I remember somewhat tenderly these Sunday lunches when I was about 10 when my grand-father made his exceptional visit, and as he and my dad loudly argued at the table, my mother hid crying in the kitchen while I tried to console her. 'It's the white wine, she would say in an apologetic tone, white wine always makes me cry like this'. At 10, I could handle it and in those moments would mother my mother...
Different parents have different styles. Some keep tight lips and smile tensely to let their children know everything is fine because 'it needs be fine, and we need to keep the kids out of it'. Some lay it all out and unload their sexual or other frustrations on their five-years old. And there is a whole range in between.
Where do you stand? And what face are you showing?
Beyond ethics and life-style, it's comes handy to know what is age appropriate. Some confessions might be adequate to a 12-years old and not to a five-years old.
Many of my clients, through the process of regression, access burdening (if not traumatic) moments, in which they were told secrets, confessions or feelings of despair or frustration they were far too young to deal with. In the wake of wanting to make kids responsible and not treating them as idiots, and since they are exposed to all sorts of media and information that float around much more loosely than 40 years ago, it's easy to think they can hear everything and that we should be transparent to them. Yet, let us consider if a peer, a friend, an adult member of our family, or, why not?, a therapist, might not be a better person to be the recipient of our troubled mind or heart. Children are meant to play and enjoy the innocence of their budding life, they are to be nurtured and mentored, supported and guided. It is not their role to take care of a troubled adult or sibling, and when we let them be in that role, perhaps, by default, we neglect our responsibility as an adult. To be responsible means 'I am able to respond', simple isn't it?, no burden in this word per se. And when we are not able to respond, because it's too much, too hard, too unfair, too overwhelming, then let us be honest and humble enough to look for peer help.
Our ability to discriminate when to demonstrate vulnerability to our children when they are at an age to understand and have empathy in return, or when it is more adequate to open to adult friends or professionals, is our most profound demonstration of maturity and respect towards our family. The strongest are those of us who have the courage to proactively say 'I need help' to the appropriate person, rather than let it 'leak' or stuff it in. What could be a better cultural example to our children?
MEET ANYES THIS WINTER AT THE NEST! On Wednesday December 2d, she will be guiding the first of a series of 4 understory harvests to gather us in a cozy refuge filled with gentle filtered light. The theme of this first harvest is: A gentle caress for sensitives The radiant rays and heat of summer will return. For now, let us honor our exquisite right to recoil, feel tender and reconnect to our most inner being.
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Anyes Cartry, CCHT