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luka
02-09-2016, 08:14 PM
I wouldnt trust someone that wasn't at all angry but the older you get the more you want to like, get over it right?

john eden
02-09-2016, 08:19 PM
Hardly at all because they did their best to overcome the shit they inherited from their parents/upbringing.

I don't like playing the ooh I'm a Dad card, but you see your parents in a completely new light when you are one.

That said, we're not close...

luka
02-09-2016, 09:11 PM
They do do their best and they generally have harsher weirder 'shit' to overcome but knowing and appreciating that isn't enough, by itself, to completely forgive them

luka
02-09-2016, 09:14 PM
Because these are all wounds that date back to when you were at your most vulnerable. For me taking loads of acid and mushrooms in late teens early twenties really helped. Even just first of all to clock on to and acknowledge how furious I was. It's not usually at the forefront of yer consciousness after alll

john eden
02-09-2016, 11:31 PM
They do do their best and they generally have harsher weirder 'shit' to overcome but knowing and appreciating that isn't enough, by itself, to completely forgive them

Well I don't know. I have more pressing things to think about ;-)

droid
02-09-2016, 11:52 PM
Not at all angry you freak.

luka
03-09-2016, 08:23 AM
Lol you're angry at everyone droid

luka
03-09-2016, 08:27 AM
Two tantrums away from being a padraig... Can't imagine your parents are exempt from that

john eden
03-09-2016, 12:53 PM
Droid isn't angry, just impassioned about injustice.

luka
03-09-2016, 01:12 PM
thats a nice way to put it john. youre a born diplomat.

luka
03-09-2016, 01:23 PM
i do realise that often its more a curious form of tone deafness than actual anger thats why i dont get wound up any more.

sufi
03-09-2016, 05:45 PM
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/commentisfree/2016/aug/23/experience-my-attempt-to-go-21-days-without-a-whinge-took-me-six-months
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-ferriss/no-complaint-experiment_b_5610433.html

The rules are ostensibly simple: put an elastic band on one wrist. Every time you complain, switch it over to the other wrist. Repeat, until the band has remained on one wrist for three weeks.
i really like the sound of that. I like to think I already try my best not to tell lies though not to the "Radical honesty" extent. and though i am maybe already quite over-mindful, i like the idea of projecting positivity this way...

luka
03-09-2016, 06:09 PM
Looks like repression soof

baboon2004
03-09-2016, 06:20 PM
an alarmingly well-timed thread (in my world at least). Liking the title too - beats Oliver James' Larkin steal hands down.

people who aren't angry with their parents are either
- in the lucky 10% whose parents were actually good enough, and who ensured that no topic was off limits for discussion (the most important thing of all, imo - everyone fucks up, admitting to it is the thing)
- psychopathically in denial.

baboon2004
03-09-2016, 06:22 PM
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/commentisfree/2016/aug/23/experience-my-attempt-to-go-21-days-without-a-whinge-took-me-six-months
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-ferriss/no-complaint-experiment_b_5610433.html

i really like the sound of that. I like to think I already try my best not to tell lies though not to the "Radical honesty" extent. and though i am maybe already quite over-mindful, i like the idea of projecting positivity this way...

the murder rate would go through the roof if everyone did this

john eden
03-09-2016, 06:29 PM
an alarmingly well-timed thread (in my world at least). Liking the title too - beats Oliver James' Larkin steal hands down.

people who aren't angry with their parents are either
- in the lucky 10% whose parents were actually good enough, and who ensured that no topic was off limits for discussion (the most important thing of all, imo - everyone fucks up, admitting to it is the thing)
- psychopathically in denial.

I'm gonna be 50 in a few years. The only excuse for being angry with your parents at my age is if they actually abused you.

baboon2004
03-09-2016, 06:35 PM
I think that bringing to consciousness one's anger against one's parents is positive rather than negative in a society that is so repressed (especially when it comes to family), whenever that occurs in life - but equally there's a massive difference between being angry and being consumed by anger, so I take your point.

