If we let our children fall and get up on their own, we are allowing them to build the necessary coping skills that will help them through life long struggles; little or big. They build the confidence they need to assure themselves they can handle what comes their way. So step back, underparent for a second, and give your children some time to work out life’s challenges for themselves. They will learn to understand when they fall, they do have the ability to pick themselves up. They will learn the strength of their own competence. As a parent, it is important to trust that your child has the ability to tackle many more obstacles than you probably imagine. I see it as you are giving them the courage, while listening to their feelings.
Let your child live with a little disappointment and resolve their own problems. We need to help children become self-sufficient; their independence will go far. Support and comfort them when they are not able to pick themselves up again. You are their rock and I assure you, they will need you along the way!
Little more to say! Between them these articles nail it, although they don’t give much indication of how to avoid overparenting, how to learn to parent or how to relearn how to parent. In other words how to be an adult, deal with your own issues about how you were parented and be ready to parent when the time comes. So many adults, it seems, think it will just happen when they have kids or that kids will somehow slot into their lives effortlessly and they won’t have to make any changes – often the opposite of helicopter parents, but sometimes over-involved, over-organising and over-providing for future needs, including anticipated needs, like the need to own a house in achieving adulthood, so that the parents work impossible hours to make money for the future while denying children their attention, care and guidance when they need it as children and steal their achievement in working for and buying their own house when they become adults!
The violence we experience as children is so easily passed on to our children and we adoptees need to be particularly careful to address our primal wound and it’s ramifications well before we have kids, if we are able. So few of us are and do and that empty space, the void left by our missing mother, the violence done to us by our removal from her or our abandonment by her, leaves scars which make it hard for us to parent as effectively, lovingly and connectedly as we might wish. We may not even be aware that the hole in our hearts, the empty space which is never filled, will affect our ability to parent, to bond with our child and to attach in loving, healthy ways.
If you have not read Alice Miller’s* work you might find it helpful. Some of the translations of her work are clunky and the content written for her own benefit, about her own interests as a psychologist, but there is great value in the message – that the violence we suffer as children affects the whole of the rest of our lives in profound ways. I am currently reading Free From Lies – Discovering Your True Needs. To quote, she says in the Preface – “First,the fact that suppressed violence is passed on to the next generation so that the progression of violence cannot be halted; and second, the fact that remembrance of the abuse we have been subject to causes the symptoms of illness to disappear.”
So many of us adoptees are discovering that our lives have been marred and made infinitely more difficult by illness, disease and suffering, caused by conditions over which we have no or little control, which have their beginnings in the earliest times of our development in the womb, through to our birth and earliest of treatment and ‘care’ by adults, those who did not love us but were paid to look after us and by those who later paid to look after us in adoption and who were inexperienced, ill-equipped and ill-prepared. Biological relatives are often ill-prepared and inexperienced, but they are our biological relatives, a not insignificant fact, which makes a world of difference in some circumstances.
The heart of the difficulties experienced by some mothers of loss in relation to adoptees may well relate to guilt over that unacknowledged violence done to us, sometimes unknowingly, but sometimes in full knowledge of the pain, the tearing apart of the bond between mother and child, which they must undergo in order to ‘do’ adoption or as the adoption industry likes to put it, ‘make an adoption plan’ in that way that sanitises, removes the motion and the raw pain of events and sets up the pretense that there are few implications for the future and that the mother is doing the right and responsible thing and indeed is being loving and caring. Nothing could be further from the truth in terms of what will damage the child and provide lasting damage to the adult adoptee. Mothers must take some responsibility for the consequences of their decisions and actions, unless of course their pregnancy was a genuine result of incest or rape and/or they were unable to parent.
However, the adoption industry perpetrates, perpetuates and encourages the violence and abuse of adoption, not even out of a misguided public spiritedness but for profit, to make money and to grow a business. Big Adoption has possibly been responsible for more abuse of babies and children than any other industry or group of workers and it is done shamelessly, openly and without remorse, using justifications, excuses, lies, blatant exploitation and deceit. How grown adults continue to be deceived by it, support it, excuse it, defend it and find it ethical can only be explained by naivety, uncaring, desperation or in some cases the intention to abuse.
The testing of children and the ‘therapeutic’ interventions which are supposed to ‘cure’ them and make them ‘improve’ so that they fit into family life as delineated by adults continue, psychologists love them, earn their living by them and promote their worth. Birigen ‘invented’ ’emotional availability’* and has it trademarked, being the ‘expert’ in it and in administering the tests and implementing th interventions and presumably interpreting the results. –
Recently released evidence from the EA Professionals Curriculum (Biringen et al., in press;
Easterbrooks & Biringen, in press) indicate that (at post-test as compared to pretest) teachers in the Intervention Group are more likely to improve in most aspects of emotional availability,
whereas teachers in the Control Group remain consistent. Further, the children in the
Intervention Group are more likely to show improvement in levels of Child Involvement of the
adult but lower levels of Dependency, as measured by the Attachment Q-Set (Waters & Deane,
1985) from pre- to post-test, as compared to the Control Group. That is, after experiencing the
intervention, they become more emotionally available toward the teachers but less clingy toward
them. The EA Parent Curriculum has been implemented in the Denver metro area as well as
Pueblo, Colorado. Findings indicate that primary caregivers (grandmothers, mothers) as well as
children in the Intervention Group show improvements in almost all aspects of emotional
availability and report that their children have become less demanding and challenging, on the
Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1995).
Oh dear!! – *http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/imhj.20060/pdf
What does it mean for adoptees or any child, to be part of this sort of intervention, in which the goal is to bring about increased ’emotional availability’, whatever it is, and to be judged ‘less demanding and challenging’ by involved adults? There are dangers here, as with any ‘therapies’ or ‘interventions’ which claim to alter the behaviour of children to make them more manageable, ‘normal’, less clingy and less demanding.
It seems that parenting becomes more and more confusing for adults and for children, less emotionally involving, less about equipping children with life skills,less about allowing them to develop their abilities, imaginations, self-reliance, courage and strengths. It seems we are moving into a new era of the abuse of children; sometimes by neglect and sometimes by over-concentration, a smothering wish to control, organise, protect or produce achieving children who will live in a cut-throat world in a cut-throat way.