Hanz's Note : I am sharing an excerpt from my current book read, 'The Natural Child' by Jan Hunt (2001). Read on. And do ponder how true these situations are norm in our societies in the past & today.
What we say: "No more nursing. You're too big for that now!"
What we think: "I'd like to continue, but I can't stand all the criticism from my relatives."
What the child thinks: "I've just lost the most important thing in my life, the long periods of cuddling & the food that felt best inside me. I must have done something terrible. I must be a terrible person."
What we say 20 years later: "Why are you binging too much?"
What we say: "You can't come into our bed anymore. You won't be lonely. Look, here's a nice big teddy bear to keep you company!"
What we think: "Grandma thinks there's something wrong with having you in our bedroom. I'm not sure what it is, but it's more important for us to please her than to please you. Anyway, this teddy bear should make you happy."
What the child thinks: "It isn't fair! They get to cuddle with a real person. They don't know me very well. They don't care about my feelings. Oh well, at least they gave me this bear."
What we say 20 years later: "I know you're upset that Tom broke off with you, but is that any reason to overcharge your credit card like this? Will all this stuff make you feel better that someone left you? When did you become so materialistic?
What we say : "You know you're not supposed to hit your brother! I'll give you a spanking you'll never forget!"
What we think: "There must be a better way to handle this, but it's what my dad did, so it must be right."
What the child thinks: "I was so upset with my brother I hit him. Now, Dad is so upset with me for hitting, he's hitting me. I guess it's okay for adults to hit, but not for kids. I wonder what I should do when I get upset? Oh well, one of these days I'll be an adult myself."
What we say 20 years later : "Fight at college? Adults don't hit people just because they're upset. I never taught you to resort to violence!"
What we say: "Well, this is a big day for you. Don't be afraid. Just do everything your teacher says."
What we think: "Please don't embarrass me by acting up at school!"
What the child thinks: "But I'm afraid! I'm not ready to leave them for so many hours a day! They must be getting tired of me. Maybe if I do what the teacher says, they'll like me better & let me stay home."
What we say 20 years later: "What?! Your friends talked you into taking drugs? Do you do what everybody else tells you to do? Don't you have a mind of your own?"
What we say : "Your teacher says you aren't paying attention in class. How will you ever learn anything important?"
What we think: "If my kid never amounts to anything, I'll feel like a failure."
What the child thinks: "If I'm not interested in the things the teacher talks about, but I guess she knows best. The things that do interest me must not be important."
What we say 20 years later : "You're 28 years old & you still don't know what you want to do with your life? Aren't you interested in anything?"