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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 May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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