Don’t Panic, What Parents Really Need To Know About ‘Huggy Wuggy’

You may have seen the growing number of articles about the Huggy Wuggy character from horror survival game Poppy Playtime. Similar the Momo Challenge stories, this is usually accompanied with a scary blue character with red lips and sharp teeth and warnings about the upsetting or harmful impact on children.

However, no evidence has been reported that links back to the game itself. Rather, warnings from head teachers and Police have led to misinformation about the content of the game and potential impact on children.

Most of the panic surrounds related content created on TikTok and YouTube that features the game characters in unsettling scenarios. One of these video included a song, Free Hugs, with lyrics “Cause I could just hug you here. Forever, forever. Till you breathe your last breath.”

If you are a parent or guardian concerned about this, it’s important to understand the game before you delete it from children’s devices. Rather than a knee-jerk reaction, it’s a chance to talk to your child about the content and then make an informed decision about it with them.

Poppy Playtime Age Rating

The game itself is a scary experience designed to thrill and unsettle. It has been rated as suitable for 13 year-olds by ESRB and for 12 year-olds by PEGI. This includes descriptors for Violence, Blood from ESRB and Moderate Violence and Horror from PEGI.

The VSC Rating Board, extend the PEGI rating by stating “this game features a sense of threat and dread throughout as the player’s character explores an abandoned factory. In one intense sequence, the player’s character is pursued by a monster, including through a series of dark air vents. In another sequence, a heavy box is dropped onto a fantasy character, causing it to fall from a height. Blood appears on some pipes that the character strikes as it falls.”

This applies to the game itself rather than any fan created content. There are also unofficial fan made versions of the game on Roblox (Poppy Playtime Morphs) which do not fall under the remit of ESRB or PEGI as they are user generated content.

Taking care to understand the actual source of potentially upsetting content is important for parents. Not only so we can ensure that the settings on our children’s social media and video accounts are appropriately configured, but to ensure we don’t over react to what is a popular game.

The real danger is that stories about Poppy Playtime and the Huggy Wuggy character spiral out of control like the Momo Challenge. We’ve already seen reports eager to connect the scary Huggy Wuggy character to children jumping out of windows or breath holding playground games.

This leads to a muddled response to actual concerns children have. Banning a child from a game they are enjoying because of a related video makes it much less likely for them to talk to parents if something genuinely upsetting happens online.

The real danger with this panicked response is that it separates parents from the gaming world of their child. Much better, is to use rating advice and to play the game ourselves. We can then be present in the gaming world of our children and provide informed guidance.

Poppy Playtime Creator

I spoke to Zach Belanger, President and CEO of Enchanted Mob who made the Poppy Playtime game. I asked who the game was aimed at. “Poppy Playtime was not created with the intention to target any specific audience. Bear in mind that this was the first game our studio ever created, and our main priority was to create something that we would enjoy playing ourselves.

Beyond that, we have a passion for any content we create to be enjoyable by audiences of all ages. To us, it isn’t accurate to say that we created Poppy Playtime to be consumed by kids or adults, but rather our goal was simply to inspire and entertain anyone who decided to play the game.”

With this in mind, I wondered if the warnings from schools had come as a surprise? “The vast majority of the controversy we are seeing regarding warnings from schools about the Huggy Wuggy character are completely untrue and/or grossly exaggerated.

One of the things we’ve read online is that Huggy Wuggy whispers creepy things into one’s ear while playing, but anyone who has actually played Poppy Playtime would know that Huggy Wuggy does not even have a voice in Chapter 1, so it’s impossible for him to have whispered anything.”

“As far as we are aware, all of these warnings from schools are originating from fan made content based off of our game, but if you want my personal opinion, I do not think that any of these videos should be cause for concern, and we appreciate all the hard work and dedication our fans are put toward creating content inspired off of Poppy Playtime.”

Huggy Wuggy Song Creator

The creator of one of the more popular pieces of fan content was Igor Gordiyenko who is TryHardNinja on YouTube. He created the controversial Huggy Wuggy song that has around 5 million views.

I asked what the inspiration for the song and reason for the lyrics. “I wrote the song inspired by the story and lore of Huggy Wuggy from the game Poppy Playtime. In the game the player investigates a toy factory in which all the employees disappeared and some of the toys that used to be developed there have become sinister killer monsters. Huggy Wuggy is one of the antagonist monsters in the game.

The jingle in the game and game’s soundtrack has the lyrics, ‘He’ll squeeze you ‘til you pop’. I thought it would be creative to take the original jingle which mentions hugging forever and make it into a more obvious sinister version to be truer to his new sinister persona following the event the game.”

I asked what he made of the response to the song and the warnings that were appearing in headlines. “As a father, I completely understand the concern. I didn’t intentionally make the song to scare young kids. It’s a song based on a monster from the indie horror game Poppy Playtime rated for teens and up. My video is targeted to the same audience.”

“The themes and visuals of my song and video are true to the character’s lore, actions and depiction in the game. I am not trying to make an innocent character seem scarier than they are. Much like Chucky from Child’s Play, Huggy Wuggy is and always was a horror character. My song is for fans of the source material which is not for young kids.”

I asked him what he had done to ensure that younger children didn’t have access to the video. “As a YouTube creator I have done everything in my power to make sure the video is not served to kids younger than 13. Since the moment of upload the video has been marked “Not made for kids.”

