Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It is not Your Fault: Ignoring it is

Modern parents are under the misconception they should have a perfect child and they feel any problem their young child exhibits is their fault. They have been led to believe their offspring should be perfect so as not to reflect poorly on them.

To maintain this idyllic illusion parents are pressured into concealing their child’s misdeeds from the eyes of others rather than correct the child to make him better. Each transgression or physical imperfection of the child is glossed over or denied in order for the child to appear flawless.

Children are a work in progress not a brilliantly formed diamond. The uniqueness of each child with his positive or negative traits and tendencies possesses a challenge that must be addressed not hidden.

This shielding of the child from the consequences of his own behavior is done by the parents until the child becomes so obnoxious as a teenager they can no longer tolerate him. This usually does not happen immediately. It gradually builds until the parent does not want to even be around the child. Often the grown-up child refuses to leave the parent’s home overstaying his welcome as an adult.

Obviously something is wrong when modern parents are supposed to allow the child to do what he wants and provide whatever he desires. Modern permissive materialistic parenting has failed to help the child become a full functioning adult.

Too many modern parents are under the misconception that children are like beautiful flowers who unfold naturally. Any imperfection in their child is interpreted by the parents that they did something wrong in pregnancy or in the early years. Maybe the mother ate incorrectly during pregnancy or did not relax in childbirth. Maybe the father did not spend sufficient time bonding with the child or worked too much. It is this guilt of not being a perfect parent that paralyzes parents into doing nothing when their child misbehaves.

The confusion for modern parents is that on one hand their expectations are unrealistically high while on the other hand they are being propagandized by the child rearing experts, They say to permit the child to smooth out his own rough edges with little intervention from the parents.

This unrealistic notion of the natural unfolding of the child prevents parents from doing what is best for him. As the child ages he no longer is “cute”. The child’s unchecked negative tendencies, when not tempered as a youngster, result in the teen becoming out of control. The child the parent saw as “cute” is now seen more accurately as trouble. He is ill prepared to function as an adult.

To get back to child rearing that works parents are required to accept children will have physical problems, do many things wrong and understand it is their responsibility to correct them. Parents can assist their children to reach their full potential by continually moulding their behavior. The difficulties of a particular young child are an opportunity for the parent to correct negative tendencies before the child is too set in his ways.

To reverse blaming oneself for normal child behavior and to stop ignoring or reinforcing bad behavior, parents should do the following:

  • Refuse to feel proud or guilty for a child’s positive or negative attributes as an infant. This is genetically determined not something for which a parent can take credit or blame.
  • Encourage and listen to all feedback concerning your child without taking offense to the messenger. This information will help you to determine what to do to help your child.
  • Accept your child for who he is. Shape your child’s responses through thoughtful consequences to help the child become better balanced.
  • Encourage your children to learn for themselves to overcome their limitations.

All children are blessings who are loaned to us for a finite time. Parents are responsible to do the best they can to help their children become the highest functioning people they can be. We humans can choose for ourselves and help our children choose to minimize shortcomings and maximize strengths. This takes constant effort not the effortlessness of closing one’s eyes.



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