What is going on with my kids?
In short, they are feeling lonely. Now, if you take a few minutes to read this article and understand why, you sure will be able to do a lot to help them.
In the beginning you were one, but not for long
When you were born, you were a small baby who couldn't do anything by yourself. Your parents took care of you, gave you food, gave you clothes and then sent you to study to school. There you meet a lot of other boys and girls and made some friends. After that, you kept on growing a little more by yourself, and you managed to depend a little less on your parents. A few years later, you also discovered that your parents were your parents and that you were just that: you. And, after accepting this new reality, you started to assume more things by yourself or with your friends and less with them. Do you remember it? Well, what happened to you in those first years of your life is probably happening to your kids these days too.
Erich Fromm, in Fear for Freedom, called this moment differentiation or individualization, and it happens when a child is between seven and nine years of age. Individualization is an unavoidable and irreversible process in which your kid discovers he is not a part of you and will not feel himself linked to you as he did before ever again.
The question is: If your children have changed... have you changed with them? Most of the times, the answer is no; and this is the cause of so many problems between parents and children. When they were little boys and girls, you gave them orders and they felt it was correct to obey, as they saw themselves as an extension of you. But now a rebel question comes up: Why should they obey, if they have already found out that they are individuals by themselves?
If your kid has become a little depressive or perhaps rebel, now you know why he has. Your kid have changed. Have you changed with him?
I'll leave the answer pending for a moment. You need to read this before.
How do your children see and suffer your separation
From a child's point of view, it is great to be a child because mum and dad will always be there to protect him and give their love. Not many things are more important than mum and dad. Even if he has fun with his friends, knowing that mum and dad are there make him feel happy and well. And they love to feel well because he loves his dad and his mum. Does this sound familiar for you? It sounds familiar for everybody.
Some years later, however, all this breaks. Your children discover they are not an extension of you but individuals by themselves. They differentiate. And they feel sad, because they feel somewhat disappointed and, further, this strong sensation of belongingness disappears and makes them feel absolutely lonely.
Who can he trust, now? Parents are not an alternative because it is from them from who he has separated! Who can he trust? Oh, my God! Who can he trust...?
If you felt in your heart what I felt when I was writing the previous paragraph, you know the answer, dear dad or mum: He can trust you. Why doesn't he do it?! The answer is simple again: Because they don't know it: they need to rediscover it. And you need to help him rediscover it.
Most parents fail in changing with their kids
After your children's differentiation, you cannot keep a bond of subordination with you kid. They have already changed and this change cannot be reversed. Now onwards you need to establish a strong bond of trust with your kid, without giving up your role of parent in the process.
It is important to do it this way. If you don't manage to have your child trust you as a parent and as a friend, he will look somewhere else and, you know it, sometimes end up bad or in trouble.
Knowledge + Society + Relationships