Since reports of the song being served on YouTube Kids started about a month ago I have been doing my own periodical sweeps of that platform and I have never found that video or song. I understand how my video being recommended to young kids would be concerning and inappropriate, but all evidence points to the previous reports saying that it’s on YouTube Kids to being false.”

What advice would he have for parents if they were worried about children finding the song and being upset by it? “As a parent, if even after making sure I’ve done everything I could to filter out this content and it still gets through, I would sit with my child and talk to them about what they saw, their feelings and reassure them that Huggy Wuggy is a made up character that can’t hurt them.”

Keeping Children Safe

Rather than warning children about specific dangers such as Momo or Huggy Wuggy, parents and professionals can better help children by teaching them good practices online.

Fostering an atmosphere of openness and transparency about online activity ensures that children can thrive. If you do notice them switching screens on their devices when approached or new numbers or email addresses on their devices it’s worth checking in with them.

Keep video games and YouTube watching in shared family spaces. In video games, you can also set-up restrictions on friends and accessing user generate content that may include Poppy Playtime themed add ons. Also, ensure you have Restricted mode on for your child’s account this content is not available to them.

I am a technology critic specializing in families. I’ve recently written the Taming Gaming book for parents and related Family Video Game Database. I write for

Source: Don’t Panic, What Parents Really Need To Know About ‘Huggy Wuggy’

.

More contents:

 

6 Psychologically Damaging Things Parents Say To Their Kids Without Realizing It

Parents don’t set out to say hurtful or harmful things to their children, but it happens. You’re tired, they’re pushing your buttons, and you’re frustrated after asking them for the 600th time to clear their plates or get out the door on time. You could also be inadvertently repeating things you heard in your own childhood that your parents (and maybe even you) didn’t realize took an emotional toll.

We parents are trying our best, but sometimes — a lot of times — we fall short. That’s why it can be helpful to know some of the potentially damaging phrases parents often resort to without realizing their impact. It’s not about beating ourselves up. It’s about doing better by being a bit more conscious of our language.

So HuffPost Parents spoke with several experts who shared some harmful phrases you should try to erase from your vocabulary — and what to say instead.

1. “It’s not a big deal.”

Kids often cry or melt down over stuff that seems really silly. (Recall the delightful “reasons my kid is crying” meme that had a real moment a few years back.) But while kids’ crying and whining can definitely get under their parents’ skin — particularly when it’s over something you think they should be able to cope with — it’s harmful to diminish their very real feelings by basically telling them to buck up.

“These little problems — and the emotions that come with them — are actually huge to our kids,” said Amy McCready, a parenting educator, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the author of “If I Have to Tell You One More Time.” “When we discount their emotional responses to very real challenges, we tell them, ‘How you feel doesn’t matter,’ or ‘It’s silly to be afraid or disappointed.’”

Instead, try this:

Take a moment and try to understand things from their perspective. McCready recommended saying something like: “You seem really scared or frustrated or disappointed right now. Should we talk about it and figure out what to do?” Ultimately, you’re helping them label their emotions (an important part of developing emotional intelligence) and making it clear that you’re there for them.

2. “You never” or “You always do XYZ.”

Children have their patterns, but saying your kid “always” or “never” does something simply isn’t true. (That’s why marriage counselors advise clients to avoid the word “never” with their partners altogether.)

Using broad statements is a red flag that you’ve stopped being curious about what’s happening in this particular moment with your child, according to Robbin McManne, founder of Parenting for Connection.

“It misses opportunity for you to teach them what they should and what they can do next time,” McManne said.

Instead, try this:

Remind yourself to be curious about why your child is engaging in a particular behavior at a particular time. It really helps to connect by getting physically close to your child in that moment, McManne said, so that you’re not shouting at them from across the house, but you’re right there with them to make sure they’re not distracted by something else.

3. “You make me sad when you do that.”

Sure, it might really bum you out when your child doesn’t listen, but it is important to set (and hold) boundaries without throwing your emotions into the mix. Those feelings are yours, not theirs. Plus, you’re setting a precedent by potentially giving them a lot of negative power.

“When kids feel like they get to decide if you’re happy, sad or enraged, they may happily take the opportunity to continue to push your buttons down the road,” McCready said. “And even when they’re out of your house, this mindset can damage future relationships and set the stage for them to manipulate others to get what they want.”

Instead, try this:

Set whatever boundary you need to set, like, “It’s not OK to jump on couches,” McCready offered by way of example. Then, give some choices such as, “Would you rather play quietly in here or go outside?”

4. “You should know better.”

When you say something like “you should know better,” what you’re ultimately trying to do is guilt or shame your child into changing. But that puts kids on the defensive, which makes them even less likely to listen, McCready said. It also undermines their confidence.

“If we tell our kids they should know better — yet clearly they didn’t — we’re sending the message, ‘You’re too dumb/immature to make a good decision.’ Not exactly what we intended,” she added.

Instead, try this:

McCready suggested saying something like “Hmm, looks like we’ve got a situation here! What can we do to fix it?” The goal is to focus on solutions — not the problem — so children practice problem-solving and fixing their own mistakes, and think about ways to make better choices in the first place.

5. “Just let me do it.”

When you’re rushing out the door or waiting for your child to complete a simple task that is seemingly taking forever, your instinct might be to just take over. But try to avoid doing that if you can.

“You’re telling your child, ‘You’re not capable of this, so I need to get involved.’ This is both discouraging and really frustrating,” McCready said. “Imagine if you were super close to being able to do your own zipper and just needed a few more tries, but then Dad swoops in and stops you in your tracks.”

