The Vital Significance Of Family

“There is an ongoing battle between conscience and self-interest in which, at some point we have to take sides.” Robert Brault

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to
hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell
apart, that’s true strength.” Unknown

“During the first 10 years of my life, while my parents were married, I enjoyed a privileged upbringing. After their divorce, my life was
difficult.” Bianca Jagger

Have we lost the idea of family? It is time to recapture the meaning of the supportive family. The quick reply of not my family won’t work anymore. At times we put words in other people’s mouths, that might never be said in reality. In this way we can confront our own demons, as to why we ostracize ourselves but blame the family.

Of course we all have family flaws, and stories we can relate to. It isn’t about who suffered more or less, or which situations were more outrageous. Life in general is tough, and we can all use support of one kind or another. We can’t fear our own insecurity. Nobody is giving out awards for martyrdom. If we can just get over ourselves we can accept help. I even find that helping others gives one a good feeling. We in a way, are making others feel good by allowing them to do something worthwhile.  This includes our families.By refusing aid when we need it, we spite ourselves. Letting pride stand in the way, in my opinion, is close to foolishness, and maybe even stupidity. If we can’t give in for ourselves, we should for our kids and spouses. Hanging on to false beliefs will not help us move forward, nor will it bring comfort and relief. Place negative feelings of anger and revenge, far from your thoughts, and concentrate on your needs in the present. If another can fulfill your wants, accept help.

Insecurity breeds pride, lack of confidence promotes anger and defensiveness, and anxiety renders us unable to admit it when we need help. None of us are self-contained. Human beings require others in their lives . We are a social animal. We learn from each other. We comfort and aid each other. The best place to learn the norms of a society,  is within a family structure.

With so many families splitting up, we have turmoil all around us, which is doubled for kids. They might begin with two parents, and end up with four. Now they contend with brothers sisters, step-brothers and step-sisters, and half  brothers and half sisters. They gain so many more people but lose others.

The gain is not always helpful, and can be detrimental. There is more competition. There are more discipline problems due to the various parenting styles. Encountering unfairness is likely to manifest, because a step child versus biological child is unbalanced. Jealousy is a give. As a teacher, I observed numerous kids mention, how their half-brother or half-sister got to see mom or dad full time yet they did not. It left them with an angry bitter feeling.

Jealousy is a common thread, as is fighting about discipline. If we think about it, the child now deals with two households with different rules. The saddest piece is the loss of extended family, which basically gets left by the curb. We don’t plan all of this obviously, but we sometimes don’t think about it either, before we make so many of our own plans. Kids lose family members, whenever there is a divorce in the family.

The intact families may also lose connections to extended families, through fights,  disagreements or the general wish to be self-sufficient. It may work for the adults, but I venture to say the kids are the losers. Any time we subtract love from the equation, there is loss. I don’t  suggest moving in with parents, but the need for other caring adults in the life of a child is vital.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles, as well as cousins, add to the repertoire of support for the child. Sometimes parents forget, how much of a source of help, these people can be when one needs a break. Calling out for help is more than acceptable, and anything but demeaning. Everyone needs a break and kids can be difficult. Some are more challenging, so an extra pair of hands releases the burden.

Can you imagine what it feels like to have extended family, available to call on and to trust they will come to your aid? For a child this is probably the most empowering thing in their corner. They know this, and sense this, because when it is gone, they are reticent, nervous and less secure. Uncertainty and self-doubt may emerge.

Problems happen to all of us, and marriages do fail. Sometimes we can’t control the reality of the situation. We can control how we choose to interact with the outside family, when there is a divorce. Don’t put them in the middle, and make them choose sides. Ask them to remain neutral for the sake of the kids. Allow the kids to get to the family times, that now do not include you.

Hearing and knowing what is best for the kids is not always what we had in mind. Using kids as pawns to hurt each other, will never work, and will perhaps make the situation worse. If we place the needs of the child first, we’ll remember to cut as little as possible out of their lives. In the end, all of us benefit from observing the beautiful child that emerges.

“The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”     Albert Schweitzer

“A man does not have to be an angel in order to be a saint.”    Albert Schweitzer

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