Procrastination

I found this great article which was written by Adam Prince Ph. D and was published in the Psychology Today. In this article you can find some explanations and suggetions how to deal with procrastination with your teen child or children. Can be very useful and more effective than entreaty or quarrelling.

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Source: leaderonomics.com

“Procrastination offers the illusion of freedom. It tricks us into believing we have countless hours, only to rob us of them (Edward Young). It seduces us with the promise of carefree play, but only offers what Tim Urban calls “The Dark Playground.” This playground has the same fun activities as a real playground, but since you shouldn’t be there, the experience is fraught with guilt and worry.

The procrastinator has a false sense of security. He feels optimistic that everything is in control, so there is plenty of time to goof off. He often misjudges the time it will take to complete a task; an estimate of 30 minutes for a job that will take two hours leaves him short. This is why procrastination has been likened to a credit card — it is easy and fun at first, but then you get the bill. And the interest is paid in feelings of dread, anxiety, helplessness, and self-hatred.

However, the habit of not doing is tough to break, because it’s self-reinforcing. A good grade (or sometimes just a passing grade) is proof that the system works, and that performing under pressure is necessary and effective. Unfortunately, the cost of putting things off is more than time. It strengthens the erroneous belief that work has to be unpleasant. Although the procrastinator becomes well practiced in avoidance, he never develops important skills, such as planning, organization, thought development, and attention to detail.

The cure for this malady is elusive, because procrastination is an attempt to resolve underlying issues we are not necessarily aware of — like anger, perfectionism, and self-doubt. While it does eliminate the anxiety associated with these problems, the root causes remain.

The Underlying Issues

1. Anger.

The most common cause of procrastination I see in opt-outs is anger. Teens who resent the authority of parents and teachers can get even by delaying work or making a half-hearted effort. For adolescents who feel powerless, open rebellion is not an option, because the consequences would be too great, and deep down, these teens want to succeed. This form of revenge is manipulative and passive-aggressive, but also highly effective, because it takes authority figures’ power away and drives them crazy. Never mind that it is also self-sabotaging; a teen cares more about their autonomy than their grades. In essence, the opt-out is saying, “You can’t tell me what to do. I will do my work when I am good and ready.”

2. Playing the Victim.

Even though the procrastinator is imprisoned in a jail of his own making, he sees himself as the victim of those who set expectations and call the shots. He feels trapped in a no-win situation: Doing his work brings on uncomfortable feelings, but so does not doing it (though just not now). The victim approaches homework feeling that he has to do it, never that he wants to.

The pattern goes something like this: Your son dislikes chemistry, because it’s hanging over his head and freaks him out. Since he hasn’t acquired skills in it, he can’t do the assignments, so why try? Also, there’s a test coming up soon, and he must do well on it — except he knows he can’t. Suddenly, everything seems terribly unfair (the class is too hard), and the teacher angers him (“he goes too fast,” “he doesn’t like me,” etc.).

Jeff is a teen who really struggled with this victim mentality. Though wicked smart, he feigned disinterest in academic achievement, saying it gave him no satisfaction. He was also at a complete loss about how to get work done. Something his siblings and friends were able to do every night (sit down and do their homework) completely eluded him. This mystification only intensified his victimization. He also becomes furious when his parents failed to notice even his smallest effort.

Though Jeff’s wall of apathy and disregard for school seemed impenetrable, ultimately I learned what lay beneath it: a boy who felt ashamed of his inability to work and his helplessness to do anything about it.

3. Self-Doubt.

Jeff is not alone. Like many opt-outs I’ve met, beneath his anger and resentment is a boy consumed with self-doubt. Kids like Jeff don’t often start out feeling so hopeless. It takes years of questioning his own skills, wondering whether he has what it takes. This is especially true of kids who have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or learning disabilities. Opt-outs often did better in school when they were younger. However, when school became more challenging (as it always does), rather than step up the effort, they took their foot off the gas pedal. This is because they thought if school stopped being easy, it meant they were not smart enough. Trying was never an option, because it involved the possibility of failing, and then uncovering their perceived inadequacy.

 

4. Perfectionism.

A perfectionist may postpone starting a project because he feels overwhelmed by the sheer amount of energy it will take to do something perfectly. He will refer to work with words like “ought,” “must,” “have to,” and “should.” You probably don’t think of your son as a perfectionist; if anything, he is the opposite. However, most perfectionists suffer from deep feelings of inadequacy. His desire to make everything absolutely perfect may mask problems of self-esteem and self-confidence. High standards are great; they give us something to aim for. Perfectionism takes hold when the failure to meet these expectations becomes unacceptable. Perfectionists who procrastinate set unrealistic expectations and then avoid work to rid themselves of the anxiety it causes.

