Friday, 30 November 2012

No feeling...when parents are bad for their children

Toxic parenting
Being born on the wrong side of the tracks can happen for many reasons. Where you’re born is not the problem but who you’re born to can turn out to be the poisoned chalice that you’re forced to drink from.

Parents who neglect their offspring reap a bitter harvest. If it takes a whole village/town to educate a child then.... it only takes one abused and neglected child to bring down a nation.  

To be deprived of love as a child is akin to the strangulation of aspiration and ambition. A child is robbed when its parents are warring or emotionally defunct. The child becomes withdrawn and angry and becomes a moving target for the sexual predator.

If they don’t fall prey to this kind of victimhood, they may either become drug or alcohol dependent and end up on the streets . Parents don’t seem to want to take the responsibility when it gets tough and the teenage years (and beyond) are no picnic.

Parents don't want to admit to their flaws and take responsibility for their own characters – their failings and lack of attention can lead their children to a dead end in life – and who do they blame? Everyone but themselves and, of course, their children.

Talk therapy
It’s not easy to see your children displaying the very qualities that got you into trouble for as a youngster….the belligerence and resentment of authority. When we’ve not worked on our own irksome traits then we are less compassionate with our offspring. 

When your children go bad, make sure you square up and take a long hard look at yourself. When your children make mistakes and reach out to you, make sure you are ready and waiting to welcome them back into the fold.

Parents with enlarged egos will balk at this idea…surely children learn a good lesson when they’re put out in the cold and allowed to fend for themselves? They certainly do but the damage that they encounter during that time can take a lifetime to undo.

In 1996, Tanya Kach was an innocent and naieve 14 year old.  An only child, her parents were neglectful. When their marriage broke down they weren't equipped to deal with their emotions or hers.

Children get easily dragged down into a whirlpool of negativity but it is up to the adults to be supportive. Always tell the truth to your child, no matter how hard that may be. A child sees only the truth, no matter what lies you try to cover it up with. It’s a mistake to expect them to take sides so don’t…..this only shows your weakness in seeking approval.
Be vigilant and don’t become a victim or let your child be one.

Tanya Kach was so messed up emotionally that she came to the attention of a 35 year old security guard at her school. Thomas Hose was a lascivious lothario who  abused his position of trust and started to proposition the youngster. Enjoying the attention she found him an easy confidant and  protector. Hose played along, manipulating and molesting the starry-eyed teen.

Such was his control and influence over her that he persuaded her to run away to his safe house. This was  a small room at the top of the house that he shared with his teenage son and elderly parents.  Feeling worthless and with neither of her parents to turn to since, they had divorced and were in the throes of new relationships, Tanya saw this as a way out.

Sadly it was not. She was to be imprisoned for ten years and  only allowed out for quick trips to the shops on rare occasions. Thomas Hose demeaned her in every possible way – emotionally and sexually – until she was so broken that he made her believe that her parents would never have her back. He reminded her often that she had no where to go and he was her only saviour.

For all those long years, Tanya Kach, was an official missing person, her picture was displayed on milk cartons,  even though she wasn’t far from her former neighbourhood. She endured abuse and discomfort and was trained like an animal to perform tricks that her “master” taught her. Thomas Hose was a sick individual in every sense of that word.

At the age of 24, after ten years in captivity, on a brief outing to the shops, she found the courage to let a shopkeeper know her plight. Following that the police were called and Hose duly arrested.

Do you think a happy reunion with her parents awaited Tanya? Initially yes, there was a sense of relief but after that the bitterness set in. Her father couldn’t understand why she hadn’t tried to escape and felt that she had chosen this victimhood. Her father’s new wife gave her the cold shoulder and and made her feel like a drama queen. Her mother and stepfather were no better and rejected her. Nevertheless, she remained with her father and endured a difficult time whilst assisting the authorities  to bring Thomas Hose to justice.

In short, Tanya’s parents failed her in every possible way. They are exceptionally mean spirited and, even after Tanya received counselling and got into  a supportive relationship, her parents were unhappy. This is familial dysfunction at its worst and is destructive and damaging to all. We can only wonder at the quality of  parenting that Tanya’s parents received!

Tanya is a success today through her own efforts. If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, this apple has cut all her ties with her parental branches…and who can blame her? Should she forgive her parents? In this case it would be pointless. These parents would never understand as it their abiding belief is that they haven’t done anything wrong. They are self-righteous in their anger towards their daughter and I say let them wallow in it.

There are many parents, like Tanya’s. They just don’t seem to apply constructive care to their children in their formative years.  The teenage years are critical and, as a parent of teens myself, I know the challenges all too well. Yes, they’re defiant, rude, lazy and negligent but a parent should never fight back with the same weapons.  Yes they take everything for granted and expect a lot more than they give.

Parenting is precious
During the most trying times, remember how precious they are and were when they were first placed into your arms. Cherish them but use tough love measures too. I can’t tell you what they are as each teen is unique and what applies to one will not apply to another.  

Do not put partners/friends/work/church/hobbies above them and include them in these aspects of your life. If they want to be alone, let them be.

Talk to them about your life journey;  your failures and successes during your teens.  Be gentle, honest, fair and respectful – those are the parenting rules I try to live up to (and often fall short of).  Ask for forgiveness for yourself, not during times of conflict, but in the calm after the storm. Explain to your children that you weren’t given a parenting manual. Adults make mistakes….lots of them….and correcting them is alot harder.

Nurture self-esteem even if you feel your own was destroyed by your care givers. Talk positively and let your children see a joyous spirit. Keep the atmosphere healthy with times for laughter and times for silence(esp. when times are hard). Provide opportunities for spiritual growth and switch off technology -  theirs and yours. 

Help but never hinder
Don’t let your teen girls look for an escape route in the form of a man who promises them the moon (and stars) when all he can offer is a cheap and quick route to a hell (from which they may never return).  Don’t let your teen boys take the rock n’ roll path of drugs and alcohol.

If Tanya had received more unconditional love, she’d never have ended up in such a situation. Tanya is right to have distanced herself from her parents. You can’t teach your parents about unconditional love and they’re not her responsibility.

This is a cautionary tale for adult children who may feel guilty about not contacting their neglectful parents…don’t…you won’t get any thanks for it….where’s there’s no sense, there’s no feeling.


At 2 May 2013 at 01:24 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your so full of shit. You don't know what "REALLY" happened in this situation. You can believe whatever you want to believe. Tanya was not a sweet and innocent child. She tried her darnest to destroy the relationship that her father was forming. Trying to give her the life that she had not had before. Tanya snubbed her nose at it. She left at her own free will. Get off of your damn soap box and learn the "REAL" facts in this case.

At 15 May 2013 at 07:43 , Blogger Wisdomona said...

So you know what really happened to Tanya....great....but in a parent v child battle.....I'm on the side of the child. The buck starts and stops with the adult. Thanks for leaving a comment....the negative ones I treasure.


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