There is probably no parent in the world who tells their child not to follow their dreams. The encouragement given by a parent, as well as their approval, is what drives ambition and focus on young children even in parallel play and pretend play: occupational, dress-up games, role-playing games, and imaginary games,
Pre-School turns into School-Age and the dreams solidify into academics, socialization, and homework. Further on, there are co-curricular activities, and suddenly, more opportunities open to the maturing child. What once they thought they wanted to become and do from earlier years they may no longer want to become…from a doctor to a teacher, from a lawyer to a police offices, from an engineer to a musician.
And then there’s the climb to high school’s challenges — hormones, peers, carving of age-appropriate, stubborn independence leading to a power struggle. The senior year in itself ages a family unit by decades with these options to decide on: College? Scholarships? Hiatus? Travel?
What had begun as a sweet, idealized bonding moment picture of what the future was going to look like between a parent and a young child transforms into momenta stressors that sometimes families never recover from. Children become estranged either physically or emotionally from parents whose messages to them can either be too strongly delivered, or the exact opposite, too softly said.
And thus the parent-child dynamic evolves from a hurricane of dreams, responsibilities, and cultures. The Parental Mind is lent to the child and never lets go, unfortunately for the child. How many of us hear our parents’ positive and negative voices in our heads? That is their endowment to their children, apart from genetics and biology. Temperament in children are based off of the endowment, the complete package from the home that they subconsciously bring with them.
The Children’s Mind starts off self-centered and then self-actualizing; first to survive and second, to be heard. There is a subtle difference in generational stages according to developmental psychology as everyone ages toward the same age, and roles are mostly dependent on the modern societies that surround the research studies (mainly civilizations that have broken into the digital age). Then their minds begin a diverse, cross-cultural adventure and begin experiments that an adult, parental mind would find objectionable and abhor to, albeit forgetting that they too had some intense experimentation in their heyday.
Whatever decisions the Children’s Mind stores in its memory bank are repeated over time; whether they were borrowed from the Parental Mind or made repelling it. Their ownership of the decision becomes owned by them and molds their identity firmly with every repetition. Sometimes, these repetitive decisions lead them to the expected, structured life after school — the 9-5 job, the car, the apartment and so on. Occasionally, these decisions catapult them to extraordinary directions, from zero to one-eighty simply by creating, reacting, doing what it is that drives them.
And there are those stuck in the middle of the two worlds. Parental Minds often label these states as lazy, discontented, underperforming, and the common underachieving the potential. Children’s Minds have the flexibility of potential and possibility however when the message from the overarching, stronger parental voice, the rigidity is easily adapted and the confusion is clear in work, play and with their personal relationships. Confusion can be released as violence, oftentimes it can be cyclothymic mood swings. Those of us outside this dual mindset can only interpret from the objectivity of a third-party: maybe it’s just the child’s nature to be reactive than proactive and they need to learn to control themselves. Period.
As observers however, we too have as much responsibility as the Parental Mind to take care with what messages we tend to impart with our body language, our emotional responses, our words, and our unintended non-verbal insinuations. There is a tendency for judgment to be drawn in the sand line with our interactions with them, and no matter what the age the Child is, the mind remembers everything even when language has no access to the memory. We all have been there…a name, a place, an unsettling situation once experienced is brought up from years ago. Suddenly, this transports us to the familiar pangs of what could only be described as an uncomfortable, painful embarrassment that feeling is still around. The point of aging and moving through the stages of development is mainly TO DEVELOP, however we seem to be masters of reaching back in repression due to our own Child’s Mind and repetition of formative (toxic or otherwise) decisions.
Part of the decision-making cycle from Parent to Child is the reminder of responsibility, often to the point of being afraid to create a life. Ever wondered why it is easier for some to switch careers cold turkey while it is paralyzing for others? Citing the experts, the preschool exposure to multiple failing situations and allowing children to emancipate themselves from such situations lead to resilience in the attitude toward failure. Parenting the parent by reminding them of how they were once children requires practice and a humility in declaring that they do not know everything, and that is more than ok.
What of the Child to Parent Mind? That is the abyss. The Child’s Mind remind the Parental Mind of their accomplishments and their inadequacies. They show which of the previous two is driving the voice of the Parental Mind: the overachiever or the Passing the Inadequacy Torch (AKA Live my dreams for me because you can). With just enough checked boxes in their driver’s seat, balancing the driving shifts is not just challenging. It can be plain impossible. Using the digital age as the backdrop of this scenario, the Parental Mind is also juggling with financial, marital and social expectations that have certain ceilings. Anything placed on top of that, a nuclear explosion from within will reverberate past the Children’s Mind — to immediate communities and societies as far as the digital age can reach.
Only then is reflection and quiet made mandatory, in hindsight, instead of while there is time for the mind to shift consciousness when confronted with the hardest YES and the Easiest NO.