My take on it is that abuse takes many, many forms, and i think that's a big problem - many people don't recognise the abuse that was visited upon them AS abuse initially, because it doesn't fit the classic abuse narrative. And that can be extremely difficult to untangle.

luka
03-09-2016, 06:43 PM
And you don't get to choose whether you're angry. It's either there, pent up and acidic, or its not. You can't think or moralise your way out of it.

baboon2004
03-09-2016, 06:55 PM
Totally. Difference between working through something intellectually and working through something emotionally is...well, they're two entirely different things.

john eden
03-09-2016, 09:02 PM
Well maybe I have worked it all through, or maybe I am repressed.

Or maybe something in the middle.

Either way it feels like I have a reasonably healthy relationship with my parents, which wasn't always the case.

I completely accept that this won't be the case for everyone.

CrowleyHead
04-09-2016, 04:40 PM
Not for nothing, the contents of this thread are better than the title initially had me expecting.

All I'm disclosing is I'm in my late 20s so take from that what you will |0|

droid
04-09-2016, 10:39 PM
Anyone still angry at their parents after 30 without good reason is trapped in adolescent thought patterns.

The cure is to have children, you then start wondering if your parents are still angry at you.

droid
04-09-2016, 10:40 PM
If you cant or dont want to have kids, watching a few close friends/family die should also do the trick.

droid
04-09-2016, 10:42 PM
This is such a middle class thread.

baboon2004
04-09-2016, 10:46 PM
?

can't tell if you're taking the piss or being serious. I have to presume it's the former.

droid
04-09-2016, 11:16 PM
I am serious. Unless youve been the victim of actual abuse of some kind then the assumption that everyone must automatically be angry at their parents... Its just asnine.

baboon2004
04-09-2016, 11:48 PM
Christ, you are serious.

1/ Don't call other people 'asinine', especially on such subjects as this. It makes you look like a conceited twat, especially when you're obviously devoted so little thought to this issue.

2/ No-one was talking about being 'automatically' angry with parents, whatever that word could mean in this context. Rather, that a lot of parents aren't good enough.

3/ You seem to be defining when it is 'appropriate' feel angry by employing very vague terms - 'without good reason', 'victim of actual abuse of some kind'. If someone feels angry at their parents, then you should believe that they have good reason to be. Emotions are not a choice. What to do with them, is.

4/ As for 'the cure is to have children' - not if you're going to deny your own feelings/pretend they're not appropriate and suppress them because, believe me, you will pass it on to your own children if you do that. And that constitutes abusive behaviour in many cases.

5/ "If you cant or dont want to have kids, watching a few close friends/family die should also do the trick." Cos no-one who's angry at their parents has ever also seen people die, right? This is, again, a stupid comment.

6/ I'm outta here. Well done for your extraordinary empathy-free contribution to this thread.

droid
04-09-2016, 11:55 PM
Yeah, certainly a lot of anger there.

baboon2004
04-09-2016, 11:58 PM
Are you really that much of an arsehole, or just too cowardly to admit that your comments were ill-judged?

droid
05-09-2016, 12:08 AM
Not really sure how to engage with such a remarkable level of self serving distortion and furious misreading.

I didnt call anyone asnine, I said the assumption that everyone must be angry at their parents was asnine, the assumption that is written into the very thread title and an assumption that you have repeated in the starkest terms. Apparently anyone who doesnt feel this way is a psychopath or 'repressed' in some way. You literally said:


people who aren't angry with their parents are either... psychopathically in denial

Im not defining the criteria for 'anger'. The thread doesnt ask 'do you feel angry', it asks 'how angry are you?' and Im suggesting that a bit of perspective does wonders for the 'normal' (again defined in the context that it is abnormal NOT to be angry) levels of resentment and anger in the parent/child relationship.

baboon2004
05-09-2016, 12:16 AM
Engage by employing a bit of reading comprehension (maybe reading between the lines) and a bit of empathy. Rather than relentlessly trying to win the argument like some kind of robot.

