I had to work very hard to shed the years of negativity I was exposed to over the years. I grew up with every possible phobia, fear and dysfunction anyone could ever be exposed to and still come out of it somewhat sane or at least functioning.My mother was afraid of everything because of the way her father had tortured her and her four sisters. She and her sisters passed the fear on to their children, with the exception of her youngest sister.It is appropriate to teach children “not to talk with strangers” or “look both ways before crossing the road,” but enforcing an over abundance of fear robs children of their free will and creativity. Stifling a child’s creativity will inhibit their ability to problem solve and keep their focus during a crisis. And we all know life is bound to serve up a crisis here and there.I have heard many of my clients talk about how their parents never argued in front of them. The children of parents who create an illusion of never having arguments create an illusion of an impossible relationship to live up to. No relationship is possible to survive without an occassional argument. The problem with a lot of couples is they let the argument esculate to a full blow battle, which I agree, children should not be subjected to in any circumstance.
However, those are typically the arguments children do see. The level of anger, emotional, verbal abuse and combative attitudes they might witness their parents project in the heat an argument might lead to a permanent negative impression and view of how relationship communications are.
But how do parents break the bad habits they were exposed to when they were growing up? My parents would yell and scream, my mother would often slam her bedroom door and lock herself in and wouldn’t be seen for days. She’d only come out when we were asleep or in school. I never heard of any stories where her mother resorted to ill behavior, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. One of her sisters would shut down and not talk with anyone if she was mad at one person. The oldest sister became an alcholic and would give in to extreme depression.