Your child isn’t TRYING to drive you to distraction – think again…

Posted by Samantha on August 5, 2011 in Change, Conditioning |

Natural logic forbids belief in the evolution of a species with the characteristic of driving its parents to distraction by the millions.

Jean Liedloff, American writer and psychotherapist (1926 – 2011)

To drive me to distraction? Or simply having fun?

Why do we keep up the pretence that children are either sweetness and light or that they are specifically designed to drive us to distraction?

I don’t think Jean Liedloff was trying to be funny when she wrote this line in the Thoughts for the Second Edition preface to her book The Continuum Concept.  But her line makes me laugh because it’s so obviously true.

We frequently use language that implies children are either all good or all bad depending on their behaviour – or our mood.  I know the vast majority of parents know that their children can’t be accurately described in black and white terms.  But we’ve been culturally conditioned to both revere and reject our children.

A good example of this black and white thinking and speaking, which we so easily slip into, is that sarcastic phrase “little darlings”.  It manages to imply that children are both angels and devils – at the same time!

Let’s remember that our children are simply children: fun, playful, imaginative, curious, loving, generous, forgiving and kind.  Most of the time.

I’ve not yet finished chapter one of Liedloff’s book and I’m loving her insights already.  It is not that children are incompatible with adults.  It is 21st century Western culture that is making children and their parents incompatible.

It is up to us to resist “the tyranny of habit” and “the great weight of cultural conditioning” and change this.

2 Comments

  • I wanted to point out that Jean passed in 2011, not 1911. 😉

    “It is up to us to resist “the tyranny of habit” and “the great weight of cultural conditioning” and change [21st century Western culture that is making children and their parents incompatible] ”

    Yes! Resistance to this weight is well worth the effort. By realizing and promoting the innate compatibility between parents and children we can realistically avoid untold suffering for generations present and future. What an awesome task!

  • Samantha says:

    Thank you James – typo corrected. And I like the way you point out that my efforts in this regard will help my family avoid suffering both now, and in the future. That makes it all worthwhile 🙂

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