Pluto In Capricorn: Shadow Side Of Parenting Redux

When I asked for people to weigh in on the path of least resistance, it was because I was thinking about children of divorced parents or perhaps parents who were never married. I think it’s a majority of children who grow up with their parents divided at this point the results or effects of this are  pervasive and beginning to show themselves.

I’ve been dancing around this topic for a year now – the shadow side of parenting – making the claim that parenting is “broken”.  I have feel this is the case and have strong opinions about it but it’s difficult to write about because it’s so easy to trigger someone(s) defenses as people are so heavily invested in this one way or the other.

I talk to a lot of people and pay close attention to all of them. Consequently I am able to pick up themes or things I see over and over and it comes to a point where certain things can no longer be denied and one of the things that can no longer be denied is this: what we are doing as parents isn’t working.

This is vast topic so I won’t hope to summarize all the problems in a short post but I would like to present one phenomena I’ve observed to introduce this topic which we are eventually going to have to face and it involves, “the path of least resistance”.

When parents are split up, invariably they perform and compete for the child’s love and affection. This means they extend themselves… the be the “best parent they can be” which usually means indulging the child. Now I don’t mean this to criticize.  I think this is almost guaranteed to occur because in order to discipline a child or force them into learning hard lessons, you almost NEED someone to have your back. “Do what your mother says.”  That is what it sounds like but this does not exist. The message is, “Never mind your mother, come over here, to Disneyland.”

Now this is not man-bashing. Women are easily equally at fault as they do the same thing. “Never mind your father. Here, suck on this…”

The point here is the kid has nothing but the path of no resistance. He or she meets little hardship as both parents roll out the red carpet. There is no slap down. There is no respect for parents or other elders as of course both doting (competing) parents rush to defend “junior” when he runs into a problem at school up to and including lawsuits and other adult means of solving the problems of children so what do you think the kid learns?

I think the kid learns to manipulate people. This is the PRIMARY skill they come away with. They have no idea how to be cohesive. Loyalty is a foreign concept. You work one parent against the other, dummy!  You work the system against the parent and the parent against the system and it works like a hot knife through butter, I’ll tell ya!

satori pointed out during a conversation on this topic that the kids learn to triangulate in their relationships due this situation.  “How can I find a couple and get between them?”  She is right.

So now we have a generation (or two) with no idea how be cohesive and loyal to others be it in terms of a family or a country any other thing and this is one of the many dozens of reasons I think parenting is broken.

I want to point out, this need for support can be traced back to when the child is an infant.  As an example, my friend, HQ has a new baby and like all new mothers, his wife did not want to let her baby cry himself to sleep. Every mother reading this remembers that agony so how does this necessary thing get done, hmm?  Well the father backs the mother, yes?  HQ support his wife through the process and because of this, the kid stays on track.

As a disclaimer, I am not talking about every young person on the planet. What I am saying is if you’ve got yourself a selfish, self centered 10 or 14 or 19 or 24 year old child on your hands, you are by no means alone so what are we going to do about this?

Anyone?

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Pluto In Capricorn: Shadow Side Of Parenting Redux — 8 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, these kids are going to meet the parent they never had at some point (the court!) if they don’t behave. Exhibit A: Lindsey Lohan.

  2. Well put Elsa. I worry about the the resilience of these children, and of the adults they will become. As painful as it is, isn’t it necessary to experience—as a child—things like loss, failure, denial, competition, etc. … ? I have two sisters—one had boys, the other girls. The girls did it tough. Their mum seldom put them first, and those girls had a rough time of it. The boys, on the other hand, had a mum who, even to this day, did almost everything for them. Today? Those girls are now young women who have seized every opportunity that came their way; grabbed it with both hands and ran with it! They are doing amazing things with their life. The boys meanwhile, have never pushed their own boundaries, and mostly wait for life to happen to them. They are all wonderful; but it is interesting to see the different approaches to life. What I see are resilient girls. The boys I worry about. When life knocks them for a six (and it has) they fall back on to their mum to fix it. But hey, maybe they will rise to the challenge when they have to—when their mum can finally accept redundancy! (That’s your job as parents, isn’t it? To make yourself redundant?)

  3. parents build more lies to deceive
    children.
    In these times, children are a business and merchandise.
    Nobody is concerned about the soul and
    happiness of children. The first thing they tell you is that you must be:
    clean, disciplined, and have money.
    By the time they realize what the problem is, everyone will be so bitter that reaches up to the grandchildren.

  4. another capricorn trait is rejection.

    I had my father tell me that he doesn’t care about my personal preferences, my likes/dislikes, my daily life as long as I uphold a good status (capricorn) by going to school and making money. It sounded grounded except my type of education was not what he had in mind: I was born with a brain of an artist, not a business woman. I had to live with rejection until I moved out of the house. I spent my childhood growing up in isolation – no one to talk to about love, sex, money, emotions, anything. He condemns me for doing art, saying it will not make money. I won a full scholarship for art school and he never congratulated me or show any enthusiasm.

    3 years past, and I cut all ties with my parents. My dad now wanted me to wipe the slate clean and claims he isn’t that “type of father anymore.” How about taking some responsibility?

  5. Disclaimer: I’m not a parent but I play one on tv. 😉

    But I am a therapist trained to train parents in parenting. Isn’t that crazy? But, I’m finding, very very necessary. I work with parents of young children, ages 2-7. The idea behind this is that these ages are old enough for the children to understand and respond, but young enough that peers haven’t become a large influence. In a (large) nutshell, I teach parents:

    1. The necessity of consistency in parenting. That means no threats. If you say you’re going to ground the child, ground the child. Otherwise the child learns that s/he can’t take you seriously. But also following through with promises of positive things.

    2. All of the child’s actions must have consequences. If the child misbehaves, they receive punishment. If a child does something well, they receive a reward. There is no greater reward than a parent’s attention and warm regard. Children are hardwired from birth to seek a parent’s attention. A child’s most basic instinct says no attention = death. Most of the children I see act out in horrible ways for no other reason than it’s the only way to get the parent to notice them.

    3. Don’t discipline from your emotions. Discipline is strictly business. This makes it easier for the child to connect the consequences to their own actions rather than the whims of the parents. It also helps the parent maintain consistency. When you’re coming out of your emotions, you’re more likely to either be too lenient or too strict.

    So those are the core ideas. I neglected to say that the children I work with have extreme behavioral problems. Kindergarteners that hit their parents and say things like “I’ll kill you!” or have tantrums for up to an hour. Things that I think most of us would agree were absolutely unheard of when we were kids, and would’ve gotten us a good, hard spanking right quick. But there’s no shortage of these kids, and I have my workday full of helping these parents get them under control. And without spanking! 😉

    They should teach what I do to high schoolers.

  6. kids learn to work it very fast. my husband and i tried very hard to avoid this with our kids. it cost us custody, though, ’cause we expected respect, responsibility and contribution from all members of the family. birth mom promised no chores and a trip to disneyland for telling some lies about how they were treated at home.

  7. People who are parents now had parents with Pluto in Leo. They don’t want their kids to be afterthoughts like so many of them personally experienced. Each generation seems to overcompensate the other way. And nurture isn’t everything — you can’t teach a child who does not have some nobility of spirit somewhere to be a decent person. If nothing else, sooner or later the real world will smack them between the eyes.

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