I am definitely out of here.

luka
05-09-2016, 08:33 AM
Most angry man on dissensus gets really angry explaining how he's not angry, ever, with anyone and least of all with his dear sainted parents.

john eden
05-09-2016, 09:28 AM
It is undeniable that a lot of people feel more empathy for their parents as they get older though. And that a large number of the ones that don't are filled with regret after their parents die.

I'm not telling anyone how they should feel, but Droid is right that the framing of this thread is unhelpful. It simply isn't the case that feeling angry with your parents is a natural thing. Are we really saying that this is something that the majority of people have felt, across time and across different human cultures?

Mr. Tea
05-09-2016, 09:31 AM
the murder rate would go through the roof if everyone did this

But perhaps the resulting purge in annoying people would have the effect of cleansing and rejuvenating our ailing society.

luka
05-09-2016, 09:32 AM
Don't worry John. If you don't have any problems why think about it? Same with droid. Why the need to keep picking at the scab. Lots of other threads to engage with.

Mr. Tea
05-09-2016, 09:32 AM
I am serious. Unless youve been the victim of actual abuse of some kind then the assumption that everyone must automatically be angry at their parents... Its just asnine.

Right. But why is that an exclusively "middle-class" thing?

john eden
05-09-2016, 09:34 AM
I think people are avoiding mentioning why they are personally angry with their parents, which is completely understandable and I wouldn't really want to get into that here. But it does make for a bit of an abstract conversation.

Would it be more useful to broaden the discussion out into what parenting is, or could be?

My parents were quite strict and uptight and I think I have warmed to them more as I have got to know them better as people (rather than someone trapped in a role) and they have relaxed a bit and been able to say that being a parent was quite hard and that they made mistakes etc.

I think this is one of the problems at the heart of the nuclear family, but I am by no means advocating some hippy shit in the here and now as an alternative as people I know brought up in situations like that seem even more screwed up.

luka
05-09-2016, 09:34 AM
There's a defensiveness there that some people might be inclined to like, read stuff into, lol

john eden
05-09-2016, 09:37 AM
Don't worry John. If you don't have any problems why think about it? Same with droid. Why the need to keep picking at the scab. Lots of other threads to engage with.

I'm not saying I don't have any problems, LOL.

Were you just hoping for a bunch of replies where people simply rated their anger at their parents out of 10 and said nothing else?

john eden
05-09-2016, 09:37 AM
There's a defensiveness there that some people might be inclined to like, read stuff into, lol

There is defensiveness on both sides, which is why it is so compelling.

Lichen
05-09-2016, 10:01 AM
Not as angry as I am with my children.

Mr. Tea
05-09-2016, 10:05 AM
Most angry man on dissensus gets really angry explaining how he's not angry, ever, with anyone and least of all with his dear sainted parents.

I think it must be an Irish thing. Like, dissing your ma and da is the next worst thing to stealing a crucifix from the sacristy and chucking it in a Portaloo.

droid
05-09-2016, 10:07 AM
Most angry man on dissensus gets really angry explaining how he's not angry, ever, with anyone and least of all with his dear sainted parents.

lol. Typical Luka. Frame an ambiguous assertion, get defensive when it's basic faults are pointed out and then strawman a bit to try and stir up more shit to cover up his folly.

droid
05-09-2016, 10:08 AM
Engage by employing a bit of reading comprehension (maybe reading between the lines) and a bit of empathy. Rather than relentlessly trying to win the argument like some kind of robot.

I am definitely out of here.

Try, NOT reading between the lines and actually read what was written rather than becoming furiously offended for no apparent reason.

droid
05-09-2016, 10:12 AM
I think it must be an Irish thing. Like, dissing your ma and da is the next worst thing to stealing a crucifix from the sacristy and chucking it in a Portaloo.

I have two children. It throws parenting into a completely different light. Without that experience you are only getting half of the story and it makes it far easier to forgive all those petty 'normal' resentments and grudges that build up over adolescence.

