Sunday, December 30, 2012

Of Children and Parents

A couple of more paragraphs from ``Mating in Captivity'':

... Children are indeed a source of nurturance for adults. Their unconditional love and utter devotion infuse our lives with a heightened sense of meaning. The problem arises when we turn to them for what we no longer get from each other: a sense that we're special, that we matter, that we're not alone. When we transfer these adult emotional needs onto our children, we are placing too big a burden on them. In order to feel safe, kids need to know that there are limits to their power, and to what is surreptitiously asked of them. They need us to have our own loving relationships, in whatever form they take. When we are emotionally and sexually satisfied (at least reasonably so; let's not get carried away here), we allow our children to experience their own independence with freedom and support. ---p. 142
Another patient, Charlene, is being tutored by her children. ``My kids have taught me how to be greedy. My fifteen-month-old can suck on me for half and hour, walk off to play, and be back for more within minutes. He shakes his head no when I offer him milk in a cup or bottle, pulls up my shirt, and squeal until I unsnap my bra for him. When he sees my nipple he smiles, coos, and dives in. The three-year-old wants my lap, my time, my attention as often as he can steal it from his brother. He will tell me how to position my body on the floor, exactly how I should push the truck, and feels no guilt or shame in declaring which parent he wants to play with or put him to bed. Of course they don't get what they want, but I am impressed by their fluid transmission of desire between body and mind. They let themselves feel in a way I'd forgotten, or beeb trained away from; and watching them makes me more aware of my own body and reminds me of my own desire.'' --- p.146, Mating in Captivity

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