Being a parent is like flying an plane without a license. We as parents, once had this irrepressible pre-programmed desire to have kids. We of course had no idea that our kids are the consequential outflow of all the shit within us and our entire family. See that’s where family is binding it’s members, within the accumulation of shit. The first years as parents we think it’s heavy to be a parent and as soon as the child is able to communicate with us it will all be much more doable and practical to deal with, we think.
I myself practised my parental skills first on my cat, like a guinea pig or lab rabbit. My cat wasn’t giving me a hard time so I was convinced that I could handle the task as a parent. When my first child was born I was amazed how little, real and practical information was given to me. I raised my child in a rich country with health and care facilities in abundance, yet nobody was really able to assist and support newbie parents. The support given was not more then beliefs and ideas that every 4 to 5 years changed. What my mom had learned while raising me, was now outdated, dangerous and totally wrong.
So we as parents had to find out how to direct our children all by ourselves, when my baby cries like this she needs that etcetera. In a way it’s so stupid, I sat there with this living being in my arms and I had no clue what so ever how to satisfy this little creature. The obvious things like feeding, changing diapers and putting her to sleep was not the real task as long as it was a movement initiated by me. When she cried for “no reason” the stress levels went up. After a year I began to get the hang of it and when my daughter went visiting and sleeping over at her grandparents house I gave them the written manual of my child. I had this paper with all the gathered information and possible solutions on events that might happen. Quite funny when I come to think of it now.
By the time, I as a parent, thought that I’d come to this point of fully understanding my child, my child had already developed such an extensive inner life that again I had no idea what really went on inside my child. What’s of the most importance, is being capable of interacting and co-existing with her in the moment. Finding solutions together to our mutual problems and irritations. So we can eliminate as much back chat as possible. I do not perceive myself as the perfect parent, I obviously can see that I’m more successful with my children within issue X and other parents are more successful within issue Y. Yet we still are all pilots without a license.
When we as parents and non-parents see children that are not being held under control by their parents or the system, we snobbish lift up our head and let our back chat run wild. We always know better! We do not like to investigate our real parental skills ourselves and don’t apply a bit of introspective. No, it always feels better to criticize others and lift our own ability up in order to maintain this polarity of good and bad. Therefore our neighbors or friends have always uneducated wild beasts as children.
As a matter a fact I felt this way about my Albanese neighbor kids who live behind me. Always screaming, yelling and molesting each other at an age of approximately 3 and 4 years old. I was clearly irritated by these kids, who I really didn’t know. Their mother who is always calm when I met her in the street and at the same time is a stranger to me. Within 2 years we spoke with each other maybe 3 or 4 times. So my image of the mom was one of a calm and nice person and that of her kids was an image of horrible wild beasts. Then her or his parents came from Albania to live with them and for a while the kids became more decent.
Now after more then a year I saw my neighbor change into a lady with little patience who gets all of a sudden mad about nothing. She becomes outraged and if it wasn’t for the language barrier I would certainly say she’s possessed. Angry outburst have gone from once a week to daily and more times at a day. We live on a hill and they live above me so I can only see a little, but hear all, in a foreign language. The possessiveness of her outbursts lately are creeping me out, I’m wandering at which point she will snap. Sometimes her children cry when she has an outburst and sometimes it’s totally silence. I can clearly see now that her children are the consequential outflow of the shit that’s clearly inside her, neatly tucked away behind a facade of fake gentleness. It’s a familiar image, we all hide behind our fake nice appearances. The question is when are we a lousy parent, a bad parent and when do we cross the line and become real abusers?
I do not really have a plan of how to act within my suspicion of child abuse with my neighbor. Do I go over and ask all of a sudden if she is coping with life and being a parent? Do I wait till I’m sure she’s abusing mentally or physically her children and report this to the social worker of the village? Not always easy to stand and say no to abuse, if you’re not sure about the severeness of existence of it. I do not want to support abuse and I do not want to finger point and therefore support abuse. I need to be clear within this maybe horrible event that’s playing out just under my nose. I can always talk to the social worker here in the village, I’m a social worker myself, but not practising. I can point out my suspicion and she can take it from there, since she has the means and the town hall to back her up. I simply have to work with what is here and here is the system where I’m part of just as my neighbor. If I can flag abuse on YouTube and Facebook I must also be able to do so in real life.