Francis sat quietly in the courtroom. He listened as the charges were read. He was charged with assaulting his wife and causing her grievous bodily harm.
He and Stefanie met at a youth camp while they were both in college. They did not start dating immediately though they kept in touch. They did not even have plans of dating because both were in other relationships.
As fate would have it, he found Stefanie very supportive when his relationship hit turbulent times. He had gradually developed a kind of trust for her that he did not have for anyone else. He felt that she understood him more than anyone else did. It was therefore natural for him to draw strength from her when things were not going on very well in his life. He had never imagined becoming romantically involved with her.
It was not until two years after his relationship broke that Stefanie discovered that her long time boyfriend had impregnated another lady. She was devastated and the relationship collapsed. It was Francis’ turn to comfort his friend and a romantic relationship was born.
Courtship was a very brief affair and they legalized their marriage within a matter of months. Conflicts started very early in the marriage because of Francis’ family, and mainly his mother. She controlled him and he was powerless in the situation. She demanded so much of him from buying land for her to buying domestic animals and financing farming projects.
Francis could never say no to his family and he and Stephanie disagreed about the situation. She disagreed with the unrealistic demands being placed on her husband by his family members. His stand was the same all through; a parent is like a god in one’s life and success or failure is dependent on the parents’ blessings or curses.
Francis’ mother was widowed when he and his four siblings were in primary school. She raised them single-handedly. She sacrificed a lot to take the children through school. Now that they had grown up, none of them could question her about anything or say no to her demands. Francis being the first born had the bulk of the demands heaped on him.
He could remember clearly the incident that landed him on the wrong side of the law. His mother had visited unexpectedly. She complained to him about his delay to send money for the preparation of the land for the planting season yet the rains had already started. He withdrew cash from the joint account he and his wife operated for family projects and gave it to his mother.
Stephanie hit the roof! That cash was savings towards the school fees for their daughter who was scheduled to begin school at the beginning of the next year. They had both been contributing towards the project. They had had many quarrels about the demands from his side of the family but this time the quarrel went out of hand and he ended up beating up his wife.
Stephanie reported to the police and he was arrested. He was sitting in the court facing long court process and probably a prison term if he was convicted.
He had already been suspended from his place of work and his life seemed to be headed for a very rocky phase.
The Role Parents Play in the Success of Their Children
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. – Colossians 3:21
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4
Parents are the most important people to a child. They receive the child when he is a blank slate and ready to be programmed through experiences. The way the child interprets the world and relates to the environment is largely dependent on the programming. He learns to trust or to mistrust. He learns to love or to hate. He learns to believe in his self-worth or to believe that he is no good. All this is programmed from a young age.
A child is a miniature human being. He has feelings, desires, tastes, preferences and everything else just like an adult does. A parent does much harm to the child by trivializing the child’s choices and imposing his own.
There is a lot I learned through support groups working with people with depression and other mental disorders. A lot of these people have anger that has been turned inwards because they were trained that expressing anger is wrong. They were taught to accept to be abused and belittled, that being that way is a virtue. Their spirits were wounded and they were not supposed to portray any reaction.
The Bible is taught in a one-sided way and it is destroying far too many lives. The only thing that is taught is that children should obey their parents in the Lord that it may be well with them. The part of parents not provoking their children is not taught and the imbalanced teachings are leaving a trail of destruction.
Children are taught that they should accept to be abused, mistreated, belittled, unfairly compared with someone else who is considered to be better than them and all manner of mistreatment and that a parent can never be wrong and can never be questioned.
These children do not remain little forever; they grow up and come to learn that those things were wrong. They grow up and discover that things that were done to them and spoken to them were wrong.
Many adults find themselves overwhelmed with anger, which in most cases they direct at innocent third parties who could be their spouses, their own children or other people that they interact with. They are angry at the way they were handled from a young age but issues with parents are hardly ever resolved because it is fearful to confront a parent for being wrong.
I was watching an episode of Dr. Phil show where two sisters confronted their mother because one of them was repeatedly abused sexually right in the home while she was around 14 years of age but the mother would not allow the matter to be reported to the police yet she knew about it.
