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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 September 11, 2020

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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