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The Tremendous Impact of a Sad Family on an Innocent Child

The Tremendous Impact of a Sad Family on an Innocent Child

One of the truest quotes I have ever heard goes something like “having a child is like having your heart pulled out of your body, then watching it try to navigate through life on its own”. In many ways, this is one of life’s toughest lessons, because children, especially younger ones, are so vulnerable and it is highly instinctive as a parent to want to protect them.[1] It’s our greatest responsibility.

Parenthood can be a long, lonely road sometimes, where the best parent can question their abilities. However, typically wanting to protect a child is a sign of excellent parenting instincts. How to go about doing it is another matter.

The causes of family conflicts vary but their impact is disastrous.

1. Money issues

“One of the most common root issues for intense conflict within families is a lack of money. This is not always the case, though; sometimes people are drawn together in support when there is lack. However, many couples find the strain of trying to meet material needs to be overwhelming, and this can lead to initial tension between two parents.”

Sarah Hill, Advisor, Mums That Work

2. Family dynamics, illness or death

Another root issue is simple family dynamics where personalities become highly incompatible and attempts at conflict resolution fail because parents lack the ability and lose the desire to cope with their mate’s daily problems or issues. This can be triggered by the death of a close family member or child, or the onset of an illness in a partner that overwhelms and polarizes the other partner. Love is forgotten.

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3. Substance or physical abuse

Families that suffer from alcohol and abuse issues face excruciatingly difficult situations on a daily basis, where fear, sometimes outright terror is the daily special.

Family conflicts cause long-term negative impact on children.

1. They feel frightened

Whatever the case, what follows is generally a sort of unraveling of something that is beloved and the safest thing they know, right before a child’s eyes. This can make a child feel frightened and insecure, or angry and resentful.

2. They feel guilty

They can start to blame themselves for the issues their parents are experiencing or they may start to exhibit escapist behavioral patterns such as drug or alcohol abuse.

3. They grow up in a dysfunctional family

In some cases, dysfunction can manifest in lax parenting by one or both parents, because they are preoccupied with their own issues.[2]

4. They do not know how to respect others

An inconsistency in parenting styles can lead to doubt and lack of clarity when it comes to exemplifying how to set and respect personal boundaries of other people – children have a tendency to follow a parent’s example.[3]

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5. They may suffer from mental illness

In other cases, the general dysfunction may manifest itself through the child in depression and anxiety disorders or other forms of mental health issues.[4]

In troubled times, try to keep the children strong.

Whatever the conflict and whatever issues parents may face, it is possible to keep your kids from becoming damaged by them.[5]

1. Create a safe environment

The first priority is to keep them from being physically harmed, which means putting or keeping a roof over their heads through whatever means are necessary, be it moving out with the kids, making the current situation work, or moving to a shelter if the first two options are not viable.

2. Enlist help from those you trust

This is definitely an area where a family member could offer assistance if possible either with voluntary childcare, lending money, guidance or shelter. They may also be able to aid in the initiation of outside help from sources such as shelters, medical, or legal assistance.

3. Try not to overthink

If the decision is to stay in the situation where there’s conflict, relax. It’s important to remind yourself that there is conflict everywhere, all the time. While children are vulnerable they can be remarkably resilient, as long as they know that they are loved and safe.

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4. Show your kids love

Tell your children how very much you love them and show them regularly with love and acts of kindness. You are teaching them to be loving and generous. Remind your children often that you will keep them safe from harm, and do that.

5. Lead by example

Show your kids to respect the boundaries of other people by being respectful yourself. Do your very best to lead by example emotionally because that is generally what children follow.

6. Teach your kids self-discipline

If your children behave badly, let them know you’re not happy about it and make it clear you expect better from them next time. It’s crucial to remind your child about empathy and the golden rule, to actually explain to a child why something is wrong if they don’t know why it’s wrong.

7. Share your knowledge with your kids

“Knowledge is power, and when you share your knowledge with your child and it makes sense to them, they feel empowered as well. They are empowered by the fact that you are communicating honestly, as well as choosing to bond with them in such a way. They can count on you, and you can count on them. Forever.”

Helen Anderson, Single Parent Dating Entrepreneur

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This is an example of a resolved conflict.

“We’ve had a tumultuous courtship, turbulent marriage and triumph journey. We experienced addiction, deceit, betrayal and bankruptcy during our 15 year marriage. My wife, Blair, was shocked to find out that her husband was addicted to drugs and gambling. But she pulled herself together, raised our boys and helped me on my road to recovery. During those tough times, Blair managed to take the lead and ensure that our young boys were not affected by my behavior and addiction. Fast forward to being a year sober and living the life that I imagined, I have my wife to thank for her loyalty, consistency and love. She held our family together and made sure that my conflicts and demons didn’t impact their lives. It’s a difficult task to stay faithful and married to someone with addiction. Each day I am so thankful that she stayed.”

Ryan Critch’ story on Facebook[6]

It’s important to remember, that family conflicts do crop up, and can test even the strongest of family bonds. What matters is how this conflict is dealt with. Whether you are experiencing money issues, relationship issues or a death in the family, the idea is to strike a balance between making your children feel empowered and secure, whilst raising responsible, empathic, and productive members of society who are able to form functional, happy relationships with others.

Out of all of life’s crazy lessons, the most beautiful is love.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] Family Court of Australia: Parental conflict and its effect on children
[2] Psych Central: What Causes Codependency?
[3] Institute for Family Studies: How Parental Conflict Hurts Kids
[4] Kathy Eugster: Chronic Parental Conflict: How it Can Be Harmful for Children
[5] Divorce Magazine: 9 Tips for Protecting Children from Conflict during Divorce
[6] Facebook: Ryan Critch

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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