Tag Archives: nature vs. nurture

raising children, raising parents

spaced-out drug userlin over at telling it like it is has an article on 10 ways to raise children to use drugs. examples:

  • encourage insecurity by telling them to keep secrets from other family members or family secrets from others
  • avoid touching, hugging, and taking time to interact with your children.
  • disregard their physical needs.
  • ignore their worthwhile and constructive habits

it’s a perfect prescription for unhappiness, period – a child who grows up in an environment like this may not necessarily get into drugs but will be guaranteed to have other problems.

it again reminds me of gabor maté’s book, in the realm of hungry ghosts – close encounters with addiction. as i’ve mentioned before, this canadian doctor makes the case that many problems with addiction stem from not only an unhappy childhood but also from pregnancy, where the brain undergoes its formation.

as a counsellor, i have worked with people with very, very serious addiction problems. there was not a one among them who did not grow up in a difficult environment.

conversely, people who grew up in an environment that would score well according to lin’s list: they’re not always angels, they may experiment with drugs for a while, they may have a bit of a brush with the law – but they always seem to be able to right themselves after a while, they seem to have a buffer that prevents them from reaching a bottom that isn’t really a bottom, it’s a neverending pit.

having said all this, we need to look at the parents. parents do not want to be angry all the time, give in to ridiculous demands, ignore the consequences of their children’s behaviour, show low self worth and all the other things on lin’s list. parents who behave like that are clearly unhappy people who need just as much support, encouragement, education and love as their children do.

it takes a village to raise a good parent.

(image by murplej@ane)