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Can Unhappy Parents Raise Happy Children?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous in Parenting' started by diana, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. diana

    diana Bronze IL'ite

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    Happiness is a habit that should be cultivated. But if you are a deeply unhappy parent can you cultivate this habit in your child?

    A while ago the Mumbai police rescued a twelve-year boy who had run away from his home in Gujarat and was wandering on the Dadar railway station. In most runaway cases poverty, abusive parents and dreams of stardom play a role.

    But this was a boy from an educated, upper middle class family. Being the only child of his parents, he was given more than any average child. A good school, swimming lessons, a room with a computer, lots of clothes and shoes. And apparently he was not star struck.

    So why did he run away from home?
    What the boy told the police was not something they were used to hearing - but perhaps something that we are all familiar with in some little way or the other.

    According to the boy, his parents fought all the time. The common strain that ran through the fighting was that the father was in the marriage only for his son. The mother too frequently wished he had never been born so she could be free.

    Fed up of hearing this, the boy one day decided to run away from the house and set his parents free. But he was an innocent child from a sheltered home life who didn't know what to do after getting down at a railway station in Mumbai. Fortunately the police caught hold of him, before some unsavoury elements did.

    We don't know how the boy told his story but this is the gist let out by the cops. They called the parents, gave them the usual tongue thrashing and sent the child back home.

    We are also unaware about what happened later in that family. Did they live happily ever after - together or separate?

    Opinion on hearing this story was divided.
    • Some people said that parents even if they are not happy with each other should not expose the child to unpleasant scenes.
    • Others said that a child would be better off if his continuously warring parents separate and then stay single or remarry.
    • And then there are some grown up children who say that they should not be used as an excuse for their parent's decisions.
    What do the children say?

    Innumerable surveys and studies are conducted amongst the children of broken homes. Most people believe that innocent children are the victims in divorce cases. Parental separation leaves lifelong scars on the child's psyche. Moral of these studies is: Stay together for the children's sake.

    But what about the family where the couple stays married but leads separate, mutually unsatisfactory lives? Is there any study showing the effect of such surroundings on the child's mind? Can unhappy parents give a normal, happy life to their children? Some people claim that they don't fight in front of their children, but in such cases, do they really believe that the children are unaware of the truth?

    And in case the parents think that they are doing the right, rather noble thing by sacrificing their own happiness for the sake of their children. Hear these words from a middle-aged woman of two grown up children, "when I tell my children how many sacrifices I made for them including putting up with their father's infidelity, they call me a fool. My son has already left the house to work abroad and my daughter will be joining him soon. My husband's behaviour is going from bad to worse. I don't know what I will do after my daughter leaves the house.

    Sometimes I wonder whether life would have been better if we had separated. My children openly say that I should have left my philandering husband long back, and can still do it. I feel worse when my daughter says that after seeing my life, she would think twice before entering into matrimony..."

    There is another man echoing almost the same sentiments. "We pull on with bad marriages thinking that the children shouldn't suffer. But then one day they go away and we are left wondering why we did, what we did. By leading a sad life ourselves, did we really give a good life to the child? And at what cost?"

    Children are expected to appreciate such parental efforts. Fine. Any child would like to see his/her parents together. But when they grow up a little and start understanding the situation, don't they feel guilty hearing that they were the sole reason for their parent's unhappy but long lasting partnership? After all they didn't force them together, in the same way they didn't ask to be born either.

    It is also widely believed, truly or falsely that children of divorced parents are more likely to divorce their own spouses. If this is true, then we should also believe that children of silently suffering parents too would have the same fate. They too would compromise and accept unhappy marriages and blame their children and so on. How do you like this scenario?

    And then there are children whose parents divorced and remarried. Are they all unhappy?

    What is your opinion?
    • Should parents stay together only for their children's sake?
    • Are all children coming from divorced home doomed to have unhappy lives?
    • Is it better to give your child two divorced but happy parents or a set of married, unhappy parents?


  2. arch174

    arch174 Senior IL'ite

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    HI Diana,
    I think 3rd option is best albeit unpleasant to think of...
    The best gift any parent can give to...a chilD is to ...luv his spouse..
    children who live with -ve emotions will find it extremely difficult to grow up to be +ve persons...all of us can easily learn wrong things naturally..& difficult stuff requires lot of effort...
    u smile & the child smiles back...at a very early age( few months old)
    arguing in any language evokes same emotions..try listening to fight scenes in any language..body language is the same for all sorts of people..child can sense wot we imagine that we are hiding sucessfully..
  3. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    Why not??? Children never want to live in the same situation. They always try to escape from where they are... Hence parents will ultimately have happy children telling them to stop cribbing and crying... they are fed up....
  4. deepalijoshi

    deepalijoshi New IL'ite

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    I think this is a very relevant topic raised in today's world. Especially when both parents are ambitious when it comes to careers and compromises.
    in early days, mothers had their role cut out and fathers had theirs. But today, since single income families do not work out well, it leads to roles reversals and tensions.
    Fights are bound to happen. Every marriage has its share of fights. But the point is to kiss and make up. Come what may...if you must fight before the child then let positive emotions too show before the child.
    Just hand holding, hand on the shoulders while watching TV, involving children in special gift wrapping for the spouse, and these small gestures of love and togetherness allows the child to face both the realities of life.
    That life is not always a bed of roses...you also see the thorns yet relish the beauty of the rose.
    Happiness is to be sought from within. There is nothing like Unhappy parents.. a child's smile should do the magic.


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