5 sad conclusions of children with angry parents

I’ve been quiet this week.  Mostly because I had a rough time emotionally.  What does one write about when overwhelmed with sadness about the emotional pain some children endure in their families?  Nothing, it seems. 
In my work as a psychologist, I work with children.  I get to spend an incredibly vulnerable and fragile hour with children while they play out their little hearts in my playroom.
Incredible how perceptive children are about what is really going on in their family.  If only parents could grasp how their marriage relationship affects their children.  Or, how their tone can tell children something they didn’t intend. 
These are some of the things I’ve heard from my little clients from “normal” families:
  1. I’m scared my parents find another kid and they don’t want me anymore;
  2. My dad doesn’t like me.  He is going to sell me to the Arabs;
  3. My mom wants to break up with my dad and marry Edward (Cullen from Twilight).  But she doesn’t realise he’s not a real person;
  4. I want to say to my father he must leave my mom alone.  He must give her the money for petrol she asks for;
  5. My dad is going to die because he doesn’t drink enough water.
I want to emphasise that these are relatively “normal” families.  Nothing abusive going on.  The only thing that I can see in these families are that the parents fight in front of the children.  The fathers show inappropriate anger towards the children and/or their mothers. 
And these are the conclusions children arrive at:  I’m not loved.  My mother is not loved.  I’m not worthy of love. 
How sad is that.   

How does this post make you feel? 


Lee said...

I must try harder.

Teachermum said...

Phew...I'm not quite sure what I think of this post. It is quite heavy, especially because you say the comments come from normal families, or I suppose, what we perceive to be normal.
Anxiety is such a massive problem among children today...and these comments probably show where a lot of it all begins.
Thanks for the informative post. I think it is essential to gain insight into the way children think, so I am now a keen subscriber.
Keep them coming.

I'm Jess said...

I'm so happy you found me because your blog is filled with so much wisdom I can't stop reading it. I was so excited to discover you are Christian too!

Amanda said...

Jess with the elegant blog ;-)
Thank you for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed to see your comment that among a child's fears is that she/he may be "sold to the Arabs." I doubt that you would find it appropriate to include other comments young children have made about perhaps, "Negroes" or another specific ethnicity in a negative context. This is not exemplary of either a professional or a true Christian.

Amanda van der Westhuizen said...


Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry you felt the sting of prejudice.

I have to make it clear that this is something someone else said to A CHILD, who told me while in tears! I would love to hear your comment on a child being told she is going to be sold off?

I am also doing a doctorate on human trafficking, and surely you are aware that children are being sold in and to every nation on earth - which includes in Middle Eastern countries.

Can you suggest how I should have worded this child's pain as to not offend you?

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