I saw something beyond infuriating, and for the first time, 2 possible instinctive reactions came to mind at almost the exact same time. The first was if I was witnessing this infuriating thing being performed by people my own age, and the second was how I might’ve reacted if I was a parent who was witnessing the same event being performed by people considerably younger than I.
The first was an impulsive outburst of carnal intensity; violent and spontaneous, explosive with no remorse. But the second was a slow breeze of impending despair, knowing that this course of action would fester, and cause the depths of my soul to ache. I didn’t like thinking about this course of action I would be forced to consider as a parent, because of how damaging the punishment would be in the long run to the whole family. But the fact that I had thought about it for that brief moment was a new sensation all together.
My ‘parent brain’ switched on for a moment.
Throughout my childhood, I’ve heard the phrase, “you’ll understand when you’re older”. I’ve also heard that “parenting is more difficult than you think”, but I mostly hear that from people who’ve never picked up a parenting book, or bothered to scientifically study ‘adolescence’. So duh, of course it’s easy to devalue children when you basically don’t believe that they’re real people with independent thoughts.
As a unmarried adult with no children, I’ve come to realize that most people like babies, but not everyone likes children. Possibly because of how crazy-protective our culture is about strangers interacting with their young, so that no one has the opportunity to interact with children before they themselves have children. Causing generations of people to walk into the occupation of ‘parenting’ totally blind to the issues.
But of course, children are people, and they’ll be full-grown adults in less than 20 years, so parents need to be open to the endless possibilities of things that children might be interested in.
There are no ‘perfect people’ in the world, so parents need to be open to the very real possibilities that their children will have problems.
My own mom was a serious woman, and treated child-rearing like every other chore. She hurried her children into adulthood with as little fuss as possible, and grew irritated and disappointed when she discovered that her adult-children were nothing like her. Her ‘parent brain’ has never worked properly, as she was never willing to accept the possibility her children are real autonomous individuals that she can’t control.