Growing up kids together
Experience teaches may be true, but the lesson is not always as well taken as it might be. Everyone knows of people who make the same mistakes over and over. Children too, cannot be expected to find out for themselves everything that is to
be gained from an experience. They could, and do, spend a lifetime without coming to a conclusion that could have been gained the first time around if it had been pointed out to them.
During the first few years children are intensely receptive to all forms of learning. Your chances of influencing them decrease in proportion to the childs age. It is too late to try to inculcate values and virtues when the child is a teenager.
Say you have a child who is domineering and a bully it may even be the younger child. Your attitude could be that the other child must learn to fight for herself so you leave them to it. Yet, 20 years later, you will still have a meanie and a mouse. The bullying child should have been intercepted in infancy and the victim encouraged to assert herself by helping maintain her self-esteem.
As much as you are there to bring order into a childs notion of what the world is like, you are there to give guidance on moral issues. Unless the lesson of the experience is learnt, it is a wasted exercise. And it is a very rare individual indeed who can come to the right conclusion without interpretive help. Teasing that is hurtful debases the user and humiliates the receiver. It does not help the one on the receiving end to learn to take it. Kindness and politeness are even more important within the family than outside. Because the barriers are so much lower, everyone needs to stop themselves from going beyond the point where hurt is felt and goodwill evaporates. More is learnt by teaching the aggressor self-control than by imagining that being hurt will teach the victim to take it. Suffering hunger does not make you less hungry next time. At best the relationships between family members are fragile tenuous things, and allowing them to turn into a free-for-all-jungle with hurt and recrimination the norm, is savage and stupid.
WHAT FATHERS ARE MADE OF Cricket and camping and climbing on the knee and coming home to chaos and expecting supper on the turn? Oh no, that is a very old scenario. That was when men were living on the outskirts of reality, before they woke up to their rights as fathers and discovered the nucleus of life in their own home. It is not surprising that few fathers bond with their babies when you consider that they have been kept out of things so efficiently by the maternal mafia. Like mothers, fathers need time to learn to like a child and relate to her. And fathers would learn more quickly if they were encouraged to participate right from the beginning. Even before birth fathers should be included in preparations for their child.
Antenatal classes which include the father can help make him feel more than a spare part in an unfamiliar ritual. Being at the birth will help overcome the feeling that the child is a stranger who could belong to anyone. Just as a mother must be given the opportunity to handle and re-establish symbiosis with her baby in the first hours after birth, so the father must have a chance to form a bond preferably alone, so that he can shed his inhibitions and become a primal man and get to the essence of things.
New mothers are just as nervous of handling their babies as a man might be. Putting down a man for his lack of expertise is a crude old trick used by some women to get men back for making them feel inferior in other ways. Forget it. Games like these are as self-defeating as they are unnecessary. You are both novices and you need all the help you can get – particularly support from each other. Female chauvinism in the nursery has made many men reluctant to become involved. It has encouraged men to denigrate the job of motherhood because they have had no opportunity to discover for themselves what it takes,
with the result that women complain about the lack of involvement and feeling in their partners, and the men cut themselves off at a time when they are most needed. Divorce after the birth of a child is depressingly common; it takes a mature couple to cope with the stresses that having a child can place on a marriage. Yet when parenthood is a joint venture, more than just a meeting of sperm and egg, it can be the most enriching experience of all.
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