Thats not to say that there aren't plenty of valid reasons to be angry at your parents ranging from low level emotional distance, lack of attention etc to outright neglect, bullying and abuse - but that's not what this thread is about is it? Its about the normality of middle aged men still being angry at parents

droid
05-09-2016, 10:14 AM
Why the need to keep picking at the scab.

lol. Freudian bit of self-awareness there.

sadmanbarty
05-09-2016, 11:11 AM
I had some fairly dark things happen involving my parents when I was very young and as I got older there were still some unpleasant things going on, but these were for the most part isolated, self contained events. In terms of my everyday interactions with them our relationship couldn't be better. I'm not aware of anyone with anywhere near the same degree of closeness as we have. I can't say I'm angry with them.

I could imagine that if it was the other way round (nothing terrible happened, but we just didn't get along) I would be angry with them. I've seen that in other people.

martin
05-09-2016, 11:27 AM
Disagree with Baboon's '10%' (yeah, I know it's not a literal stat) - I come from what you might call a dysfunctional family but I've found my experience to be very much in the minority. Most people I've met seem to be pretty cordial with their parents.

Three days before I left home, I remember squaring up to my dad with a hoover and attempting to smack him over the head with it, while he lunged at me with a knife. I don't feel any anger now - I'm wondering what the hell it was about. Possibly me making a cup of tea and not offering him one. Still, I've no doubt he'd have driven me to hospital and been quite remorseful if he'd actually stuck me.

Anger at your parents and their weird immigrant ways tends to dissipate when you leave home and meet the next round of genuine cunts - bank managers, landlords, petty bureaucrats, bad bosses, etc.

droid
05-09-2016, 11:27 AM
Parenting is really, really difficult, and I think most serious damage (outside abuse etc) can be to do with attachment, which happens during the earliest phases of childhood - often when parents are least able to cope with children - especially with the first child.

droid
05-09-2016, 11:29 AM
Possibly me making a cup of tea and not offering him one.

Still a cardinal crime here. People have had to emigrate after doing this.

droid
05-09-2016, 12:00 PM
I had a close friend who worked in social care homes for kids and adolescents with severe behavioural problems and he had some incredibly tragic stories to tell.

He was properly liberal, but one thing we disagreed on was his firm opinion that forced sterilisation should be an option in abuse cases - though I could see where he was coming from.

Mr. Tea
05-09-2016, 12:17 PM
My parents are great but they not infrequently do my head in. Mostly it's directly or indirectly to do with offering unsolicited life advice. They're just unable to understand that 2016 is not 1976 or 1986 or even 1996. They also have very fixed ideas about the things they like and don't like but at the same time consider me to be a terrible snob and elitist.

My girlfriend is frequently very legitimately angry with her mum, who can be incredibly emotionally abusive and has finessed the art of passive aggression to a level of zen-like perfection.

Agreed with droid about the cup of tea thing. Martin, I hope you're thoroughly ashamed of yourself and have sought absolution for your dreadful sin.



He was properly liberal, but one thing we disagreed on was his firm opinion that forced sterilisation should be an option in abuse cases - though I could see where he was coming from.

Do you mean sterilization of abusive parents to stop them having any more kids, or of the abused kids so they don't then have kids of their own they'll most likely be unable to cope with and perhaps abuse in turn?

droid
05-09-2016, 12:23 PM
Do you mean sterilization of abusive parents to stop them having any more kids, or of the abused kids so they don't then have kids of their own they'll most likely be unable to cope with and perhaps abuse in turn?

The former. it was in relation to a particular case where 6 children from the same family had gone into care one after another.

I like the sound of your parents. I think I should compare notes with them, get to the root of your snobby elitism.

Mr. Tea
05-09-2016, 12:32 PM
The former. it was in relation to a particular case where 6 children from the same family had gone into care one after another.

Ugh, christ. I can certainly see where your mate was coming from in cases like that.


I like the sound of your parents. I think I should compare notes with them, get to the root of your snobby elitism.

