that his behavior is not OK and that morally it is wrong to pull hair. Further, what he may learn from that parenting style is that it is OK to do that, provided he doesn't get caught. (This skewed learning happens often today, because many parents are obviously disobeying laws of all sorts [55mph, inflating deductions or "forgetting" income on income tax returns, "enhancements" on resumes and credit applications, cheating the phone company or the grocery store, etc.]) The parents rationalize their actions without considering what their children are learning. Many children, like Bobby, are not capable of empathy for others, so the suggestion that they consider the feelings of others is lost upon them. Thus, a parenting style that lacks authoritarian messages is harmful to Bobby.

Next Excerpt  

Those who frequently use the words sexism, racism or homophobia are often stuck in the blame game, waiting for others to change so that they can finally be happy.

More Excerpts This Chapter
   ARE 97% OF FAMILIES NEUROTIC?
   TRAUMATIZING CHILDREN - 97% OF THEM?
   ARE WE REALLY HUMANE?
   EFFECTIVE PARENTING
   OUR CURRENT FAMILIES BRING OUT OUR SKEWNESS
   MOTHERS CAN BE SEXIST TOO
   MANY MEN STILL ABDICATE THEIR PARENTING ROLES
   WORKING MOMS - ARE THEIR KIDS OK?
   LATCHKEY CHILDREN DON'T DO AS WELL
   THE SEARCH FOR APPROVAL
   THE ELDERLY


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