From a Child’s Point of View
by John-Roger, DSS
Originally published in the Movement Newspaper in 1987.
Children are truly God’s loving creations. When they are born, they come onto this planet with a mission of learning how to give and receive love unconditionally. Unfortunately, some adults forget this and sometimes relate to children as if they are deaf and dumb slaves with no intelligence, sensitivity, or feelings. I’ve heard too many adults say “shut up” to a child rather than “I love you.” I’ve observed more adults tell a child, “Just sit there and don’t say anything,” instead of listening to the child’s point of view. I’ve heard adults say, “Do this,” and when the child asks for a reason (“Why?”), I’ve heard the adult say, “Because I said so!”
Often, because the adults are not in touch with their own loving, they may have difficulty expressing loving to children. Perhaps, too, these adults were not shown caring and consideration when they were children. The cycle of pain and ignorance can be perpetuated, from generation to generation, as the actions of the parents are placed upon the children.
Some of the first conscious recollections of children are often negative directions: “Don’t do this. No, not that.” Parents may sometimes find it easier to negate children than affirm them and are sometimes quicker to say no than yes. They can be more prone to be impatient and critical than to accept and say, “Do it as well as you can.” They may sometimes find it easier to focus on what is wrong than to say, “How good you’re doing that!”
Out of a sense of responsibility, parents may tend to take over and manipulate the consciousness of the child. For example, almost every parent has, at some time or other, insisted that the youngster eat everything on his plate whether the child likes it or not. The parent has probably not realized that the children often know whether the food is proper for their nutritional pattern. Babies are sometimes finely tuned into their bodily functions and. needs.
It takes an open, alert parent to receive the child’s messages, particularly since the child is not communicating in a language adults understand. Make no mistake about it, however, infants do have a rapid, lasered form of communication. They receive and send on levels adults may have long forgotten.
I know of one infant who was totally tuned into her parents’ emotional states. For example, when the mother was irritable from a phone conversation with a close relative, the sleeping infant, in a bedroom on the other side of the house, would wake up and cry. The crying was in empathy for her mother’s upset.
I know another four-month-old baby whose father had to take a job out of town and returned home only on weekends. On the first night of his return, the baby woke up crying every 10 minutes. The mother was exhausted from caring for the infant all day and needed sleep. The father understood and, in his loving moved a thick quilt next to the baby’s crib and slept on it. Every time the infant awakened, the father would mumble, “It’s all right, baby, I’m here.” There was empathetic communication between the two, and eventually they all slept well. The important thing is that they woke up in loving togetherness, complete as a family unit.
I know of one particular parent who did respect the baby’s inner knowing when she refused to eat any baby food for the first 10 months of her life. Although the parents were concerned, one of them somehow tuned in: “Look, she’s healthy. She doesn’t get sick. She’s happy, So what if all she wants is milk. She’ll tell us when she’s ready to eat anything else.”
They tuned in and respected the child’s awareness. That baby grew up to be a healthy, vibrant, energetic young lady. Many parents, however, take their responsibility and the child’s lack of adult communication as authorization to manipulate and control, particularly the child’s eating habits.
A parent may issue the edict, “Now, eat everything! I want to see a clean plate before you leave the table,” Those children who obeyed because they feared disapproval may have forced themselves to eat it all, and this eating habit sometimes became an ingrained form of getting approval. The unconscious of the child took care of its responsibility to clean up everything on the plate. This programming may go with the child into adulthood, and the adult may continue to eat everything on the plate. Out of our fear of losing love and approval, an obedient child can become a corpulent adult.
If a youngster doesn’t perform according to the parents’ standards, the parents often give impressions of withdrawing their love. By pretending to be taking their love from the child, the parents exercise control, demanding that the child perform according to the parents’ desires in order to receive love. That is emotional blackmail, which can be disastrous programming to a child who is supposedly loved,
If you wish your children to grow and prosper as constructive, loving human beings, I suggest that you do not teach them that form of manipulation. One of the last things you want them to learn is that this technique-of giving and then taking back love-is a worthy device. To do this could, once again, be a case of the ignorance of the parents being visited upon the children.
Your relationship with your child can be even more loving if you consider the possibility that you and your child have contracted for a relatively brief relationship of instructor and student. (Not judge, jury, and executioner.) You can be a loving, patient instructor to the student/child (and sometimes you may also be the student to your teacher/ child).