If anyone here should meet them, it's Luke. He's got this idea that I'm the latter-day, secular St. George of middlebrow England, but I can't really think of the last book or story I've read that my parents, especially my mum, wouldn't dismiss as 'weird', 'horrible' or both. She likes nice things. Actually I read Under Milk Wood recently, she might like that. Maybe I'll lend her my copy next time I see them.

rubberdingyrapids
05-09-2016, 01:13 PM
i still have some anger.
always amazed at those who dont.
but then many arent even aware of it.
or they think complaining about your parents is selfish, narcissistic, spoilt, and contemptuous (so id advise to only do it on forums like this, when you know you are in safe company, lol).
but you cant really change anything without self awareness.

i dont hate my parents for certain things they did that i wish they didnt. its not their fault. most people just do as was done to them, with a few shifts, depending on how terrible their parents were or werent. so theyre no different in that respect. i wouldnt say we are close, i dont talk to them about much personal, but that doesnt mean they dont care, its more of a practical relationship. but if i have kids, id like to make sure there is more to our relationship than that (if i have a son, in particular, i will work to make sure it is quite different). but like martin, my parents came from another era, another country, another culture (though in fairness, ive met english people whose parents did some fairly similar stuff so I guess questionable parenting is something that knows no borders). I cant say they didnt work around the clock to support us so i feel its only right to do the same now they are getting older.

doesnt mean i cant get pissed off about the past though.

baboon2004
06-09-2016, 11:42 PM
Try, NOT reading between the lines and actually read what was written rather than becoming furiously offended for no apparent reason.

lol I did read what was written, again! I haven't changed my opinion much, though I am considerably less angered now.

I do understand that you found it perplexing why I became so angry - simply as you don't know anything about me - but surely you can understand that this is a very emotive topic, in which a careless statement, even if not badly intended, can be very triggering.

And I find "Anyone still angry at their parents after 30 without good reason is trapped in adolescent thought patterns" to be careless. What's the point of repeating the default normative opinion in this society regarding parent-child relationships, that it is 'adolescent' (an ironic word to use, in that children and adolescents tend to be more truthful than adults in baring their true feelings, in my experience at least) to be angry unless something that we can all agree is terrible has happened to you?

If someone is angry with a member of their family, then you should respect that they have a good reason to be. It isn't a lifestyle choice. And that in many cases, it takes a good deal longer than the arbitrary age of 30 to sort things out.

I guess I was also surprised because the ideas you express on so many other threads are very well thought through, and depart from 'conventional wisdom' (quite rightly, because most conventional wisdom is bollocks). But in this case you've given an opinion which to my mind seems aggressively normative. Maybe - probably! - you disagree with that characterisation.


PS I never said that "anyone who doesnt feel this way (angry at their parents) is a psychopath or 'repressed' in some way". I just said 90% ;) . Either way, I'm not sure I understand what your investment is in railing against this point of view, or in establishing what is 'normal' for people to feel.

baboon2004
06-09-2016, 11:45 PM
Parenting is really, really difficult, and I think most serious damage (outside abuse etc) can be to do with attachment, which happens during the earliest phases of childhood - often when parents are least able to cope with children - especially with the first child.

very true. disorganised attachment is particularly complex and head-fucking

baboon2004
06-09-2016, 11:54 PM
Disagree with Baboon's '10%' (yeah, I know it's not a literal stat) - I come from what you might call a dysfunctional family but I've found my experience to be very much in the minority. Most people I've met seem to be pretty cordial with their parents.


Yeah, definitely the 10% was for rhetorical purposes! But I have to say that so many people I know have had dysfunction of some kind in their families, even if their relationship with their parents seems broadly functional/'normal' in some ways. Hidden dysfunction, I suppose, which is how I'd characterise my own family

Corpsey
07-09-2016, 09:41 AM
I was in therapy for about two years, so I had plenty of opportunities to scrutinise and criticise my parents, albeit always with the knowledge that they are two of the most self-sacrificing, understanding and kind people I've ever known. They're better people than me, to be honest. What they arguably did 'wrong' in my case was being TOO nice to me. I believe my personality to have been stunted by a safety net: I'm conflict adverse, risk adverse, looking-after-my-own-money adverse, etc. I couldn't do any of the bogstandard household chores by the time I went to University, and can just about do three or four now.