Instead, try this:

Slow down and give your child the time they need to complete their task. Or at the very least, be clearer about why you have to rush. Say something like, “I’ll help you just this once since we’re running so late, but let’s work on this together later!”

6. “You’re a [insert label here].”

One of the most valuable things parents can do for their children is simply avoid labeling them, McManne said. Labels hurt the parent-child relationship because they get in the way of parents seeing their children as struggling and needing help. Parents start to link certain behaviors with whatever label they’ve given to their child, rather than digging in and really trying to understand what’s happening developmentally.

“Labels take us further out of compassion and curiosity,” McManne said.

Labels also have the potential to become self-fulfilling. If children hear from parents that they’re a certain way, they might come to accept that as true — even if it doesn’t feel true to them.

Even labels that seem positive like “You’re smart!” can actually be harmful, McCready said.

“When we say ‘you’re smart’ or ‘you’re athletic,’ we’re telling our child, ‘The only reason you did well on that test is because you were born brainy,’ or, ‘You wouldn’t have made that goal if it weren’t for your natural ability.’ What’s more, if our child bombs the test next time, they’ll be left confused and discouraged, questioning their own ability. If they’re so smart, why did they fail?”

Instead, try this:

Notice and applaud effort, not outcomes. And do whatever you can to avoid labeling your kiddo as anything, good or bad.

Catherine Pearson - HuffPost

Source: 6 Psychologically Damaging Things Parents Say To Their Kids Without Realizing It | HuffPost UK Parenting

.

Critics:

A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehavior, and often child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occur continuously and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such a situation is normal.

Dysfunctional families are primarily a result of two adults, one typically overtly abusive and the other codependent, and may also be affected by addictions (such as substance abuse, such drugs including alcohol), or sometimes by an untreated mental illness. Dysfunctional parents may emulate or over-correct from their own dysfunctional parents. In some cases, the dominant parent will abuse or neglect their children and the other parent will not object, misleading a child to assume blame.

Some features are common to most dysfunctional families:

  • Lack of empathy, understanding, and sensitivity towards certain family members, while expressing extreme empathy or appeasement towards one or more members who have real or perceived “special needs”. In other words, one family member continuously receives far more than they deserve, while another is marginalized.
  • Denial (refusal to acknowledge abusive behavior, possibly believing that the situation is normal or even beneficial; also known as the “elephant in the room“.)
  • Inadequate or missing boundaries for self (e.g. tolerating inappropriate treatment from others, failing to express what is acceptable and unacceptable treatment, tolerance of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.)
  • Disrespect of others’ boundaries (e.g. physical contact that other person dislikes; breaking important promises without just cause; purposefully violating a boundary another person has expressed.)
  • Extremes in conflict (either too much fighting or insufficient peaceful arguing between family members.)
  • Unequal or unfair treatment of one or more family members due to their birth order, gender, age, family role (mother, etc.), abilities, race, caste, etc. (may include frequent appeasement of one member at the expense of others, or an uneven/inconsistent enforcement of rules.)

References

Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says These 5 Habits Matter Most

I’ve been on a mission, collecting science-based parenting advice both here in my column on Inc.com and in my continuously updated free e-book How to Raise Successful Kids, which you can download here.

Here’s a short but detailed look at five of the most useful studies that I’ve found, and the habits they suggest for successful parents.

1. Be a role model (but not their only role model).

Let’s give the plot twist up front: Kids need great role models, but one of the most important roles you can model is how you deal with failure.

Deal with it honestly, openly, and transparently. Let them see that you do sometimes try and come up short. Because, of course, they will fail at things themselves, and you want to teach them two things:

  • Don’t be afraid or ashamed of failure, especially if they’ve given it their all.
  • Rebound from it the right way.

A few years ago, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ran experiments with children as young as 15 months old. The more their parents let them see that they struggled and failed at times, the more resilient the kids became.

“There’s some pressure on parents to make everything look easy,” one of the study’s leads said. “[T]his does at least suggest that it may not be a bad thing to show your children that you are working hard to achieve your goals.”

Beyond that? Make sure they have great role models, both in their lives and in literature.

2. Teach them to love the outdoors.

This advice seems especially timely as we emerge from the pandemic. But kids need to be outside.

Studies show that kids who spent a lot less time outdoors during the early days of the coronavirus crisis experienced a strikingly negative effect on their emotional well-being.

This almost seems like common sense, but we see it come up again and again in both children and adults.

These kinds of habits — and a lifelong appreciation for nature (or not) — can start young, and cost almost nothing.

Against this — and I’m no Luddite, and I know we live in a digital world, but — researchers have found that happiness and well-being among U.S. middle schoolers has declined steadily since 2012.

Hmmm, what happened in 2012? That’s when American kids largely started to get their own smartphones, combined with unlimited data plans.

3. Teach them to prioritize kindness.

A couple of years ago, psychologist and business school professor Adam Grant and his wife, Allison Sweet Grant, wrote a book about kids and kindness. In an article they wrote for The Atlantic around the same time, they made an interesting point:

  • More than 90 percent of U.S. parents say that “one of their top priorities is that their children be caring.”
  • But if you ask children what their parents’ top priorities are for them,  “81 percent say their parents value achievement and happiness over caring.”

