Perfect Childhoods Are Unreasonable

What are your memories as a child? Do you get warm and nostalgic over holidays past or are you filled with anger or even deep seeded resentment?

There isn’t a book around that can completely prepare you for parenting. Babies are ushered into the world under the guise of protection and unconditional love. Completely at the mercy of the caregiver for their every need and the vulnerability of this time is unprecedented.

Children are the ultimate wonder of the life. They are beautiful creatures of creation. Naturally luminous in love: growing, learning and pushing the limits to their next step. When getting ready to create worlds for our children, we often project idyllic views on how their childhoods should be. Hopefully they are better than our own. Maintaining this utopia means that we have mastered the stressors of work, relationships, finances and occasional dodge balls that life throws at our feet. Sigh

Eighteen years is a ridiculously short time to raise a person. For all intensive purposes, it’s unrealistic. Everyone who has surpassed early adulthood can say with authority that an eighteen year-old is probably the most clueless person on the planet. We were hormonal, generally arrogant, and ready to run out into the world with our pants metaphorically down.

By the time we get to our first therapy session fifteen (or less) years later, we are desperately trying to unpack why we are who we are. Looking for answers for our failures, miscommunications and emotions. As we have all seen on TV with highly experienced psychotherapists; he or she will slide back into their chair and find a soothing voice to ask the dreaded, ‘tell me about your childhood’, question.

We will spend time combing over every desire, promise or incident to find the answers and surely they will be there. Fault will most likely be assigned to that of a mom, dad, or relative because someone needs to be found responsible. As children we always see adults as beaming with superpowers and holding keys to a world we can’t yet understand. But a parent is just a person; a human experiencing life as it is thrown at them.

Most are trying hard to be the best they can be everyday. Being a parent is the hardest job that anyone will have. Nothing highlights your capabilities faster than mitigating the irrational cries of an angry two year old who can no longer draw all over the walls in sky blue crayon.

Suffice it to say that if you had clothes on your back, a roof to sleep under and a semblance of love in your house, you were ahead of the curve. That doesn’t take away from those who experienced undo cruelty or hardship as a direct result of a parents actions. Incidents out of the control of the caregiver can completely change the landscape of the child’s life have and have an equal effect on everyone.

Families have their issues because they are impossible to avoid. There are a host of variables present in every situation that drive the actions and emotions behind them. Parenting requires ridiculous amounts of compartmentalization to not transfer the weight of your world on your children. Parents doing well at this aspect deserve more credit. Those who don’t cope well just need more help. More often than not, we are our parents. Children are raised based on the childhood of the person who is raising them. It’s a cycle that continues for better or for worse. There isn’t a family in America that acts like they are on the set of Full House, because reality exists.

When exploring the depths of the past it is important to remember that people are just that — people. We can either learn and grow or stay stubborn and stagnant. Childhoods contain the blueprint of our futures, but we hold the keys to our endings as adults.

Continue reading “Perfect Childhoods Are Unreasonable”

Daily Inspiration: Speak Up

Terry Crews is an actor who has made us laugh in many movies and tv shows. He was recently in the news after coming out against a sexual assault that he experienced. He uses his platform to talk about very important issues.

In today’s video, he discusses the earliest memories he has of the trauma he endured throughout his life. As a domestic violence survivor, he talks about the importance of speaking up and not looking the other way. The quality of your life and the lives of the people around you, depend on it.

Daily Inspiration: Practice Makes Perfect

Watching a child develop athletic abilities is truly an amazing process. This dad was inspired by his daughter to learn the moves she does in gymnastics.

In today’s video, the father eventually gets some of the moves down after much practice. It’s a great reminder that the body can always do great things.

Daily Inspiration: There is Always More Than Meets the Eye

Donatello Versace is a famed fashion designer for the well known luxury brand, Versace. In a recent interview with Vogue, she was asked 73 questions that shed light on her personality rather than her perceived persona.

In the interview, she says the biggest misconception about her is that people think she is unfriendly. That perception was echoed in the Facebook comments on the video, where people exclaim how surprised they are by how down to earth she is.

This is a great example of how judging before knowing is a societal downfall. Be more open to others around you; there is always more than meets the eye.

Daily Inspiration: Learn Beyond Your Prejudice

Nas Daily is a world traveler that posts videos on Facebook about the people he meets and interesting concepts about those places. His videos are informative and can be fairly moving.

In today’s video he had an interaction with someone who holds a prejudice against people from his home country. He tried to change the view of the people that he is conversing with.

Nas reminds us that no matter what we see, are taught, or experience it is unwise to generalize entire groups of people. You exclude yourself from amazing interactions and relationships when you don’t learn beyond your prejudice.

Daily Inspiration: Forgive to Set Yourself Free

Tami Roman is a reality show personality that is determined to speak her truth. Official Bonnet Chronicles is her platform to share her comedy and advice.  In this video she explains how forgiveness is about the liberation of self.

Regret In Everyday Life

Life is all about experience. Each day brings new situations, where we must make choices. In these decisions- we are eventually bound to fall short.

Mistakes will be made– tests can be failed or we have lapses in judgement. It is inevitable that regrets will exist.

