Am I wrong in thinking that children are often outraged by what parents and grown-ups do? Am I wrong in thinking that adults put themselves as number ones and children as number twos? Am I wrong in thinking that parents and families lie to children on a regular basis? Am I wrong in thinking that children are little and easily knocked over while adults are bigger and not so easily base-over-apex floored? And last but not least, am I wrong in thinking this scenario invites paranoia?
What is paranoia? Many things. It’s anxiety orientated, lacks belief in self, lacks belief in people, sees threats everywhere, and makes the sufferer over-sensitive. Do you already hear them whispering about you? Well, if you don’t – good for you, but I assure you that you have not escaped the sensation that people are talking about you and are hostile to you. If you get on with life, you’re OK about the whisperers, but if you don’t get on with life, then, take heed.
A child is talked about a lot and manipulated. Many aspects of a child’s life are incomprehensible to the child. One person will say, “Use this pen to draw.” Another will take the pen away, saying, “You’ll make a mess.” One person will say, “You need a bath.” Another will say, “No, you need a shower.”
In our house we suddenly disappear without telling baby anything. This is not sensible because baby feels sad or discredited or put-upon. How to explain the disappearance of a loved one who goes without a word, giving no explanation? Can baby maintain faith in role-models who disappear at the drop of a hat?
All told, babyhood and childhood can be survived but if you’re paranoid, I’m not surprised.
Now, I want you to stop being paranoid.
Take control of your thoughts.
Stop obsessing over every little thing.
Confide in a close friend.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
See if your paranoia is rooted in anxiety.
Seek professional help if it’s necessary.
I now want you to stop making that child paranoid. Don’t isolate the child. Make the child feel important. Don’t lie to the child. Stop creating fear and anxiety. Don’t stimulate distrust. Don’t outrage the child by extreme behaviour (which includes always putting yourself first). If your child is hurt physically, mentally, emotionally, attend to the hurt. Stop your facebooking, or writing your ultra-important email, or your business-conference notes, or your nice, cozy chat with friendy, and spend time attending and caring.
While I have been writing, thousands of children will have been lied to, put aside, put upon, mistreated, made to feel unwanted, fearful, anxiety-ridden, and manipulated. While feeling depressed and a bit hysterical, they are not yet stark-raving bonkers.
Let’s try to keep it that way.