Monday, January 25, 2010

Protection Racket

One of the primary functions of a parent is to protect their offspring from all of the dangers and misfortunes that life presents, at least until they are capable of protecting themselves. The primary battle between parents and children occur when the parents attempt to protect their children from events that the children no longer need protecting - or believe that they no longer need.

As children, we need to know that our parents are there to protect us, even when we don't feel that we need it. We get the nerve to try new things, to go to new places, and expand our horizons because (partially - I'm aware of natural inclinations) of our comfort in our parents' ability to protect.

As an adult, I don't need my father's protection anymore, but I'm glad that it's there on the rare occasions that I ask for it.

I know and understand that the protection is helping children recover from a fall instead of preventing the fall. That's not really the point I'm arguing. Then again, it might be.

We have already shattered the image of protection for The Boy. We can't protect him from being sick, as we have frequently given him chemicals that make him feel terrible. We can't protect him from the scary doctors and scarier machines; instead, we hold him down while they do scary things to him. We can't protect him from going to the hospital when he clearly wants to go home. We can't protect him from pain, as we inject him with needles on a nightly basis.

That's a harsh lesson for a 10-month old to have learned, and it isn't easier now that he's two and a half.

I think the ultimate lesson is a stronger one that traditional protections. I think he knows that we're there for him during difficult times, that he knows that, when he feels pain, fear, or illness, we are there for hugs, snuggles, and cleanup. He knows that he won't be left alone at night in a scary place. He knows that daily life is a struggle and frequently filled with difficult times and pain and discomfort, but We will all be there for him. That's a harsh lesson to learn at such a young age.

Ultimately, I think it'll serve him better than most kids, and it'll hopefully let us have acloser relationship and stave off a few battles later on in life. But, dammit, I didn't want this to become an early turn in the course of his life.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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