There’s a disconnect. And it might stem from people not realizing one of the most fascinating paradoxes, which is that people who demonstrate kindness and caring for others are often more likely to achieve what they want as a result.

As the Grants put it:

Boys who are rated as helpful by their kindergarten teacher earn more money 30 years later. Middle-school students who help, cooperate, and share with their peers also excel–compared with unhelpful classmates, they get better grades and standardized-test scores.

The eighth graders with the greatest academic achievement, moreover, are not the ones who got the best marks five years earlier; they’re the ones who were rated most helpful by their third-grade classmates and teachers.

And middle schoolers who believe their parents value being helpful, respectful, and kind over excelling academically, attending a good college, and having a successful career perform better in school and are less likely to break rules.

We see this in negotiations, too: Develop empathy with the people you’re dealing with, care legitimately about what they want as well as what you want, and you’re more likely to reach a desirable resolution.

4. Praise them the right way.

There are at least three facets of praising kids well that I’ve found in my surveys of the research.

The first is to praise kids for their effort, not their gifts. I’ve gotten a bit of pushback on this idea recently, which I’ll address in a future column. But in short:

  • Good: I’m very proud of you. I saw how hard you studied for that test.
  • Not-so-good: I knew you’d do well on that test. You’re so smart and naturally good at math.

The second is to praise them authentically. Kids aren’t stupid (mostly). They know if you’re blowing smoke when you praise them for things that don’t really merit praise. But they also need reinforcement to know that you’re proud and think they’re doing the right things.

In one study of 300 kids, researchers found that:

When parents perceived that they over- or underpraised their children for schoolwork, children performed worse in school and experienced depression to a greater extent, as compared with children whose parents thought their praise accurately reflected reality.

Finally, however: Be generous with your praise in terms of quantity.

A three-year study out of Brigham Young University found that there’s no magic amount of praise, but it’s helpful to do so as often as possible. One trick might be to break down tasks and praise for each one specifically, as opposed to holding your positive reinforcement until the end of a task.

5. Be there for them, and then some.

This last bit of advice is perhaps the hardest because it flies in the face of one of the parenting clichés we all want to avoid: namely, becoming a helicopter parent.

That said, I’m going to combine studies here, and at least give you food for thought — if not a complete guide.

The bottom line up front is to be there, be vocal, and be involved, while still letting your kids do for themselves as much as they can.

  • Study No. 1: Researchers found that girls whose mothers “nagged the heck out of them” were less likely to become pregnant as teenagers, more likely to go to college, and less likely to have long periods of unemployment or get stuck in dead-end jobs.
  • Study No. 2: A series of studies, actually, found that parents who were quick to run to their children’s side when they faced big challenges or had setbacks — at almost any age — wound up raising kids who were more successful and had better relationships with their parents as they got older.

In short, you’re your child’s parent, and they need you to act like that: guiding them, pushing them, and showing that you’ll always be there for them. Do that much, and you’re doing quite a lot.

By: Bill Murphy Jr., http://www.billmurphyjr.com@BillMurphyJr

Source: Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says These 5 Habits Matter Most | Inc.com

.

Critics:

Parenting or child rearing promotes and supports the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the intricacies of raising a child and not exclusively for a biological relationship. The most common caretaker in parenting is the father or mother, or both, the biological parents of the child in question. However, a surrogate may be an older sibling, a step-parent, a grandparent, a legal guardian, aunt, uncle, other family members, or a family friend.

Governments and society may also have a role in child-rearing. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent or non-blood relations. Others may be adopted, raised in foster care, or placed in an orphanage. Parenting skills vary, and a parent or surrogate with good parenting skills may be referred to as a good parent. Parenting styles vary by historical period, race/ethnicity, social class, preference, and a few other social features.

Additionally, research supports that parental history, both in terms of attachments of varying quality and parental psychopathology, particularly in the wake of adverse experiences, can strongly influence parental sensitivity and child outcomes.

Parenting does not usually end when a child turns 18. Support may be needed in a child’s life well beyond the adolescent years and continues into middle and later adulthood. Parenting can be a lifelong process.

Parents may provide financial support to their adult children, which can also include providing an inheritance after death. The life perspective and wisdom given by a parent can benefit their adult children in their own lives. Becoming a grandparent is another milestone and has many similarities with parenting.

See also

Damage Done By Emotionally Immature Parents Can Have a Long Term Impact on Children

Mandy* says her mother has always had a controlling streak. In something of a nightmare scenario for most kids, when Mandy was 10, her mum got a job at her school. “My mother was telling me who I was and I wasn’t allowed to be friends with. She was prohibiting most people I made friends with,” Mandy says.

“She would actually leave her post during my lunchtime to see who I was hanging out with and if I was following her orders.” Mandy is now in her late 20s. Until a few years ago, she says her mother was still trying to control what she wore — going as far as to pre-approve what she could buy.

“There was one day where I was wearing an outfit that she didn’t like the combination and she started freaking out to the point where she went up to the door and blocked my exit. She would not allow me to leave the house,” Mandy says.

Mandy says the control extended to what she ate, and she developed an eating disorder between the ages of 11 and 15. “She was always incredibly controlling of what I was eating, always watching every move.”

Mandy says as a child, she would make decisions to please her mother and prevent fights in the house, which left her stressed and insecure.  “Part of that insecurity led me to a period in my teens where I was suicidal for quite a long time, and I had a suicide attempt when I was 15,” she says.

