02 November 2021

Raising Children Without Messing Them Up

Emotionally healthy families are the stable building blocks of all that is important as a good start in life.  The video of this interview of Dr. Traci Baxley by Lewis Howes is about creating and sustaining emotionally healthy families as well as we are able.  Not everyone has had the luxury of being raised in, or creating an emotionally healthy family.  That does not mean it is too late to choose a more effective direction, whether one is long past being a child, or long past raising children to adulthood.  Because how one chooses to self-parent at all stages of life, also, is always a key that can unlock all that is good about life for other people and oneself.  

Do not miss this video if it is possible to make time to start watching.  In fact instead of reading through this, it would be advisable to start watching the video, instead.  I can not recommend it highly enough - the entire one hour, 24 minutes and 16 seconds of it.  It is a gift that offers layers and layers of experience, wisdom and excellent guidance about functional loving family relationships which many will recognize as ways they have raised or are raising their children.

Dr. Traci Baxley does a lovely job of communicating her wisdom and experience to provide guidance and respectable encouragement about family relationships.  Lewis Howes is a respectful skilled interviewer.  The interview conveys wisdom many parents will appreciate for the way it is shared, especially when they too have learned similar lessons from raising children.  Note that it does not demand, expect, or define the impossibility of "perfect parenting".  It is more aligned with recognizing what can and should be done as soon as possible after recognizing what needs to be achieved in a more effective way, then communicating that to one another within the family.  Otherwise uncontrolled passive and aggressive damaging pride and ego show up to control unhealthy discussions and unhealthy outcomes. 

The interview addresses race, but is not only about race, not only about raising children.  It is about healthy approaches to family relationships within an unavoidable societal framework while working to improve the environment created by that framework.  It is about approaches that are based on respecting what is important in the lives of everyone in the family, of every age.  That is how each person in the family grows and evolves instead of derailing, obstructing, and limiting one another.  It is also about how to avoid being driven by unresolved traumas from the past, and the need to recognize problems children are struggling with which they do not yet have the skills to effectively communicate; sometimes about what parents want to resist hearing that the child does communicate clearly.

Dr. Baxley emphasizes the need to effectively communicate in ways that allow and encourage personal  autonomy for everyone in the family.  It can keep a family together instead of not recognizing the need for personal autonomy within the family, and life in general, which drives a family apart when it goes unrecognized.  She emphasizes that family issues truly are dependent on the ability of the adults to always choose love so that it is possible and mandatory for everyone in the family to listen, understand, and want to communicate in ways that are not damaging.

Adults model attitudes, and behaviors, of course, whether or not they realize it, which is a primary way children learn values and character.  But children also have a strong innate sense that leads them to avoid what is dysfunctional in the form of hypocritical double standards - when possible.  When not possible it messes them up.  As children move further away from childhood towards being adults, punishing them for wanting to get out of the line of fire when the adults in their lives are struggling with their own problems, messes them up.  Children, of any age, including adult children, can not resolve their parents struggles for them, and can not be held responsible to their own extreme detriment, for causing or resolving the struggles of their parents. 

When not raised in an overwhelming emotionally unhealthy codependent way, children are a source of strength in a family, including as adults.  That natural strength as a part of the family and extended family of which they are part, is directly proportional to the emotional health of the family in which they are raised.  The ability to survive and recognize whatever unhealthy aspects of family life messed them up is vital if they are to rise above the same struggles as adults and not pass them on to their own families.

It is  a process.  It is life.  Everyone deserves better in life than to become stuck in a morose of unhealthy emotional conflict.  It is our job to create emotionally healthy sustaining families as the key to moving beyond whatever past damage may have messed us up; whatever might create future struggles, no matter the composition and size of a family - from one, to global, to galactic. 

We are souls in human form who are connected to the universe.  Not recognizing that in one's own children or in oneself when it is at the core of the innate being of our species, messes us all up.  It is not o.k. to punish children for being autonomous and not fitting in with our plans for them.  It messes them up when we do not choose to learn who they are.  We owe children a stable emotional foundation, so they can find their ways in life without doing harm to themselves or others.  We can not do that as well as they deserve when we avoid recognizing and healing our own emotional wounds.  If we do not our children will unnecessarily suffer from the same, indirectly, which will manifest in their lives too, through no fault of their own.  

It is said that when we heal our own emotional wounds we heal those of our ancestors as well, so that what we pass on to the children are the positive values of family and culture which we actively transmit to them as tradition.  I believe that from personal observation and experience, hoping it is possible for that blessing to manifest in the lives of everyone.