Created for the XLIX Super Bowl, Toyota has tapped the touchy-feely market by pairing pro football players with their children in a series of commercials about being a father.
There’s no question that how a child is parented makes an enormous difference in how a child develops.
Numerous studies have shown the relationship between early childhood trauma, abuse, and in utero treatment of the unborn fetus and the mental and physical health of adults.
Debated still are the effects of divorce on children or being raised by a single parent. In my view, the emotional health of the parent(s) casts more influence on the growing child than the constitution of the family.
Without doubt, the wider community and culture — religion, education, support network, social environment, access to goods and services, the techno environment, and the omnipresence of media — along with the hard wiring each child brings to life and how the developing fetus is treated in utero are all crucial. No argument is being made that all children can turn out wonderfully; there is too little control over the multitude and combination of factors that incite dysfunction.
But more children can turn out well-adjusted and happy when dads (and moms) provide positive parenting.
It’s not foregone that those of us who experienced a less-than-healthy family environment will be less-than-healthy ourselves; look at the truth to the saying, “I am like this because my parents stayed together, so you just never know.” Worrisome, though, is the unawareness or reluctance many people bring to recognizing and creating a family environment they themselves didn’t have. Parents don’t have to be robotic models of their own parents, though too many are. And there’s no proof that socioeconomic status predicts a positive parenting or family outcome. Nasty custody battles seem to follow the money.
Summarized by a client who honestly and angrily believed that marriage meant there weren’t supposed to be any problems, parenting is much the same. Love does mean having to say you’ve sorry; a recognition you’ve erred, determination to do better, and changed behavior equivalent to proving “sorry”.
Despite all the self-help books, hugs, and positive modeling, parenting will never be a walk in the park. But hugs, encouragement, and consistent positive attention can ensure that moms and dads don’t have to walk in the dark.
Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice where she specializes in couples work, especially with relationships affected by disability. She and husband David attempt to parent their two children, hooligan kitties Petey and Lucy. Kathe and David present Couples Communication Workshops in Colorado Springs. Read about it and register at www.BeingHeardNow.com.
copyright, 2015 Being Heard, LLC