She argues that her mother’s immature behaviours — controlling various aspects of her life and reacting angrily when Mandy didn’t follow the rules — has caused her significant problems as an adult.

Who are these emotionally immature parents?

Mandy’s experience isn’t uncommon. In her practice as a clinical psychologist, Lindsay Gibson has come across many people with similar stories. Ms Gibson was “astounded” at the emotional immaturity of parental behaviours reported by clients.

“As I’m listening to them I’m thinking, ‘oh my gosh, her father is acting like a four-year-old, or her mother sounds like a 14-year-old’.” Ms Gibson has seen a range of emotional immaturity – from parents who can be volatile and hysterical, through to those who are cold and rejecting. Many also exhibit controlling behaviours.

She’s encountered this problem so often, she wrote a book about it. These troubled relationships can have significant long-term impacts on children when they become adults themselves, she says. One of these impacts can be a disregard for their own feelings and instincts.

“They [the parent] teach you to doubt yourself and mistrust your emotional needs, and you can imagine how that plays out later when that person has to figure out what they want to do for a living or decide who to marry,” Ms Gibson says.

“All these things that have to come from an internal sense of guidance.” Mandy isn’t a client of Ms Gibson’s, but says what Ms Gibson describes is similar to the impacts her mother had on her. She finally moved out of her parents’ home last year and has since started seeing a therapist.

“Sometimes a trauma response isn’t just like having panic attacks, sometimes it’s also being a people pleaser because I just want to lessen the conflict.” Ms Gibson argues that emotionally immature parents grew up at a time when there was little emphasis on the emotional needs of children.

Instead, the focus was on the physical needs of children — things like reducing levels of child labour and malnutrition. That changed around the middle of the century. “Around about the 1950s, there was a paediatrician, Benjamin Spock, who began to push this idea that children had emotional needs and that meeting the child’s emotional needs had tremendous importance in their adult life. And so there was an awakening,” Ms Gibson says.

Going no contact

The main strategy advised by psychologists when it comes to parents who may be overbearing or manipulative is to set firm boundaries or guidelines around how other people can behave towards you. Examples of behaviours people might push back on include unwanted visits, or unwelcome advice about how a child is being raised, Ms Gibson says.

“And if you learn how to say no in whatever awkward, frightened, shy way that you want to say no, but you just continue to say what your limits are, that really works pretty well, because emotionally immature people are not prepared for repetition,” she says.

“That’s a very hard thing for an adult child to do, but it can be done and that’s the way to do it.” Boundaries are something Mandy says she tried to establish with her parents many times over, but for her it never quite worked. “And of course it all got worse when they realised that I was queer. I kept establishing boundaries around it where I was like, ‘look, my identity is not up for debate’. That was completely dismissed,” she says.

By 2020 she had finally saved enough money to move out of her parents’ home for good. She’s had no contact with them for the past six months. Mandy now helps run an online forum where adult children who have difficult relationships with their parents can swap survival stories, share encouragement and try to heal.

As for how to be a good parent? Ms Gibson says at its core, it’s simple.

“All you have to do is to not only love your child, but be able to see your child as a unique individual who has a real internal world of their own, where everything is just as important as it is to the adult, and there have always been parents who had that sensitivity, thank goodness,” she says.

By: Sana Qadar and James Bullen for All in the Mind

Source: Damage done by emotionally immature parents can have a long-term impact on children – ABC News

.

Related Stories:

Hannah’s secret daydreaming lasted two decades before she realised it was a real problem

Hong Kong censors now have the power to ban movies ‘endangering national security

Fog delays Morrison’s G7 arrival as Australia pledges 20m vaccine doses for developing countries

China dishes out punishments to dozens of officials over deadly cross-country marathon event

Devoutly religious Tasmanian woman fails in bid to stop autopsy of her mother

Hawks stun Sydney Swans to break losing streak

Christian Porter loses bid to reduce costs linked to defamation battle

.

Critics:

Melitta Schmideberg noted in 1948 how emotional deprivation could lead parents to treat their children (unconsciously) as substitute parent figures.”Spousification” and “parental child” (Minuchin) offered alternative concepts exploring the same phenomenon; while the theme of intergenerational continuity in such violations of personal boundaries was further examined.

Eric Berne touched on the dangers of parents and children having a symmetrical, rather than asymmetrical relationship, as when an absent spouse is replaced by the eldest child; and Virginia Satir wrote of “the role-function discrepancy…where the son gets into a head-of-the-family role, commonly that of the father”.

Object relations theory highlighted how the child’s false self is called into being when it is forced prematurely to take excessive care of the parental object; and John Bowlby looked at what he called “compulsive caregiving” among the anxiously attached, as a result of a parent inverting the normal relationship and pressuring the child to be an attachment figure for them.

All such aspects of disturbed and inverted parenting patterns have been drawn under the umbrella of the wider phenomenon of parentification – with the result (critics suggest) that on occasion “ironically the concept of parentification has…been as over-burdened as the child it often describes

.