Other than that, I am a tremendously angry person, which I take to be a genetic (or imitative) inheritance from my dad.

Anyway, in summary I've not much to complain about with my parents, and a great deal to be thankful for. As much as I love Larkin's 'This Be the Verse', I think it only tells half the story (although perhaps not in his case, given that his dad was an actual Nazi!).

Mr. Tea
07-09-2016, 12:12 PM
Sorry, I guess this kind of a serious thread, but Corpsey's last line reminds me of the superb Mel Brooks joke:

"My father was an unorthodox Jew - he was a Nazi."

john eden
07-09-2016, 01:14 PM
PS I never said that "anyone who doesnt feel this way (angry at their parents) is a psychopath or 'repressed' in some way". I just said 90% ;) . Either way, I'm not sure I understand what your investment is in railing against this point of view, or in establishing what is 'normal' for people to feel.

I think Droid has expressed similar things to me, but more stridently. In my experience it is entirely normal for people to be angry with their parents. Especially if you lurk about counter-culture scenes, where it is positively a badge of pride to be estranged from them (or perhaps never to mention them so as to shield your middle class upbringing).

But yes I accept that there is a broader culture of everyone getting on terrifically well as a family except for some hilarious minor differences over something inconsequential. I think that should be challenged.

Where I disagree with both you and Droid is that it is more complicated than you are both suggesting. And also I think the polarity of both your positions is unhelpful:

This:


people who aren't angry with their parents are either
- in the lucky 10% whose parents were actually good enough, and who ensured that no topic was off limits for discussion (the most important thing of all, imo - everyone fucks up, admitting to it is the thing)
- psychopathically in denial.

Might have seemed like hilarious polemic at the time but it is actually invalidating my feelings. It is telling me that I am psychopathically in denial because my parents didn't live up to some standard of perfection you have just pulled out of your arse. And that's OK I don't really mind, especially as it's obviously a difficult topic for you. But denying the validity of someone's feelings is exactly what you are accusing Droid of doing when he says this:


Anyone still angry at their parents after 30 without good reason is trapped in adolescent thought patterns.

Although I think more could be read into the "without good reason" than perhaps you are allowing?

Mr. Tea
07-09-2016, 01:32 PM
Well something that is subjectively a "good reason" to one person might sound utterly trivial and ridiculous to someone else. Some people are reconciled with their parents despite a childhood characterized by what many would regard as abuse or neglect, while others never quite forgive theirs for not buying them the pony they so badly wanted for their tenth birthday.

CrowleyHead
08-09-2016, 07:25 PM
I do love that after I said the thread went positive, we went sooooo far south.

baboon2004
10-09-2016, 07:00 PM
I think Droid has expressed similar things to me, but more stridently. In my experience it is entirely normal for people to be angry with their parents. Especially if you lurk about counter-culture scenes, where it is positively a badge of pride to be estranged from them (or perhaps never to mention them so as to shield your middle class upbringing).

But yes I accept that there is a broader culture of everyone getting on terrifically well as a family except for some hilarious minor differences over something inconsequential. I think that should be challenged.

Where I disagree with both you and Droid is that it is more complicated than you are both suggesting. And also I think the polarity of both your positions is unhelpful:

This:

Might have seemed like hilarious polemic at the time but it is actually invalidating my feelings. It is telling me that I am psychopathically in denial because my parents didn't live up to some standard of perfection you have just pulled out of your arse. And that's OK I don't really mind, especially as it's obviously a difficult topic for you. But denying the validity of someone's feelings is exactly what you are accusing Droid of doing when he says this:


Good post. I see and accept your point about my original polemic being unhelpful and insensitive. Everyone has the right to feel exactly as they feel without having the validity of those feelings challenged (especially on such a personal topic), which is why any attempt at generalising on this type of topic is likely badly conceived, unless it's very tentative.

