Therapists seem to routinely blame parents, particularly mothers, for everything that goes wrong in a child’s development. Following WWII there was a rise in so-called “child experts” (like Benjamin Spock) who laid responsibility for development at mothers’ doorsteps. But if looked at objectively, it’s important to remember that a child is utterly dependent on parents for psychological survival, for a sense of reality and morality. The relationship may be two-way but it is fundamentally asymmetrical. Parents affect children much more than children affect parents. But this doesn’t mean blaming parents, however. Parents were themselves victims of families when they were children. Most importantly, parents raise children in a social context. One can see that women, following WWII, were straight-jacketed in many ways that led to their unhappiness and distress which was later passed on to their children. Thus, we should have sympathy for both parents and children, each of which has to contend with forces beyond their control.
Trump Fatigue refers to the experience of being beaten up and enervated by President Trump’s paranoid and narcissistic behavior. The fatigue results from having to constantly fight against feelings of helplessness and the experience of being gaslighted. There’s nothing we can do about the fact that Trump poisons the airwaves and social media. We have to, instead, compartmentalize and focus on what we can control—namely, mount a political response to get Trump out of power.
There is a popular misconception about “spoiling” children. This belief is that the spoiled child is overly gratified by parents who can’t say no, a problem that results in the child growing up to be an entitled and self-centered adult. In fact, such children are being deprived of what they really need, namely, parents who are empathic and who recognize them as unique individuals. Such experiences are gratifying, not being given too many things. Some parents do suffer from an inability to say no to their children because they construe limit settings as harmful. Their children, however, construe their inability to say no as weakness and feel guilty about being able to push around their parents.
Trump, Republicans and the NRA always speak out about the problem of mental illness following a mass shooting, obviously a distraction from gun control and, lately from the problem of white supremacy. But they are hypocrites or liars. I present seven things that anyone committed to the early detection and treatment of severe mental illness should support. It is obvious that such programs are more likely to be cut by conservatives, thereby giving the lie to their apparent concern for the mentally ill.