Though many adults procrastinate, for some teens, it is a sign of immaturity. Getting down to work involves postponing pleasure until work is done, and being able to tolerate the anxiety and frustration that accompanies learning something new. You can hear your teen’s low frustration tolerance when he says things like: “This isn’t fair, it’s too hard.” I have written a great deal in my book, He’s Not Lazy: Empowering Your Son to Believe in Himself, about helping kids to develop an “I think I can” attitude, and how parents can set expectations in a way that allows teens to still have autonomy and feel more in control. This is the only way to help them develop the internal motivation necessary to get work done.

However, let’s look at a few things you can help the procrastinating teen with:

1. Rebut rationalizations. 

Let’s face it: Procrastinators are liars. They lie to themselves on a regular basis about how long it will take to complete a project, and that they will have enough time to get it done well. These lies are called rationalizations. To stop, the procrastinator must be able to recognize, argue against, and defeat his rationalization. Either challenge him when you hear him use one of these rationalizations, or show him this list and ask if anything sounds familiar:

  • “I’m more productive when I work under pressure, so I’m postponing all my work until the pressure builds up, and then it will be a breeze to polish this off.”
  • “If I wait until the last minute, this paper won’t take so much time to write.”
  • “If I do this work right now, I’ll miss out on (insert once-in-a-lifetime activity, including playing Fortnite or another video game for the fifth night in a row).”
  • “Chill out. This is just one assignment. The world isn’t going to come to an end if I don’t do it.”
  • “I don’t know how to do this problem, so I’m waiting until I do.”
  • “This job is easier to do when I’m feeling it, so I am going to wait for the mood to strike.”
  • “I waited until the last moment before, and it worked out okay, so why not this time?”

2. Challenge negative thinking.

Procrastinators have a negative attitude towards work. Here are some negative things they tell themselves, and more positive substitutes:

Instead of saying this:                                                         Say this:

I have to…                                                                          I choose to…

I must finish.                                                                      When can I start?

This project is so big and so important.                          I can take one small step.

I must be perfect.                                                              I can be perfectly human.

I don’t have time to play.                                                  I must make time to play.

3. Uncover the roots to procrastination.

Recognize why you are delaying something unnecessarily by following these steps:

  • Discover the real reasons for your delay. List as many as you can think of.
  • Dispute those real reasons and overcome them. Be vigorous.
  • Begin the task.

 Other Strategies:

  • Make the tasks look small and easy in your mind. (“I’ve written lots of excellent papers; this is just one more paper.”)
  • Do only a small part of the task each time. (“I’ll just check out the books tonight. Later, I’ll glance through them.”)
  • Change your environment: If you can’t study at home, find a place where you can, or change your study situation at home.
  • Five-minute plan: Work on something for just five minutes. At the end of five minutes, switch to something else if you want. Chances are, you’ll have gotten involved enough to keep going.
  • Use the Pomodoro System.
  • Do what Eric Barker (author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree) calls the one-minute dash: First make a to-do list and put the terrifying stuff at the top, and the easier stuff at the bottom. Then do a “one-minute dash” and write out the steps needed to beat the first problem. Barker writes: “This should help you get past the fear and start building momentum. If the dashes aren’t working, they’re not short and easy enough.”

Finally, remember that we want to elicit commitment, rather than compliance. To do so, help your son focus on manageable objectives rather than overwhelming expectations. Praise him for steps that send him in the right direction, rather than criticizing him for making mistakes. And whatever you do, don’t nag. That only creates resentment (in both of you) and adds more external pressure for your son to rebel against.

Mason Lasley said, “Procrastination makes easy things hard and harder things harder.” Combined with an attitude of victimization, it creates additional worry and intensifies a negative attitude towards school. Though they may help, the procrastination habit cannot be broken with a few strategies or tricks. The only way to truly conquer it is to learn it and become actively engaged in learning. For the opt-out, this takes time and emotional growth. However, the benefits of breaking the habit are significant. They include peace of mind, a feeling of strength, purpose, and being in charge of your life. While the procrastinator feels weak and helpless, the engaged student will feel strong, competent, and capable.

