Emotional Intelligence | Parenting | Emotional Abuse
Two Kinds of Parents
Let's oversimplify for a moment and say there are two kinds of parents: those who feel bad when they cause pain for their child or teen and those who feel good when they do.
My writing is directed towards those parents in the first group.
Let's also say there are parents who are emotionally abusing their children and teens in an attempt to fill some of their unmet emotional needs and there are parents who are emotionally abusing their sons and daughters simply because they lack the information, knowledge, training and skills which would provide them with better, non-abusive methods of parenting. I would suspect that the parents in this category are also the same parents who feel bad when they cause pain for their children.
The parents who actually enjoy causing their own offspring pain were almost certainly abused either physically, emotionally or both when they were growing up. They are unlikely to benefit much from either advice or information on how to be less abusive. They are, instead, likely to feel and act very defensively and perhaps with hostility towards anyone who attempts to "reform" them. This is where education about emotional abuse in the public schools could prove the most helpful in the long run.
Here are a couple of ideas of ways schools could help stop the cycle of abuse.
One idea for use in schools is to have children keep a parenting journal. In it they would write when they were punished, what the reason was and how they felt. They would also write how deserving of punishment they felt from 0-10.
This could become part of their official school record and could be used later for research purposes. Iit could be used to help them get help and support while they are young. Another possible benefit is that it could also help someone understand what happened to them when they were young.
In our work with self-harming teens we have seen that not understanding why they are depressed, afraid or anxious is one of the reasons teens feel very confused. This confusion adds to their emotional pain.
Schools could also teach what emotional abuse is. and what emotional support is. More specifically they could teach what invalidation is, for example.
Two Kinds of Societies
Here is a comment made by a parent who removed nearly everything from her son's room....she tells us she
"had the pleasure of watching his face when he saw what I had done."
From Nigel Latta's How to Punish a Teen Page. Latta's suggestions to parents motivated me to write this article.