Saturday, January 3, 2015

Toxic Parents

Recently the word toxic parents is seen often in the press.  The columnist in View from the Ark in the Catholic Times recounts a personal incident that he recalls from the past in his days as a principal of a high school.

In making the rounds of the class rooms he saw a student fighting with another student. The student that initiated the fight, out of the blue, asked the principal: 'Is what I have done reason enough to call my mother to come to the school?" A question which surprised the principal. You would think that he would ask for mercy, but rather it was with the expectation that  he would have the mother come to the school over the incident.

The principal was curious and looking into the issue found out that the mother without consultation had registered him in five  academies after school. This proved to be a problem with the son. Fortunately the father was on the side of the son, but the  mother was adamant. The son hoped the fight would bring the mother to the school and solve his problem.

They decided to have an encounter with the  student, parents, and teachers. They never had a case of this type so the principal was present. At the first meeting there was great conflict between the mother and  son. On the way home the three of them walked their separate ways.

On the second meeting the mother crying said she had no other way of behaving because of her situation. Her husband's brothers all attended prestigious schools and her husband went to another college. Fortunately a cousin was accepted at the  school that her husband attended so if her son doesn't get into college all will think that the children did not have the right mother.

The son seeing his mother crying and hearing her words  said he would work hard to get into college and give all the glory to his mother. The fight between them ended. The husband also was sorry for his behavior. All gave in to the mother and acquiesced to live with the  toxic smoke emitted.

Not wanting to  pass on to the children the mother's weak points  she was instead passing on her toxic behavior. This type of nurturing of the child will pass on the toxicity to other generations. What this generation needs is creativity and autonomy to solve their own  problems. Because of what the son has seen it will be difficult to expect an openness to the life of virtue.

The Chinese character for closeness (intimacy) has three parts:  standing on a  tree, and looking around. This is the understanding that he wants included in the process of nurturing of children and to be wary of controlling every aspect of a child's life. He hopes the  new year will see many more children enjoying the school years, and parents finding satisfaction in their family life without the pressures from society.                                                                                                                                       

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