References:

  • R. A. Gardner et al., The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome (2006) p. 200
  • Gregory J. Jurkovic, ‘Destructive Parentification in Families’ in Luciano L’Abate ed., Family Psychopathology (New York 1998) pp. 237–255
  • Jurkovic, p. 240
  • Jurkovic, in L’Abate ed., p. 240
  • Eric Berne, Sex in Human Loving (Penguin 1970) p. 249–53
  • Virginia Satir, Peoplemaking (1983) p. 167
  • Adam Phillips, On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored (1994) p. 31
  • John Bowlby, The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds (London 1979) p. 137–38
  • Karpel, quoted by Jurkovic, in L’Abate ed., p. 238
  • Satir, p. 167
  • Bryna Siegal, What about Me (2002) p. 131
  • Harold Bloom, Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie (2007) p. 142
  • Diana Brandt, Wild Mother Dancing (1993) p. 54
  • Jurkovic, in L’Abate, ed., p. 246-7
  • Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of the Neuroses (London 1946) p. 510-11
  • R. K. Holway, Becoming Achilles (2011) Chapter Five ‘Fathers and Sons’; and notes p. 218–19
  • Siegal, p. 114
  • Jurkovic, p. 237
  • Paula M. Reeves, in Nancy D. Chase, Burdened Children (1999) p. 171
  • Katz, Petracca; J., Rabinowitz (2009). “A retrospective study of daughters’ emotional role reversal with parents, attachment anxiety, excessive reassurance seeking, and depressive symptoms”. The American Journal of Family Therapy. 37 (3): 185–195. doi:10.1080/01926180802405596. S2CID 145504807.
  • C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (London 1983) p. 69
  • Laurens van der Post, Jung and the Story of Our Times (Penguin 1978) p. 77
  • Patrick Casement, Further Learning from the Patient (1990) p. 174
  • Murasaki Shikiki, The Tale of Genji (London 1992) p. 790
  • Nina S. “Unwilling Angels: Charles Dickens, Agnes Wickfield, and the Effects of Parentification”. Dickens Blog.
  • E. D. Klonsky/A. Blas, The Psychology of Twilight (2011) Nancy R. Reagin ed., Twilight and History (2010) p. 184–85 and p. 258-9

Teaching Your Kids How to Resolve Conflict Without Fighting

You know how we have epiphanies as we grow older? One of the most profound ones for me has been the realization that just because someone doesn’t agree with what you’re saying at the moment doesn’t mean that they don’t agree with you all the time or that they don’t like you anymore.

This simple realization has had a huge impact on my life.

Just recently, my parents and brother were in town for my daughter’s birthday. We were at dinner the night before her party, and my brother hadn’t put his phone down the entire half hour we’d been seated. I made a comment on this – that it’s not pleasant to share a meal with someone that can’t take their eyes away from their smart phones – and he stormed off, refusing to engage in any conversation.

This isn’t the first time he’s had a violent outburst of anger over a small conflict. As his family member, it upsets me that this happens so frequently.

While I tried to make amends over text message (the only way he was willing to communicate), I noticed something in what he was saying – he thought that any criticism of his actions was a criticism of him. He thought that if I respected him, then I would not say anything negative to him. And worst of all, he thought that disagreeing meant we couldn’t be friends.

I started to wonder why this might be. Did we not have good examples of conflict resolution growing up? Did we witness violent outbursts of anger? When I think back on it, I can’t remember my parents ever arguing. And while that may seem like a good thing, I think that may be where the problem lies.

In order to know how to handle conflict in a productive and healthy manner, we need models of healthy conflict resolution. While on one hand fighting and inflamed emotions only create pain, on the other, never seeing adults disagree means our children don’t know how to deal with conflicts at all.

Productive arguments and even conflict are good, and can bring us closer when handled well. Among the many things we teach our kids, how to resolve conflict without resorting to either drama or fighting, or just simply sweeping it under the rug to fester, is very important.

Here are some ways we can teach our kids to argue in a way that builds connections, instead of destroying them –

1. Teach that disagreement and conflict do not mean that the relationship is damaged or in jeopardy

Our children need to know they are loved unconditionally. This is true in our homes, in school, and on the playground. It is far too common for individuals to view a disagreement as the undoing of a relationship. It is entirely possible to have opposing views and to still get along.

When your child comes home after a disagreement with a friend, listen to the grievances, and remind your child that their relationship with their friend remains intact.

Saying “I see, you didn’t like it that Mila wouldn’t share the swing with you” places the burden on the action; saying “it sounds like Mila was being mean today” places the burden on Mila.

This important distinction does two things:

  1. it helps your child understand that it was the action, not the friend, which was truly upsetting and
  2. it promotes a growth mindset.

Your child will learn that Mila’s actions do not define her completely. If the negative feelings are linked directly to your child’s friend instead of the action, your child may incorporate that image of Mila as always being mean. By linking the feelings to the action, your child will be more likely to understand that having one disagreement does not mean that Mila will always be “mean”.

You can also teach your child this truth by affirming it whenever the two of you disagree. Be careful and intentional with the language you choose.

Instead of criticizing your child (“you’re being disruptive”), make it clear that it is the behavior that you are unapproving of (“the way you are banging your silverware on the table is disrupting our family dinner”).

This can help your child take an outside perspective of the behavior or disagreement. Instead of aligning him or herself with the behavior in opposition to you, he or she can align with you in opposition to the behavior. Which makes it easier to teach kids how to resolve conflict in a healthy manner and brings us to our next strategy…

2. Instill in your child a sense of family and friends as teammates

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re outside of a group. Being ostracized in time out or left out of a game of tag can be debilitating for a child. We want to belong. And one of the things that can make us feel like we don’t belong is having a fight.

I noticed this in my communication with my brother. He felt rejected because of our disagreement, when in reality I only meant to point out a behavior that was hindering our ability to connect. I should have been more careful to make it clear that it wasn’t him that I had a problem with, but was the behavior instead.