To be clear, I was never under the illusion that parents should be striving for any kind of perfection - rather, I generally subscribe to the idea of the 'good enough parent', not the perfect parent. Parenting is obviously an extremely difficult thing, and it's impossible for any parent to avoid making mistakes. Yet, talking just from my own experience, I have met an awful lot of people who have suffered/do suffer a lot because of the inability of their parents to fulfil some basic need. From my observation, what has often compounded this hurt is that the subject in question is deemed beyond the realms of discussion. And that has been my experience of my own parents.

I couldn't agree more with your comment about the nature of a broader culture/discourse around the family that needs to be challenged. I have always felt that to be the dominant discourse in my own experience, and I have often known and met people who can express anger against all kinds of people, but find it difficult to criticise their parents even while relating tales that suggest discord (needless to say there's an enormous amount of variation there - eg that one parent gets all the flak, while the other is preserved as pretty saintly. Splitting is pretty common ime). As rubberdingyrapids rightly said upthread, too often "complaining about your parents is (seen as) selfish, narcissistic, spoilt, and contemptuous".

As to the countercultural scenes you talked about, do you feel that the 'badge of pride' in feeling anger towards parents is often a reaction against perceived 'normal' values?

One more point - I take it as given that anger towards someone can coexist with many other feelings towards that person. I think that, particularly with parents, it can be difficult to reconcile a lot of competing and often contradictory feelings, and that one's attitude towards them may not be stable.

john eden
12-09-2016, 12:54 PM
Likewise, Baboon - that is also a good post.

Perhaps perfection is the wrong word but I think we can agree you were setting standards for parenting which obviously not everyone will live up to. And to be frank, how could they? It's not like there is an exam or mandatory training or anything -and I can't conceive of a situation where that happened which wouldn't be horribly coercive and dominated by state/religious ideology, which would probably make things worse.

Similarly there are clearly issues with the nuclear family or single parenting, but all the alternatives on offer right now seem even worse than them.

One thing that might help is escaping from the dominant culture of presuming that parenting is lovely and families are all lovely except the obvious exceptions which serve as scapegoats. There is so much denial about this even between parents - get a load of new mums in the room and they will coo and say how wonderful it is, but get them on their own and they will breakdown and admit that it's quite bleak at times - all the more for not being able to admit it in case people see you as a bad mum.

And yeah - the countercultural stuff is a reaction against perceived normal values. But I think it can be exaggerated for effect sometimes, not always of course - for example there were a lot of people in the 80s who ran away to squat in London because their family was so shit.

baboon2004
12-09-2016, 04:07 PM
Definitely, any training for parenting would likely backfire under the prevailing ideological consensus (G4S would no doubt end up getting the contract). But it's sad that this is the case, in a world where training for most everything else is considered necessary, yet the idea still persists that parenting is somehow easy to get right if you just stumble through it.

And from there, I think you're absolutely correct that there is a lot of denial about how hard parenting actually is, and that this denial can be really corrosive, causing many parents to present a false self to the world - which can only end up making things harder, for both parent and child.

I think the idea of the 'good enough' parent is such a useful one, taking that phrase from Winnicott's psychotherapy writings (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/headshrinkers-guide-the-galaxy/201205/in-search-the-good-enough-mother this isn't a bad article). As said above, the one thing that I feel isn't mentioned nearly enough is the importance of a parent being willing to discuss any issues with the child, not putting subjects off-limits. I feel that even bad parenting mistakes can be rescued if the parent is willing to reflect on them with the child and to say 'what you're saying happened really did happen, you're not mad', even if total agreement is impossible to reach.

In terms of the nuclear family, one thing that I've always felt was important was for parents to set up their social network (ugh, that phrase really has been ruined...) such that their children have sources of support from other adults. Kind of a more targeted role for the 'godparent' tradition. Even when things are going well, nuclear families can be suffocating, and broader community can provide some oxygen.