 

Source: Adam Price Ph.D.

Procrastination: The Illusion of Freedom – Why teens procrastinate and what you can do about it.

Psychology Today (Posted Apr 17, 2018)

Parental perfectionism

Every parents want to raise their child or children perfectly but what happens if they go too far?

First of all nowadays one thing is scientifically clear and proved; perfectionists are made and not were born. The occurrence of perfectionism is growing. One of the reason is those parents look for their own status in their children’s achievements and its pressure on children just grows. They can take this pressure as a critic for their mistakes. A lot of parents believe if their children have difficulties in school or his/her performance is not satisfactory (according to them), it means they do something wrong, they are not enough good parents and what the other parents will think. I often can see that; parents identify their parental ability with the performance of children in school or in other part of life. “If my child is not a good student, I am not a good parent or if my child is an excellent student I give a good parental care.”  Honestly, they are not even connected to each other. Perfectionism is one of the type of parental control. Nowadays parents not just take part in their children’s life inordinately but also expect perfect performance from them. One thing is striving for perfectionism and another one is to demand it.

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Perfectionism can be a model for children, anxious parents so often raise (create-make) similar child like them. Those children who deal with high perfectionism experience their own mistakes as a personal failure – they are characterized with high depression and anxiety. In the same way characterized those children as well whom feel their parents overrate them. Perfectionist parents’ children feel if they do not perform on the level which was expected, that will decrease love, respect and recognition what they can get. The problem most of the time is the perfectionist’s level is not 100% of performance, it is 120% which can be unachievable for a child. Perfectionist parents actually do not consider children’s individual abilities and capacities because it is not about their children; it is all about themselves as parents.

How does a perfectionist parent control a child?

Parental perfectionism directs the psychological world of children. Two sources had been identified. One source is the parent own perfectionism that is exaggerated worry about general parental mistakes. Perfectionist parents accept their children just if they perform above the average. I must highlight that it is not just about performance in school, perfectionism presented in all parts of daily life. They use hidden and indirect techniques to maintain their psychological control and use them to encourage their own children to use substantial self-criticism. For instance a technique like sigh, silence or raised eyebrows. Directly they don’t discipline them but clearly make children feel their dislike.

The other source of psychological control is the parents’ fear of detachment from children. Perfectionist parents are over-attached to their children and they worry about their growing autonomy and their children continuous growth threats them with emotional and physical detachment.

Perfectionist parents excite a feeling which is a sense of guilt and they approve their children’s behaviour if they remain emotionally close to them. They are susceptible to keep children in a dependent situation if their adult relationships don’t satisfy their emotional expectations or needs. We can state that; perfectionist parents whom use psychological control on their children (doesn’t matter why – fear of loss or demand of status) are focus on their own needs instead of their children’s needs and personalities.

Striving for perfectionism forces children into an illusion. Perfectionism destroys the real self. Actually instead of creating harmony and self-satisfaction, it creates self-destruction. The continuous feeling of failure (not being able to fill up the parents expectations) destroys children’s self-confidence and often they feel worthless. In children’s mind being loved by existence gets confused with an idea-feeling of being loved because of action; “I am able to be loved if I am doing things perfectly or if I am able to satisfy my parents.

Children pay a very high price for perfectionism. The main problem with perfectionism might be that; it covers the real beauty and joy of life. People do not become stronger by making them perfectionist but let them to be passionate about something what they are interested in.

Self-justification II.

In my previous post you could have seen that how easy to cheat ourselves sometimes. We can say that self-justification is a kind of excuse or comfortable lie in a contradiction to uncomfortable truth. If people commit themselves to an attitude a communicator can cause dissonancy and to decrease this tense condition the best way is to distort proofs or refuse them. The more we are committed ourselves to an attitude all the more we are willing to refuse every counter-arguments. It can show that to decrease dissonancy also drives us to a distortion of objective world because generally people do not like to see or hear things which are contrast with their own core believes or wishes.

