Chapter 22 » 22.65

Parents and children

The needs of children

Difficult and painful divorces; an alcoholic parent; the death of a small child or of a parent – how do children cope with these situations? Adults who find them difficult believe that children need to be protected from them. Are children indeed more robust than we think? Perhaps children are enabled to cope when they see that adults are coping.

But other ‘difficult questions’ will face children and us parents. How can we prepare children to withstand the drug abuse culture? To resist inappropriate touching and sexual abuse? Children need to be lovingly warned at an early age about possible dangers without filling them with fears about the future.

Perhaps more importantly, is there a Quakerly way of coping with the strong feelings of anger and guilt that can be aroused by family relationships, particularly when they are going wrong? Just being able to admit to having angry feelings can be strengthening. Is there a Quakerly way of discussing difficult issues within the family and of reaching decisions, perhaps in a ‘family meeting’ set in the context of worship? The family is a system in which each member needs to be allowed to assert her or his needs and have them met in the loving interaction of family life.

Douglas and Jenny Butterfield, 1986

← 22.64 22.66 →