Damage (Part 1)

Welcome to my first two part post!

I’ve had two conversations in the last week that have touched on the fear that parents have of permanently damaging their kids psychologically. The first was with a guy I know who has older children, who joked that he had told all his kids that he and his wife would pay for their first ten sessions with a counsellor when they decided to get therapy about the damage their parents had done to them. The other was a more serious conversation with a friend who has much younger kids. We both talked about things we had said and done as father’s and our fear that perhaps these things may have had a permanent negative effect on our children’s lives.

Now given that Cain killed Abel, it seems that parents have been turning their kids into homicidal maniacs from day one, but I wonder whether there has ever been a generation of parents that have worried about it as much as ours (I recognise that I may just be talking about my ‘tribe’ rather than my generation, but since my generation rhymes with gross generalisation, I’m going to stick with it).

I can’t really be bothered writing about why this might be the case, but I am interesting in what the effects of all this anxiety might be (at the risk of making people anxious about their anxiety) and what might be more productive things to focus on in our parenting.

I’m about to go up to the Gold Coast to visit my parents, so I’ll see what they have to say about the issue as members of another generation, and get back to you. In the meantime, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section.

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2 Responses to Damage (Part 1)

  1. Adi says:

    Oh it’s a can of worms! I’ve also heard it said that no matter what you do, your kids will be damaged by something. Why do some kids from horribly broken homes end up incredibly stable adults? Why do other kids from loving, functional homes end up screwy as anything? This stuff does worry me… The Drummond St Services is running a 4 week free seminar called ‘Raising Mentally Healthy kids’ in November that I hope to go along to. I guess the other thing I always try to do is model positive things for Leo as much as possible… things that I love doing, and share those with him: like drawing, enjoying the outdoors etc. I hope that this will perhaps help counteract the negative stuff that I’m probably not even aware of….

    • rodbie says:

      I think that the well adjusted kids from broken homes thing, and the screwed up kids from good homes thing is possibly a testament to the power of genetics and temperament – ie factors that we can’t control anyway. Beyond that, doing positive things, trying to be tuned in etc etc are probably the best things we can do to ‘counteract the negative stuff’ as you say.

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