One way we can do this with our children and other adults is reminding ourselves and each other that we are on the same team. When your child is disrupting dinner time, saying something like “we all want to have a meal together and spend time with each other” reminds him or her that you have the same goal.

Back to our example of Mila not sharing her swing – this is a good time to explain that individuals often have different ideas of the same goal. In this example, our goal on the playground is to have fun and play together. Mila is expressing this goal by swinging. How else can we meet this goal together? How can we cooperate, rather than compete, to find different options for reaching the same goal? Can we take turns with one on the swing and the other pushing her 10 times and then switch places so both of us can have fun?

This is the sort of conversation that may be difficult to have with young children, but if we are able to open our children’s minds to seeing different ways to get the same thing accomplished, and ultimately look for a win-win solution, we have done them a great service for their lives to come.

3. Encourage your child to recognize the emotions that come to the surface during a conflict

When we don’t view each other as teammates, we may come to assume that the other person has bad intentions or is trying to hurt us. Where does this come from?

Most often, it is a defense against the pain and fear of being rejected. These emotions are quick to come to the surface in any conflict – our stomach gets tight, we sweat, our heart pounds. We are afraid of what the other person – our partner, a friend, a coworker – might say.

In order to protect ourselves against these scary feelings, we often fight back. We lash out instead of taking a moment to recognize our own vulnerability.

We can help our children recognize this cascade of thoughts and feelings by verbalizing it for them and asking them how they feel.

When you see anger rising in your child, place a hand on their shoulder and ask them what they’re feeling. The touch will help them feel safe and grounded, and the answer to your question may help them step out of their escalating anger and fear.

If they have trouble finding the words to describe their emotions, help them out. Say “it seems like you’re feeling angry/scared/frustrated”. Giving them a variety of words to express their emotions and helping them understand the more complicated ones will give them tools of emotional intelligence that they can use throughout their lives to build healthy relationships. This primer from The Natural Child Project has suggestions on how to observe and verbalize the emotions that arise from a difficult situation.

Once the emotions are identified, help them dig deeper to explore the causes of these emotions: “you felt frustrated when Mila wouldn’t share the swing with you”, or “did you feel scared that she may not be your friend if she didn’t share?”

By now, your child will probably start to be more calm and able to think through a healthy solution for how to resolve conflict. This is a good time to use our first two strategies: reminding your child that the disagreement does not mean that the friendship is over, and that there may be other ways to view the situation so that you can reach your shared goal together.

4. Model these strategies every chance you get

There is no greater teacher than the world around us, and our children are sponges, absorbing all of our actions and words as the blueprint for their lives.

A lot of pressure? Maybe.

But that’s one of the beauties of parenthood – it pushes us to be our best selves.

I mentioned above that my brother and I never saw our parents disagreeing. How were we meant to learn how to disagree if we never saw it happening? It seemed to us that disagreeing was something so bad that it had be hidden, if it happened at all. But disagreements happen, and there’s no way to avoid them. What we can avoid is an inability to deal with conflict in a healthy manner.

For example, having a disagreement with your spouse is not a time to run to another room and argue in hushed tones. Instead, use it as a teaching moment for your child and for yourself.

Saying “when you forget to go to the grocery store, I feel disrespected” gets to the heart of the issue much more than angrily shouting “you’re so forgetful!”

It also helps your spouse recognize the impact of their actions on you – it is highly unlikely that he or she neglected to go to the store out of any disrespect for you – and it helps you recognize that you may be experiencing emotions that are more about your own reaction than about the actions of your partner. According to nonviolent communication pioneer Marshall Rosenberg, “what others do may be a stimulus of our feelings, but not the cause”.

Modeling this behavior is hugely instructional for our children. They get to see us being vulnerable, and they start to see this honest discussion of emotions as a normal and healthy part of our interactions with each other.

The 2-Minute Action Plan for Fine Parents

At the heart of teaching healthy conflict-resolution skills is a deep understanding of our own reactions to conflict. Just as we discussed helping your child recognize his or her emotions, we need to practice this ourselves.

The next time you disagree with your child, your spouse, your coworker, or your friend, notice how your body feels. Our bodies can often teach us a lot about our emotions. Do you hunch over, taking a protective stance out of a feeling of fear? Do you immediately cross your arms, unwilling to move forward hand-in-hand with the other person?

Identifying the tension in your body is the first step to letting it go. See if you can relax into your own vulnerability. Remind yourself that this is not a fight-or-flight situation, but rather an opportunity to understand each other more deeply and to forge an even stronger relationship.

The Ongoing Action Plan for Fine Parents

If you are inclined to write, you can take the 2-minute action plan a step further. Keeping a daily stream-of-consciousness journal can be a wonderful tool for unraveling our thoughts, feelings, actions, and the connections among the three.

Julia Cameron pioneered this idea in The Artist’s Way, calling the ritual “Morning Pages”. While it was originally meant to clear the mind to make room for creativity, the Morning Pages practice can also be used to clear your mind of any clutter or complicated thoughts, to make room for full, authentic engagement with the world and your family.

When it comes to conflict, a writing practice can help you understand your own reactions to difficult situations. This in turn helps us connect with and better understand our children. This high level of empathy is crucial for helping our children learn to understand their emotions related to conflict and disagreement, and one of the best ways to cultivate empathy is by being vulnerable ourselves. From that place of kindness and empathy, we can teach our children to deal with these moments in a way that fosters continued harmonious relationship at home, at school, and for the rest of their lives.

