Core Belief:No.1- "I Am Abandoned"
“Today’s adolescents have suffered the loss of safe, intimate relationships"
‘No society that alienates its youth and sets them adrift can continue to exist, for it is already in a state of collapse’. William Mahedy & Janet Bernardi – ‘A Generation Alone’
“Today’s adolescents have suffered the loss of safe relationships and intimate settings that served as the primary nurturing community for those travelling the path from child to adult. The most obvious example of this is in the family. The loss of meaningful relationships with adults has been the most devastating to developing adolescents. Because they have not had enough life experience to understand fully the accompanying sense of loneliness and isolation they feel, few can articulate their experience as ‘loss’.
The greater the self-absorption of the parents with their own problems and struggles the less aware they are of their children’s social and development needs.
When there is conflict in a family system, parents are more likely to rely on limited... perception of their child’s maturity, which in turn leads parents to rely on their adolescent children for guidance and support.
Research has consistently shown that parental conflict forces children to sacrifice their own developmental needs – needs that they are ill-equipped to meet. In fact they are often pushed into talking mediating roles when things get tough.
Young children are even forced to take sides in parental conflict or to offer advice to a struggling parent. This abdication of parental responsibility has devastating consequences for children who must prematurely look after their own needs. Today’s adolescents have indeed been abandoned. Chap Clark – ‘Hurt’ – Baker Academic-2006.
My thoughts on this is that this is not solely an X-generation problem, but a problem handed down since the beginning of the ‘Industrial Age’ when husbands first moved away from the family to find work in mining and factories, often being away for months or even years, sometimes never returning.
Wars have also precipitated this feeling of ‘abandonment’ in which millions of men were killed, leaving their children behind with the mother struggling to support the family on her own or placed in orphanages or children’s homes growing up parentless.
Women’s liberation and the rise in divorce cemented this insidious feeling of abandonment, as millions of women took on permanent work outside the home, leaving their children to become ‘latch-key kids', left to fend for themselves whilst both or one parent was working. As one of these women, a child of the 60’s and divorcing my own husband, I recognise this as being a contributing factor in my own children’s issues, for which I feel deep regret.
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