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PREVIEW: The Under-Acknowledged Role of Parental Relationships by Dr. Allan Hunter

Parenting has many aspects to it and no one ever gets it right all the time. Yet there is one aspect that gets overlooked that is the key to the whole thing. And that is: how the parent deals with other adults, especially the spouse (if there is one). Your attitude is the vital component.

Children will take in all kinds of impressions, many of which may surprise us. One thing they definitely absorb is how their parents treat each other. Sometimes called imprinting, this can be described as the child’s response to what seems ’normal’ for him or her from the earliest and most impressionable days.

An example of this might be that the parents fit the stereotypical 1950s format. Dad works out of the home and mom is expected to manage the household and decide on everything to do with the interior décor and so on. The children will see this as the way the world is supposed to be (since they have few other models to compare their experience with) and so they internalize the sense that men live lives are largely outside the home, while women take on the responsibility for making the place attractive, preparing food, and creating a haven for the man to return to.  Fast forward to the children in their twenties and the chances are very strong that they’re going to seek out a mate who, to some extent, mirrors what they witnessed from birth on.  It will feel ‘right’ to them. Boys will tend to look for homemakers and be confused by girls who aren’t like that; girls will expect boys to be distant, powerful, and able to be soothed by their company. When these two people meet in the real world they will feel as if all their romantic dreams have been answered.

If only things could be so simple.


 

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