By Lydia Wilson
For The Bali Times
KEROBOKAN ~ As parents, we want to ensure that our children are happy and successful when they grow up. The last thing we want is for them to grow up unhappy or depressed about their lives.
But most of us have never had any education about parenting. What we know is usually from what we learned from our parents, and they learned from theirs.
Sometimes if we don’t agree with the way they brought us up, we choose the opposite of what they did – or sometimes, without realising it, we follow their ways. For example, if our parents were strict with us, we will either be completely lenient with our children or also strict. Either way, there is no guarantee that what we are doing with our children will help them create a better future for themselves. All we know is that we are doing our best, in the way we know how.
At a dinner 10 years ago, I met a man who proudly told me that he and his wife would smack or slap the hands of their 2-year-old daughter to teach her to behave herself. He said that this was how his parents had taught him as a child and that he had turned out alright.
Although I didn’t agree with him, I couldn’t say that what he was doing was right or wrong. This was what he has learned from his own parents and he thought it was the best way to teach a child.
My parents never hit us when we were young because they believed it wasn’t right to hit children. My mother learned from the age of 5 how painful it was to be hit daily with a rattan stick by her stepmother and she promised herself she would never do it to her own children.
I watched my mother suffer from lack of self-confidence all her life because of the beatings. Although she was a smart woman who was successful in her career, even in her 70s she was still very insecure and could not easily trust people. I remember her telling me about it a few times and each time she did, it brought tears to her eyes.
Therefore: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
We feel angry when someone hit us; it hurts. And it makes us feel angrier if we don’t know why they hit us and we carry this anger and suffer from it if we can’t express how we feel towards the person who hit us. Children are just a small version of us. They do feel what we feel. As they cannot fight for themselves, for protection, even though they will forget the painful incidences, the subconscious never forgets. It is buried deep within their subconscious as repressed feelings that become their push-buttons that will create havoc later on in their lives.
In this article, I would like to share with you some of the cases that I have come across in my practice. Perhaps it can bring some light to us – how our actions can affect our children. If we want them to have good self-esteem and self-confidence and have a successful and happy future, maybe we can learn from these examples so we will not make the same mistakes.
(All names have been changed due to client privacy.)
On physical abuse – Darryl, 37, came to me because he was easily irritated by his 5-year-old daughter and he had the tendency of hitting her. He would feel guilty soon afterwards but he couldn’t help himself. Each time after he did it, he would promise himself he would not do it again; but it kept happening, over and over. His daughter developed eczema on both legs due to her inability to express her feelings about what he had done to her. We found out during a session that his repressed anger or push-button was created by his own father, who used to hit him when he was a child. Realising and releasing it from his system made him a calmer and more loving father who has not laid a finger on his daughter since.
On comparing to others – Hanna, 27, came to me because she felt a lack of self-confidence and often became stressed in her job because she felt she wasn’t good enough. During a session, we found out that her mother used to compare Hanna with the neighbours’ children. She used to tell Hanna that so and so was better or doing better than her. Although her mother meant well, instead of motivating and inspiring Hanna to do better at what she does, it only hurt her feelings and she felt that in her mother’s eyes, she would never be good at anything. Realising her mother’s true motive in doing that, Hanna learned to release the pain and found her self-confidence.
Neglect – Daisy, 31, came to see me because she had felt a deep loneliness for as long as she could remember. Even when she was out with friends, she often felt alone and it was hard for her to fit in. We found out during a session that as a child, both her parents used to work all day and had no time for her. Every day she would come home from school to an empty house. When her parents came home in the evening, they were too tired to play with her. They didn’t realise her need for love and affection. They thought that as they could provide her with all the material things she needed, such as being able to send her to a good school, providing her with nice clothes and good food, they were doing well for her. Healing her inner lonely child brought back her self-esteem and the belief that she is worthy of love.
Living our dreams through our children – Mary, 35, came to me a few years ago because she was in turmoil about what to do with her life. She gave up her successful litigation lawyer’s job five months before she came to see me, as she was not happy with it. She became a lawyer following her father’s wish. He had wanted to be a lawyer but couldn’t go to law school because his parents didn’t have the money. Her heart wasn’t in it even though her salary was good and she didn’t want to disappoint her father; but it wasn’t what she wanted to do in her life. During a session, she found out that what would make her happy and what she really wanted to do was to teach yoga and help others through charity work. She has learned to balance her work since. By doing the work she loves – and still doing part-time legal work, helping people who have been swindled to get their money back – she told me she has been feeling much happier in her life.
I will continue with this subject next week.
Till then, love and light.
Lydia Wilson is a transpersonal hypnotherapist and trainer based in Kerobokan, Bali. If you have a question you would like answered in this column, write to Lydia at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more go to www.bluelight7.com