I was giving a wellness training and gave the example of a child who grows up with parents who are over protective will learn that the world is something to be afraid of as they feel their parents’ fears. A child who grows up with parents who are too harsh will learn that the way to deal with things in the world is to be harsh to those around them. Those beliefs are then often carried forward in their life and affect their relationships as an adult. A woman attending the training asked, “So what’s the right thing to do?” My response, “Good question. The answer is 2 parts. First, parents need to adjust the way they approach each child based upon the child’s temperament. If the parent is paying attention, they can see by the child’s response if they are being too harsh or too overprotective. The second part is that the vast majority of children (and adults) respond better with moderation in the middle and it is the parents’ responsibility to adjust their approach, not the child’s responsibility to adapt to the parents. Whether you are an adult or a child, extremes are almost always bad for relationships. We need to embrace the gray and get in the middle with more moderation in all areas of life.
Clearing Your Head and Healing Your Heart
Putting the Pieces Together (So We Make Sense of Ourselves, Others and Our World)
Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD
Family Therapy Ventura, California
©2015 Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD