Focal Point (for publishing—01/12/09)
What Messages Are We Sending To Our Kids
Was the power struggle last week in the Liberal Party Cabinet Room seen by our kids as a good democratic process or a struggle where the strong, powerful and most popular person or group of persons wins. Is this not adversarial as well as democratic? Does there always have to be a winner and a loser? Maybe our kids are not asking these questions because they don’t care, or they already know the answers. Isn’t it the same in sport? In younger grades we talk less about winning and losing and more about the good deed of participating. When do they wake up to the truth? Probably around 2 years old when another kid gets something and the other does not. The one, who does not ‘get’, quickly acts like the loser. What about our local footy clubs? Don’t we think our kids see the double standards about drinking when they are not allowed to drink at the club for reasons not too obvious, apart from their age, when they watch on as the firsts and seconds, parents and coach stand around drinking? Do we think our kids wonder why we wonder why so many young girls are getting abortions these days and get pregnant in the first place because they don’t seem to be empowered to say no to sex? Let alone protected sex? No they don’t, they take as norm that on the front page of the Sun last week the two headline stories screamed against each other. One, Miranda Kerr in scrimpy Victoria's Secret undies, obviously a tool in the sex sells business, and below it the story about the abortions. The trouble many of these girls get into on the one hand is a result of the mixed messages of, say no, guard yourself, stand away from unhelpful promiscuous practices and the other hand of the big demands made on them by their peers, boys and girls, and the massive rejection they feel if the group or an individual rejects them because they don’t conform. Berne, the psychologist is just one of many who believes that children as young as four have picked up enough of what they believe to be the way life works to run with it for years. I work with many of these former children who are running on their 4 yr old ‘script’ at 30, 40, 50 & 60 years of age even though most of the time it doesn’t work for them. Questions, questions, questions. Maybe as an adult we are not asking these questions either. For those of us who are asking, we might well wonder where the answers will come from. It’s not easy as the answer lies in a multi-faceted approach. Firstly, my belief is that we need to be good role models, which means to be modeling manhood and womanhood well. We need strong principled parenting that has the ability to command respect and insist on workable and appropriate boundaries and real expectations with real consequences for disobedience, non-compliance and deception. We need to vote in morally sound politicians who really have the community good at heart. We need to clean up the inconsistencies in the messages we send to young sports people, and in the main, have some sort of moral or value compass. Without this we are lost. Without this our kids and even some adults I work with allow affairs, continue to accept domestic violence and allow themselves to be violated emotionally, sexually and verbally even within a relationship. Without the built in moral compass they/we can become the perpetrators as well. For me, I am working on the moral compass found in the Bible's pages. Now just before you turn the page with a cuss, tell me what better way you might approach a basis for solid ground. Our legal and court systems are based on it. These moral guides under gird our system of government as well. We may find other voices to guide us and there are some good ones, so if that works for you, go for it. Wherever we draw our moral base from, we need to get serious about what messages we are sending to our kids and stop throwing our hands in the air when they push our boundaries over. We are the ones who lost the compass first, not our kids.
Graeme Dawson B.Min. Grad.Dip.CC.
Co-ordinator Focal Point & Valley Care Counsellor
Valley Care Counselling Service 0409 517273.