What is a normal child like? Does he just eat and grow and smile sweetly? No, that is not what he is like. The normal child, if he has confidence in mother and father, pulls out all stops. In the course of time he tries out his power to disrupt, to destroy, to frighten, to wear down, to waste, to wrangle, and to appropraite…At the start he absolutely needs to live in a circle of love and strength (with consequent tolerance) if he is not to be fearful of his own thoughts and his images to make progress in his emotional development

-Donald W. Winnecott, The Child, The Family, and the Outside World

I first read this quote from the book Raising Cain (page 239).  I think I shouted “Yes!!! Exactly!” a dozen times as I read it. I find it a bit amusing when I over hear parents talking about “How could their child do x,y, or z,  to them?”  How do you react when someone cuts you off? Or tells you “no”? Or calls you out on an inappropriate behavior? I am guessing it is in the vein of “How dare you do that to me?”

Children are reacting normally. It is just most people have been dismissed, shamed, and spoon-fed or even clobbered into them these so-called beliefs of how we should be. We are terrified that if our child behaves this way now, that they will never learn the “right way”.  So we react to our fear with anger, not even noticing that own reaction is the same reaction of our child’s, the only difference is that ours may be bit more refined [Although I have heard of an adult hitting (or worse) a child because their child hit someone].

I have seen that it takes a lot (sadly, a lot of emotional harm) for a child to lose confidence in their mother and father. They are truly resilient so we have ample opportunities to change and respond appropriately with unconditional love and respectful guidance. In the end, if one learns to truly embrace the negative, love and accept yourself and everyone else through it, then the negativity dissipates and transcends into unimaginable greatness.

Being human is such a on-going learning process because even though I have experienced these wonders, I frequently get caught up in a wave of negativity and react. But I know I have made  heaps of progress because this is happening less often and I am catching them sooner. I am grateful I have a partner who loves me unconditionally. I have the support, courage, and insight to give this level of presence and acceptance to my children. as well as love us all through when we struggle.

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