The two sisters confronted the mother when they were already adults and expressed their anger and disappointment that she could not protect her own daughter from sexual abuse. The confrontation was emotive. That is an important step in recovery from childhood abuse and neglect.
Set yourself free from pent-up anger by grieving over the pain from the past.
When children are taught that parents wield total power and they cannot be questioned or told ‘no’, those children grow up with a distorted view of the world and human relationships. They grow up to be people with boundary problems.
Getting married to a partner who does not enjoy a healthy relationship with the parents is difficult. Such marriages are rarely harmonious. Sometimes those people have strings of broken relationships.
The person is likely to have anger issues and that anger is most likely directed at the immediate family members. They feel frustrated and overwhelmed like they are expected to handle more than they can bear and they are helpless. They feel obligated to do whatever the parent demands even when it destroys them and their families. These people are also not independent but are still controlled by the parents. They feel like victims.
The parents make demands on the person and in most cases that person will not discuss with the spouse before meeting the demands of the parent. Many times the parents’ demands are met behind the spouse’s back and without planning and budgeting to find out how much can be afforded. The anger issues are transferred to the younger generations.
I have interacted with many dysfunctional people who have been damaged by parents. Some turned the anger and frustrations inwards leading to depression, self-harm, addiction problems and suicidal behavior. Others project the anger on innocent third parties who end up paying for wrongs they know nothing about.
I have come across some very unfortunate incidents where children were hurt too much by parents and taught to keep it all in the pressure built up till it exploded one day, with disastrous results. They exploded in torrents of verbal abuse to their parents, maimed or killed the parent or someone else, or they killed themselves. No one would want such a thing to happen in his family.
What can Parents Do To Raise Strong, Well Adjusted Children?
1. Your children are loaned to you; you do not own them. Nurture them to maturity. What does nurturing mean?
A child is like a young, delicate seedling. Your work is not to try and change the seed from what it is to something else that you feel would be a more valuable crop. No. Your work is to water the seedling and protect it from the harsh elements so that it grows to its full potential.
Parents should not harass children in an effort to change them from who they are at the core of their being. A parent creates the right environment for that child to realize his full potential. Is the child talented in art and also passionate about it? It is not the work of the parent to endeavor to kill that talent and to plant something else in its place because the parent is trying to live his own unfulfilled dreams through the child.
Parents should not give their children the impression that they are some sort of ruthless dictators who are all knowing and cannot be questioned. That is the way to block their children from achieving maturity and to make them grow up into maladjusted individuals.
2. Child Abuse is a no-no. Anything that wounds a child’s spirit should be avoided. Belittling or making fun of what is important to a child, unfairly comparing one child with another, calling a child names and telling him that he is useless and will never amount to anything or any form of verbal abuse should never happen.
3. Do not make your children feel guilty for experiencing negative emotions; pain, anger, fear, sorrow, regret, etc. Let them learn to be real and authentic from a young age. If they feel pain and want to cry; let them.
They get to learn that no one is perfect, not even parents. They will grow up to interact with their own children knowing that they are not perfect and when they wrong their children, it will be natural for them to acknowledge their mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
Many times when parents and children disagree, only children are commanded to ask for forgiveness even when the parent is wrong. That wounds those children and trains them to believe that it is ok to do wrong to other people and to get away with it.
Children are human and they experience all human emotions. They should be given permission to feel joy, sadness, anger, pain and all other emotions. Feeling negative emotions should not be criminalized otherwise they will grow up with a distorted view of life.
If a child is wronged or hurt, he needs to be assured that it is ok to feel hurt or angry but to learn how to handle such emotions in a way that is not destructive.
5. Parents should endeavor to build healthy relationships with their children. They are neither bosses nor dictators but nurturers, mentors, and coaches.
A coach does not criticize, belittle and wound the spirit of the person who is looking up to him.
Parenting plays a very important role in producing well-adjusted members of society. It even plays a major role in determining whether marriages succeed or fail. Parenting forms the foundation of societies. It should not be taken lightly.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter, network marketing professional, life coach, personal development mentor, freelancer and blogger.