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In a message dated 11/23/05 7:43:21 AM, elainegh8@... writes:

> -=-From a personal perspective the father is using emotional blackmail in
> his letter to try and get his son back. It might work this time but
> eventually it won't.-=-
As I decided what to do and how with kids, I tried to see the benefits to me,
too, so that I wasn't "sacrificing." I would think "This will be cool!"
and "I'll be learning a lot."

My life would have been different without children, we would have had more
money, I would have gone on trips with my many other childless friends, who
under the circumstances kind of distanced themselves (or in some more recent cases
I distanced myself because their attitude and comments about children in
general just grated on me). But we WANTED to have children. We found after
Kirby was born that we LIKED being parents, and so it was something for me and
Keith, more than for them. Anyone who pretends to think they did their kids a
big favor by bringing them to earth is showing a mean, delusional streak.
Earth isn't that great a place, and being alive can be pretty painful and
irritating. I haven't heard it lately by anyone being serious, but when I was
younger I did hear people saying things like "We gave you life," and "Your
mother risked her life to have you" and "You owe us" and "We've done you a big
favor" and other "We are generous and you are insignificant" messages.

Having those in mind has helped me as I've tried to keep a better perspective
than that. I keep them in a collection in my mind as things not to use.
Sometimes when one of my kids has been unhappy from treatment by another friend
or a sibling, when they were younger, I've apologized and said something like
that I knew there were moments like this in life, and I'm sorry that they're
experiencing that just because I wanted to have kids. And I'd say I hoped
they didn't have too many more really bad moments.

-=-I've had this kind of thing from my mother most of my life. Not as
overtly as the dad has done, it was much more subtle, but it doesn't
make you feel loved it just makes you feel permanently disapproved of.
Both me and my brother had left home by the age of 18.-=-

The letter made it pretty clear that the mom's pain was the son's fault.
Something was his fault before he left, and things are his fault now. He's a
faulty guy, one way or another. He has surely screwed up those people's lives,
poor parents. How could he have come to earth against their will and then
not served them on their terms? (That was sarcasm.) The letter didn't say
"You were right" about anything, or "If you come back things will be
different," or "We'll be in New York reclaiming our careers, but if you want a plane
ticket to see us we'll gladly pay for it."

But I'm thinking like an unschooler. It's not fair to overlay my attitudes
toward respecting children and being partners with them. I have to credit La
Leche League (again). All around me parents DO act as though children are
alien burdens who weren't expected or wanted and couldn't possibly be loved and
appreciated. All over the place parents are complaining to their friends
about how awful it is to be a parent, but *THEY MADE IT HARD.* They sabotaged
any possible joy and hope, and then they martyr themselves about it. What
about the child? What about his feelings, and joy and hope?

At my house that's not a problem. When they're joyous I am too. When
they're hopeful and creative and energetic, we all get to share that. When they
have a hard moment, others are not going to say "That's what you get," we're
going to comfort and sympathize, and when the time is right, we'll help them
recover and repair.

The other night my kids had "a fight" (in Marty's words) after the parents
were asleep. I wrote about it elsewhere, but have the followup now. I'll
post it separately.


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