By: 

Tiffany Frye is the co-founder of nido durham (www.nidodurham.com), a coworking space with childcare in Durham, NC. She supports and mentors parents who want to craft a career that fits around their lives and honors their parent-self as well as their professional-self. You can connect with Tiffany at tiffanymfrye.com or on Twitter @nidodurham.

Source: Teaching Your Kids How to Resolve Conflict Without Fighting – A Fine Parent

.

References

  • UNICEF. 2010. The State of the World’s Children Report, Special Edition. New York, UNICEF.
  • Garrison, C. Z., Bryant, E. S., Addy, C. L., Spurrier, P. G., Freedy, J. R., and Kilpatrick, D. G. 1995. Posttraumatic stress disorder in adolescents after Hurricane Andrew. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 34, pp. 1193-1201.
  • Shannon, M. P., Lonigan, C. J., Finch, A. J. and Taylor, C. M. 1994. Children exposed to disaster: I. Epidemiology of post-traumatic symptoms and symptom profiles. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 33, pp. 80-93.
  • De Jong, J. T. V. M. 2002. Trauma, War, and Violence: Public Mental Health in Socio Cultural Context. New York, Kluwer.
  • Dyregrov, A.; Gjestad, R.; Raundalen, M. (2002). “Children exposed to warfare: a longitudinal study”. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 15 (1): 59–68. doi:10.1023/A:1014335312219. PMID 11936723.
  • Thabet, A.A.; Abed, Y.; Vostanis, P. (2002). “Emotional problems in Palestinian children living in a war zone: a cross-sectional study”. Lancet. 359 (9320): 1801–1804. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)08709-3. PMID 12044374.
  • El-Khosondar, I. 2004. The Effect of Rational Behavior Therapy in Reducing the Effect of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Palestinian Children. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
  • Hawajri, A. 2003. Effectiveness of a Suggested Counseling Program to Alleviate Trauma among the Students of Basic Stage in Gaza Governorate. Unpublished master dissertation, Islamic University, Gaza, Palestine.
  • Mohlen, H., Parzer, P., Resch, F. and Brunner, R. 2005. Psychosocial support for war traumatized child and adolescent refugees: Evaluation of a short-term treatment program. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 39 (1-2), pp. 81-87
  • Husain, S. (2005). “The experience of Bosnia-Herzegovina: Psychosocial consequences of war atrocities on children”. In Lopez-Ibor, J.; Christodoulou, G.; et al. (eds.). Disasters and Mental Health. New York: John Wiley and Sons. pp. 239–246.
  • Elbedour, S., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Ghannamc, J., Whitcomed, J. A., Abu, H. F. 2007. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety among Gaza Strip adolescents in the wake of the second Uprising (Intifada). Child Abuse Neglect, Vol. 31, pp. 719-729.
  • One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the free content work Marope, P.T.M.; Kaga, Y. (2015). Investing against Evidence: The Global State of Early Childhood Care and Education (PDF). Paris, UNESCO. pp. 118–125. ISBN 978-92-3-100113-0.
  • Das, R.; Hampton, D. D.; Jirtle, R.L. (2009). “Imprinting evolution and human health”. Mammalian Genome. 20 (10): 563–72. doi:10.1007/s00335-009-9229-y. PMID 19830403.
  • Walker, S. P., Wachs, T. D. et al. 2007. Child development: risk factors for adverse outcomes in developing countries. The Lancet, Vol. 369(9556), pp. 145-157.
  • Alaani, S., Adsfahani, M. S., Tafash, M., and Manduca, P. 2008. Four polygamous families with congenital birth defects from Fallujah, Iraq. In Save the Children, Protecting Children in a Time of Crisis. Annual Report.
  • Balakrishnan, B., Henare, K., Thorstensen, E. B., Ponnampalam, A. P., Mitchell DPhil, M. D. 2010. Transfer of bisphenol A across the human placenta. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 202, pp. 393-395.
  • Shonkoff, J. P., Boyce, W. T. and McEwen, B. S. 2009. Neuroscience, molecular biology, and the childhood roots of health disparities: Building a new framework for health promotion and disease prevention. JAMA, Vol. 301(21), pp. 2252-2259.
  • Engel, S.M.; Berkowitz, G.S.; Wolf, M.; Yehuda, R. (2005). “Psychological trauma associated with the World Trade Center attacks and its effect on pregnancy outcome”. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 19 (5): 334–341. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3016.2005.00676.x. PMID 16115284.
  • Zubenko, W. N. and Capozzoli, J. 2002. Children in Disasters: A Practical Guide to Healing and Recovery, New York, Oxford University Press.
  • UNESCO (2011). “EFA Global Monitoring Report: The Hidden Crisis – Armed Conflict and Education” (PDF). Paris: UNESCO.
  • Massad, S., Nieto, F. J., Palta, M., Smith, M., Clark, R., Thabet, A., 2009. Mental health of Palestinian children in kindergartens: Resilience and vulnerability. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Vol. 14(2), pp. 89-96, doi:10.1111/j.1475-3588.2009.00528.x.

Thabet, A. A., Vostanis, P. and Karim, K. 2005. Group crisis intervention for children during ongoing war conflict. Psychiatry, Vol.14, pp. 262-269.

%d bloggers like this: