Children, Adolescents and the Family
Every good parent wants to raise children to be good people who enjoy a
peaceful and productive life. Each parent has a sense of the future, an
anticipation of what will happen to children as they grow into adults. This
anticipation often repeats the experience of the parent and projects well-known
values and goals. Parents have a sense of how rapidly and radically
circumstances have changed for themselves and
will have some uncertainty about what their children will experience in the future. Some resolve doubt by
invoking dogma and insisting on traditional values. Others will embrace modern
technologies and provide computers, cell phones, video games and a variety of
Sustained learning, disciplined action and a clear mind are three essential
ingredients of good people doing good deeds on planet earth. Success
in careers, professions and business are expressions of bodybrainminds
that receive valid information and work well most of the time. Bodymindbrains
that do not work well do not succeed. The development of knowledge, free of
delusions, anger and blame are required before solutions for perennial human
problems can become stable and enduring.
Parents receive a lot of advice from many people. Popular magazines and books
offer a continuous stream of conflicting advice. Professionals have a variety of
opinions about child-rearing that range from helpful suggestions to misleading
and even bizarre ideas. Child psychology is an eclectic assembly of ideas,
miscellaneous observations, opinions, fears and irrational beliefs. Confusion
prevails in education about what children should learn and how they should learn
If psychologists, physicians, and educators are confused, what about parents?
The best parents are pragmatic and not theorists. They stay involved with their
children, follow some basic guidelines they learned and tend to do whatever
works. Good parents improvise childcare with a combination of innate generosity,
common sense, love and concessions to the demands of modern life.
In this book, I develop a perspective based on
understanding human nature. The deep lineage for every human is lies in the
interaction of many layers of biological determinants. The culture of parents,
schools and community impose a second lineage on a child that sets limits on the
form and content of learning. A family is any combination of adults and children
that creates a stable home. The essence of family is caring and nurturing. We
are social creatures. Children are innately social, but need to learn what we
are doing these days. The learning requirement is greater than ever before,
because we now depend on complicated technologies and must learn to interact
with a great number of other humans who will be different from us in many ways.
To include more humans in the family of man as constructive peaceful
contributors, each child must receive loving care, the right food, sophisticated
education, opportunities for employment and the freedom to express his or her
version of humanity. Thoughtful, well-educated and affluent parents have the
opportunity to understand their responsibilities, to plan and allocate resources
for an unborn child. A good parent faces a continuous series of challenges and
problems that need solutions. Parenting is not an easy job. A realistic
understanding of human nature will help parents to guide their children toward a
successful adult life.
Stephen Gislason M.D.