Dissonancy and rational behaviour

Very often dissonancy deduction behaviour is very irrational. Because often this means wrong adaptation and can prevent someone from cognizance of important facts or finding real solutions for a problem. In the other hand it has a rational function as well which is protection the self, the ego; through it we can maintain our positive self-image which is we are good, smart and man of merit. We can look at this self-defence mechanism as very useful but sometimes can cause fatal consequences. (Generally people especially nowadays are willing to choose a comfortable lie rather than the painful truth even if it is still a lie.) Several studies prove the illogicality of dissonancy deduction. (Jones, E. – Kohler, R. 1959). Well it is always comforting us if all of the wise people are on our side and all of the stupid are on the other (which is not real but that is how we want to see and believe it).  We do not process information on an objective and impartial way. Quite the contrary, we distort them onto a way they fit into our previous conceptions. (Lord, C. – Ross, L. – Lepper, M. 1979) We all can point out in our behaviour that we can behave rationally and irrationally as well. There are people who are able to handle dissonancy better than others depending on circumstances.

Dissonancy like a consequence of decision

After making a decision nearly always people experience dissonancy – especially after a decision which required a lot of time, money or effort. It is because the chosen alternative hardly completely positive and the rejected is never completely negative. After a difficult decision people like to get enough calming about the rightness of their decision so they are looking for information which can confirm it. After a decision making people highlight the positive side of the chosen option and decrease negative ones of the refused and the opposite.

External and internal justification

Several times happen that people say the opposite of what they think or they believe. For instance; Christina and Maria are not too close friends but they are shopping together. Maria is trying a dress on and asking Christina’s opinion. Christina’s first thought is this dress looks awful but since she doesn’t want to hurt Maria’s feeling she says that; “This dress fits you well, you look so pretty!” Theoretically, Christina’s content of consciousness about herself is like she is an honest person is not compatible what she just said. To release the dissonancy she needs a new content of consciousness which can be that it is important not to hurt people’s feeling. “I lied not to hurt someone!” It’s an effective way of dissonancy deduction  and it was determined by a situation. It’s called external justification. First we always look for external justifications and if we don’t find any we try to find internal ones which means changing our own attitudes which fit what we said. Like “That dress did not look as bad on her”.

Where from we get our core believes? Do we get them? Some part of it yes from our parents and from our closed environment and society by socialization and some part of it through our own experiences.

According to Charles Darwin, the key of survival depends on the ability of adaptation. What if someone is not open-minded and has strong core believes (incorrect or outmoded way of thinking) without flexibility? Well, there is only one thing constant in life which is the change. Our world is changing daily and we are forced to adapt those changes. If we are not opened for new information or ideologies and having lack of flexibility, we can experience cognitive dissonancy over and over again almost daily. So how we can avoid to face with frequent dissonancy? A common solution is isolation. Information and social isolation. Easier to put our head into sand as a denial than looking for dissonancy deduction solutions all the time. Inflexible people do it so often. They look for friends who are almost the same, same ideology same view, same culture, same classes of society, same education or religion and they avoid social interactions with other people which can create an opportunity for dissonancy to appear by talking about several topics with those who are different. Inflexible and closed-minded people are mainly who judge others, continuously defending themselves and their point of view and believe they are always right. Do you know a person like that? I am sure you do!

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These kind of people actually live in a bubble which is their own prison.

Continuously defending ourselves and refusing new things, facts or others’ point of view take so much energy, make us unhappy and living in a world which can be far from the reality. Living like surrounded by great walls made by us (fears, misbelieves) not just defends us also prevents to develop and experience good things as well. We all have a strong ego defence system but we must see, understand and experience there is nothing wrong with us, if we are or have been wrong or have been thinking on a not correct way. From time to time people learn from their mistakes and able to improve and develop. In ideal case we are able to say that “Yes, I was wrong.” “What kind of lesson can be drawn from it?”

How can we reach that?

  1. Recognize, acknowledge and understand our own defence and dissonancy deduction tendencies.
  2. Realize even if we did something silly or unmoral thing that still doesn’t mean we are silly and unmoral people for good.
  3. We develop enough self-strength to take our own mistakes.
  4. We evolve that capacity to perceive that comprehension of our mistakes are useful and fruitful in terms of growth and learning.

I know it is easier to write down than work on it. If you had found some misbelieves which hinder you from being confident, happy and harmonious with yourself and with others you always can look for help to achieve them. As a therapist I can assure you it is possible to become open-minded and peaceful with yourself and with others just by improving your self-knowledge. If you want to be delivered from your wrong misbelieves, set free from your own prison; contact me and I can show you it is possible.

  A very good friend of mine told me once: Living with refusal just you will be poor.

 

Source:

Aronson, E.: The Social Animal (1999)

Forgas, J.P.: Interpersonal Behaviour. The Psychology of Social Interactions (1985)

Self-justification I.

