Are They Pets or People?

After reading this article on Saturday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I was reminded why there is still a market for the work that I do. I am amazed at the general disdain of children. There seems to be an obsessive attitude in regard to children being “normal” and “well-adjusted.” Time and time again parents are instructed to create adversarial dynamics in their relationships with children and the results speak for themselves. I have been in the drug and alcohol treatment business for over twenty years and I can say with a great deal of confidence that techniques used to create “well-adjusted” children have resulted in the widening of the gap within families. 

Whether the belief is “children are meant to be seen and not heard” or that “leadership is more important than the relationship,” broken belief systems destroy self-worth. When an adult attempts to present him- or herself as having all of the answers and he or she refuses to admit when they are wrong, they destroy the foundation of honesty and integrity. This is not effective leadership, it is lying. When a child is sent the message that his or her feelings, thoughts, or ideas are worth less than those of adults, he or she develops feelings of inadequacy. He or she will either lash out at authority figures later or be forever passive.

The bottom line is that human beings thrive in loving and open relationships. Families remain close as a result of clear and honest communication. As generations of self-centered, angry, and power mongering adults continue to abuse children through acts of physical violence and demeaning words, less people want to have children. Does a better world start at home? If so, rather than being fixated on your children being “well-adjusted” focus on their ability to be honest, have integrity, communicate clearly, and treat others with love.