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The Taos News




The Value of Being Personal with your Child

September 2014

Without perhaps realizing it, when you respond to your child by playing a role or by acting patronizing or phony, you contribute to the development of defensive reactions in him. This is unfortunate because once your child establishes these defensive reactions, he will have a significant investment in protecting himself by choosing activities that will cut him off emotionally and encourage him to live in fantasy whenever it is convenient for him to do so. Therefore it is essential that you take steps to minimize the types of interactions that potentially contribute to your child’s confusion and pain, which will in turn reduce the need for him to form powerful defenses against you to begin with.

 One way you can reduce your child’s tendency towards defensiveness is by simply responding to her as an authentic person rather than adopting artificial ways of relating to her. She needs you to respond to her directly. She needs you to be open and honest about your real thoughts and feelings, and she needs you to be personal.

 One would hope that warm, personal interactions were the general case between parents and their children. Instead, we have all heard the routine, impersonal questions parents ask them: “How was school today?”, “Did you have fun?” These questions are often asked, along with other inquiries, in a mechanical style and unfeeling tone which lacks true curiosity. The parents often don’t listen to the answers. They don’t respond sensitively to the questions they themselves asked. Next, the children learn to answer insincerely to those insincere questions. While displaying these kinds of insincere behaviors, parents fail to recognize they aren’t having real relationships with their children.

The point is, your child has a strong need to feel your humanity. This occurs when you are being personal with him. By contrast, when you play the role of “Father,” or “Mother,” you maintain a defensive mask or façade. You could, instead, dispense with your parental role and behave in a manner which is natural. This would allow your child to experience you as human and lovable.

 Your child desperately needs to feel love for you. If deprived of that opportunity, she suffers unbearable pain. When you keep your child at a distance or if you provoke her into a negative or hostile posture towards you, she feels alienated from you. With this alienation she experiences intense guilt reactions. Then, by being so bent out of shape psychologically, she loses contact with herself. This disconnection often leads to her being punished for not being a loving person.

 The results of this sequence of negative behaviors are that the strong human ties that bind parents to their children are irretrievably broken. In the absence of these ties, the children find themselves without any positive motives for the control of their impulses. Sadly, the absence of positive human ties engendered by these impersonal behaviors can brutalize a child as much as an act of sadism can.

I hope by now you realize how crucial it is to allow your child to love YOU. Sometimes it is difficult for parents to see the significance of this fact because so many of them sadly place so little value on their real selves as well as their natural attributes. As parents, however, you must realize this lack of value you place on yourself is negatively influencing your child and work to correct it, with a counselor, if need be.

In the end it is not that difficult to relate to your child in a more personal manner once you put your mind to the task. All you have to do is to talk about your own feelings and life experiences like you were talking to a friend. You sharing of your world will allow your children to share their world with you. By being connected in this personal way, you all will feel truly loved.


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