Written by Olwethu Mokonenyane
Our society has been raised on a very standard formula. Go to a university. Find the love of your life. Get a socially accepted form of employment. Get married. And finally have kids. While this formula was addressed in my first blog post, today I will be tackling the topic of having kids. Now I like kids and I myself want to have kids in the very distant future. You must be thinking why do I seem to want to completely distance myself from the idea of having kids?
The answer to that is because at the stage of my life right now, I am a pretty broken and unhealthy person. This is not a self-deprecative, woe is my statement. This is a statement that stems from a point of complete transparency and honesty. I am a broken and unhealthy person; as a broken and unhealthy person, I do not believe that I am at a point where I can provide any children I do have an environment that is conducive to their growth. The concept of having children has been greatly romanticized in our society since time immemorial. In the age of our forefathers, having a child was seen as a means of ensuring that the family possessed a way to ensure their bloodline continued on and that they had someone to take care of them in their old age. While these things are of importance, should they really be all a child is worth?
There exists a trend in the world of having a child because the people involved in making the child do not want to deal with the impact that their own childhoods or want a child in order to save a relationship that is not working. While from a surface level, this does seem like a very good idea, on close examination this can cause problems for the child in the future. There exists multiple reasons why a couple should not have a child to save a marriage. Your child for one will end up picking up on the subtle energies of the relationship; for another, the people within the marriage would end up resenting the child and each other.
A broken adult gives birth to a broken child because parents, who have not healed themselves, projects the entirety of their childhoods on to the child. The statement that not everyone wants kids should also contain the message of ‘not everyone should have kids’. People would be quick to state that an addict should never have a child, however what about the narcissistic parent?
“A narcissistic parent can be defined as someone who lives through, is possessive of, and/or engages in marginalizing competition with the offspring.” – A brief explanation from Psychology Today.
Not only is this person for all purposes toxic as the have unresolved issues that are deeply ingrained in their personalities. Would not someone like this be ill-suited for parenthood? Let us use another example that so greatly breaks a child down. Would a human being who has not worked through childhood abuse be a person that is suited to be a parent? These questions although easy to answer become tossed aside so readily that we often wonder why children behave the way that they do. We call a child a brat omitting the reality that the parents give everything to the child. We call a child promiscuous omitting that the child is subconsciously looking for a relationship with their parents. Society so quickly looks at the symptoms of the child, while not looking at causes. Now, this isn’t a crutch that my younger readers can use to validate their behaviour and it should not be used as such. A child at the end of the day is a being that the parents are responsible for until they can financially take care of themselves, yet there will be many moments in their adulthood where they will still need to rely on their parents. Children shouldn’t be a checklist item or an accessory to be used.
Parenthood should be an act of genuine love and selflessness.
So what makes a good parent. Here is the thing. There is no parenting module that can proclaim itself to be the ideal. A parenting strategy should be based around the child instead of how the parents themselves were raised. More than anything a child-orientated manner of raising would be centred around the love languages of the child.
The love languages are:
- Physical affection
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Gift giving
- Quality time
A child who craves physical affection should never be subjected to corporal punishment. A child who thrives when their parents give them praise should not be told that their parents are disappointed in their behaviour. A child who smiles when their mother or father makes them their favourite meal should be treated in the manner which teaches the child how exactly they went wrong.
A major problem with raising children, particularly with the Baby Boomer generation is the continuation of ancestral trauma. Our parents were beaten when they did something wrong. They were broken down whenever they made a mistake that to the parents deemed the need to be ostracized. This continues the cycle of maltreatment that leaves many wondering why our children at the way they do.
Children are a choice the needs to be made by the members of the couple themselves not by social pressure to meet a checklist that is used to deem if a person is worthy of ‘making it in life’. Children are a blessing, not a necessity.