A last weekend event inspired me to pick up and write about this topic. It was a discussion about eating vegetarian-vegan. Meat-eating people started to explain how plant based eating is not that much healthy and how meat-eating is so beneficial. I was sitting there and recognized how their self-justifications were so strong necessary (it was not) and how their cognitive dissonancy with passive aggression created an argument.

What does exactly self-justification mean?

People generally are motivated to justify their own actions, thoughts, ideologies and emotions, trying to convince others about what he/she has done or did is logical and rational. Like in the example above. Even tough someone knows (proved by science) that eating too much meat and saturated fat (also not eating vegetables) is unhealthy he must justify his own behaviour of believes. It can be done by several ways. To have two incompatible contents of consciousness cause cognitive dissonancy.

Cognitive dissonancy

It is a kind of tense condition, which appears all the time when the person has two contents of consciousness (thought, attitude, view or opinion) but incompatible with each other psychologically. Differently if we consider each of them by itself then an opposite of one follows from another. Since cognitive dissonancy is an uncomfortable feeling people are motivated to decrease it. To keep on two conflicting views means is absurd so those two contents of consciousness or at least one of them must be changed like preferably compatible, consonance or like insert new contents of consciousness which will bridge over the gap between the original contents. Most of the people think that own believes and attitudes must be consistent with their behaviour so when they act contrary to their previous and existent attitudes, they feel motivated to explain and/or justify own behaviour.

How can cognitive dissonancy be released?

Using the example above, there is one person who eats a lot of meat, fried food without eating any vegetables. Once this person is reading a medical study about eating too much meat, fried food and not eating vegetables causes cardio and cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer and obesity. This person will experience dissonancy. The knowledge that he eats on a very unhealthy way is not compatible with that knowledge this way of eating causes for instance cancer. The most radical way to release this dissonancy would be to change the way of eating (but we all know, to make a change in our life, especially major a change, is so difficult) because after that change those two knowledges become compatible with each other. Imagine that, this person will try to change his way of eating but does not succeed. So what else can he do to release the dissonancy? Certainly he is going to do something with the other knowledge which is eating too much meat causes cancer. Like he tries to doubt facts about the relationship between eating too much meat and cancer. He makes himself believe that the experimental proofs are not convincible or he can mention someone who eats on the same way but without any health problems therefore if that person has no any disease he will not have either. Eventually to decrease the absurd characteristic of his behaviour he can identify himself with new contents of consciousness which are more compatible with eating unhealthy. So he might attach more important meaning to eating unhealthy. Like eating so much meat without vegetable is healthy and important and part of his personality. Like “I might not live that long but I enjoy it.” These kind of behaviours decrease dissonancy because they decrease the absurd nature of it. This person justifies his behaviour cognitive thus decreased the danger or exaggerated the importance of his action. Ultimately he succeeded to interiorize an attitude or change an existing one.

What kind of self-justifications can you recognize in your life? How do they influence your life or your self-control? Are you an open-minded person or chained to own core believes?

To be continued….

Source: Aronson, E.: The Social Animal

Why is it so difficult to face with our real self?

Knowledge and self-knowledge is a fundamental human need. We hear almost daily how self-knowledge is so important, its positive influence on our inner world, relationship and family nevertheless a lot of people get stuck on this journey or without even starting it. Sometimes I sense a very strong resistance from clients’ side when we start to talk about self-knowledge. Often I see that their root of problem is in their incorrect or lack of self-knowledge, notwithstanding that I can explain and prove it they still refuse it and believe the source of problem is or from someone or something else.

What does hamper those people to learn about themselves? Why is it so difficult to face with the real self for a lot of people?

As Freud has it the main cause of our mental sicknesses is a fear of knowing ourselves. With suppression we try to avoid to get connected with our undesirable/negative emotions, experiences, impulses or opportunities. This fear is so much connected to being unwilling to know better the outside world which is our internal and external problems very often are connected and similar to each other. This fear is defensive type and we can hold our self-esteem, self-respect and self-love if we are consistently cut ourselves off from threatening recognitions which are able to destroy this ideal self. We are afraid of getting connected to that knowledge which can cause shame or we may feel weak, vulnerable, evil, selfish or unworthy. With repressing and similar defensive mechanism we maintain that self how we would like to see ourselves so the unpleasant and dangerous truths can remain in obscurity.