The emotion of regret is explored in the podcast, “Regrets, I Have A Few“, by Hidden Brain. Regret can be defined as a ruminative thought, an obsession about an event in the past. Some events can be so intrusive that it leads to anxiety and depression.

The most important part of a regret, is understanding how and why it affects you. Analyzing the context surrounding these experiences can prove to be hopeful. Learning about the different types of regret is among the valuable information found in this episode.

Even though regret is the second most common emotion experienced, it doesn’t have to serve only as a negative pillar in the mind.

Intimate Partner Violence

Doing something about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has come a long way in just 40 years. The days of a husband getting rough with his wife and just being asked to leave the house for a while, are over. Men are definitely no longer laughed out of precincts when they are assaulted by women.

According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline , 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their life time.  In addition, it has been reported that nearly 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner and report it having an impact on their ability to function. These statistics aren’t just reflective of the horror stories seen on the ID channel.

If these numbers seem harrowing on paper, imagine what they look like in real life. The factors surrounding victims of IPV are mostly complex yet understandable. However, when a victim is either brutalized to the point of death or narrowly escapes with their lives, they are often met with criticism. Telling another what they should’ve done in an unimaginable situation is always easy from the outside.

This Ted Talk given by Leslie Morgan Steiner paints a rather detailed picture of the life of an IPV victim. Her story is a great example of how this type of violence can happen to anyone at anytime. Domestic violence doesn’t have a specific face. It embodies all races, genders, sexual orientations and tax brackets. These victims have the faces of our sisters, best friends, teachers, and mailmen.

While laws have changed to protect victims of IPV, many people do not know where to go, who to turn to or what is realistic for their situation. Empathizing with a person in need, may be the first step to change. Instead of waiting for the day to receive a dreaded phone call, be in the know. Learn about what you can do to help your loved ones. If you know someone who is suffering, please do not turn a blind eye. If you are are suffering, get help today. Resources are available now.

Please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE or visit their website.


For the Unheard Voices in Blended Families

Blended families are somewhat of a new wave in society. It is said that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce and in today’s society it has become more of a tradition to have a divorce party than to mourn the actual divorce. The days of divorce being extremely frowned upon are long gone. Get ready to usher in a new wave of families, the ever-changing blended family.

For members of these blended families finding new comfortable places for everyone can be unnerving and even repulsive depending on who you are asking. If you surf the internet you can find websites filled with advice on parenting, co-parenting, and semi-parenting alike. The long running joke about stepmonsters and monster-in-laws gradually gets nods of approval from all of those who have been in those types of situations. Usually sites will try to offer the “new” parent some suggestions on how to handle the unruly stepchild/ren that are seemingly hell-bent on making this union no more. It is seldom that sites address what a stepchild is to do when on the receiving end of a not so welcoming step parent.

WebMD has put together a one size fits all list of what to expect when parenting stepchildren that pertains specifically to younger children. This list includes: coming up with a parenting plan between spouses, not coming on too strong, not overstepping your boundaries-basic cookie cutter tips. They’re plenty of cliché tips on how to smooth over the beginner years where ignorance is most likely bliss. After settling in to a secure position, this family dynamic is sure to morph to make room for jealously, silent grudges, and years of repressed feelings that have finally been cleared for take off.

In theses instances where a stepchild has wandered into undisclosed territory- what happens next determines where the battle lines are drawn. The complications between a freshly married parent and dealing with an unruly spouse can be confusing. What is most interesting is their are very limited tips available on how to handle a spouse that has less than savory views of your children and treats them as such. It is an aspect of blended families that researchers and psychologists have yet to really divulge any relevant information.

The initial reaction would be to separate the parties, making sure no further contact is had. But that doesn’t necessarily yield a long-term solution. Short term solutions such as separation can lead to resentment and either the child or spouse feeling neglected. The common denominator between both parties would have to set boundaries. Choosing sides is never a realistic option and to combat that, a side may not be chosen. The expectation in this tactic is hoping that time will smooth things over. However, human nature tells us that all the time in the world does not heal all wounds. Ideally, one side will cave or the combating parties reach a solution.

There is no website that has specific advice that will cover all of  your  bases. For adult step-children (which is the only time you are likely to address the dilemma head on) the rules are a little different from when you were still a minor. Although you are bound by the nature of the relationship of your parent it doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence.

Considering these tactics on all sides can make a better conversation:

  1. Make sure your problem is rational. In these types of situations, it is easy to create a situation that doesn’t necessarily exist. Tensions run high among family and step-family members that doesn’t always come from a forward thinking place.
  2. Speak directly and honestly. When addressing an issue, the truth really does set you free.
  3. Address all members involved. The best way to express your feelings is to make sure everyone knows. If people are still in the dark about how you feel, no one will know how to handle it.
  4. Come to terms with the situation. Analyze whether or not the you have reached a place of no return (this may require pride swallowing).
  5. Move on. Know when to let it go. Reconcile or walk away.

Needless to say, at the end of the day nothing is cut and dry. Weighing your options is probably the best thing to do. A light bulb is going to go off one way or another. The major lesson to learn in the new mix of blended families is that life is too short, things don’t last, and fulfillment is something that everyone seeks. Finding where you fit into this lesson determines how successful or unsuccessful your relationships with those around you will be.