Avoiding The Illness Trap..

How can we avoid children growing up seeking safety and status in illness and a hiding place from criticism?  We are living with an additional obstacle to getting well, and it is epidemic.

We prioritise people (particularly children) when they are ill or grieving.  It’s right that we should.  However, we should be aware that people can fail to feel important and acknowledged when they are well, and this can lead to a learned trap.

As children, we are most vulnerable to learning to feel important mainly when ill. Our culture can be pretty harsh and intolerant to children.  We see the things children suffer over as petty, although the suffering is all too real.
Convention means we suspend harsh treatment & offer more love during times of suffering, but this can become a trap. Our best times can be times of illness if our needs & feelings are not acknowledged as children until we are ill and ‘special’.  
If you had a ‘good’ childhood, you can still absorb this idea or gut feeling.  As children, we are less able to decide what to make of our experiences.
I have a personal understanding of this & I’ve had to battle with this trap.
Protecting yourself from criticism or making yourself feel loved and important by subconsciously (or consciously) recovering more slowly from or holding onto illness or grief can be a very life-limiting & painful position to be trapped in.

We need to show love and acknowledge our kids’ feelings when they are not ill, deliberately and purposefully … because it can be a far LESS obvious time to do so.
Why stop with children?  Inside of all adults is a child that was told to stop crying or ‘making a fuss’.

The best way to help someone feel loved and valued and to help them heal from this trap is to acknowledge their feelings without measuring the validity of those feelings by our own judgment system.If you are looking for support with how to begin to do this as a parent, Pam Leo wrote a wonderful book called Connection Parenting.  <3

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