In psychotherapy we call these mechanisms resistance which with we try to avoid facing with unpleasant facts. With therapeutic help we are able to see our own distortions, facing them and getting stronger and more confident to be able to take them. Being honest with ourselves requires a strong effort indeed.

Safe development

Under the insistence on our problems often we might make an effort to avoid personal growth. Here other distresses might appear like if we are not able to perform or fill up expectations we feel weak and unworthy ourselves. Our talent includes the responsibility of profiting and the possibility of loneliness as well. Our wonderful inner potential can transform into fascinating and motivating at the same time terrifying as well. Our fear is completely understandable on the other hand we must realize that we must overcome these fears to be able to create.

Here it comes the well-known pyramid of needs made by Maslow. For instance we might remember that curiosity is a higher need than security. Liable to danger, anxiety and fear is very difficult to take a path towards to ourselves. Just imagine a small child being in a foreign environment. Being close to its mother and just step by step exploring because security is more important. Getting to know the negative aspects of our identity/self we can eliminate them so they can become our gentle travelling partners.

Ostrichism in the role of declining responsibility

As an adult our fears and anguishes are more cultured and hidden. If we don’t need to face with our emotions by force we are willing to suppress them and denying their existence to ourselves. Well that’s why so often we do not even realize we are anxious. Numerous times might be better not knowing our problems or incompletions well if allowed ourselves consciousness we should act. Act like sticking out our heads from sand and actually so often we are afraid of consequences and responsibility hail from knowledge.

Well what can be the solution to relieve our negative emotions burden? A cognitive coping strategy can be a good alternative if we make known, predictable and manageable the imminent, hidden things, thoughts and emotions. If we know and understand unknown scary things we are able to eliminate the negative emotions which are attached to them. Important to see that this process requires daring and endurance. Paradoxically the knowledge about ourselves becomes the best medicine against our anxiety. Besides our personality develops and enriches, enlarges our knowledge with the function of homeostatic defense as well.

The work of self-knowledge is a battle between our fears and bravery. The available award is visible, freedom, harmony with ourselves and self-confidence.

 

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Onto the margin of this topic

When we decide to work on ourselves we always can find positive characteristics inside as well. Like everybody else, we are all have good/positive and bad/negative part too. If these two parts are becoming visible and we are aware of them we can start to understand and work on the negative side to diminish it and correct their outcomes. The fact is we can’t run away from ourselves, sooner or later we must face with ourselves.

The reward of the self-knowledge work is priceless. Living our days in harmony, loving and respecting ourselves and having a special tool in our hand which is the ability to deal with problems on a successful and proactive way.

 

Sources:

Charles S. Carver-Michael F. Scheier: Perspectives on Personality

Maslow, A.H. : Motivation and personality

Freud, A. : The ego and the mechanism of defense

 

 

Role of the father

Parents have a significant role in their children’s life. Family is a scene of socialization and psychological growth as well. The mother and the father have different roles and absolutely not or just partly receivable. For a long time psychology did not pay too much attention to the role of father but nowadays it is getting into the center of interest.

The father is the ideal for his son and “practical partner” to his daughter with whom she can get information about the opposite sex. Significant role to establish and accept authority and respect for the law and rules as well. The role of father changes with ages of a child.

First ages

Role of father from birth till approximately 3 years just slightly can be separated from a role of mother. Both of them take care of their child and helping to make clear bounds. In these ages father’s role means a kind of “action”, he is the one who with a child can explore and knowing more about the world. In the meantime the mother provides a safety back area which serves the emotional growth of a child. If the parents’ relationship and their nurturing style is harmonic the child has peaceful growth and be able to establish safe badinage. For it to happen the parents need to care of their own relationship. To express relation like gestures, devotion and touching is important also in the presence of a child. Children learn mainly from actions of parents, not from words or speeches.

Between the age of 3 and 6 (kindergarten time)

As soon as the child gets into kindergarten a role of father changes step by step. The child learns to establish connection and relationship with other children and the own and sexual identity starts to develop. Boys by this time turn to their fathers significantly and begin imitating their behaviour. It is a great opportunity for the father to set a good example to his own son. Father shows how to establish connections with other people and how to maintain them. Also by this time the child begins the final detachment from the mother and it is important from the father to support this process by strengthen the child own feeling of independence self. It requires to give a chance for the child to make own decisions sometimes instead of parents make them all the time. Over-controlled or over-guarded children become easily being anxious and outside-controlled because they have learnt that always other peoples’ decisions affects their lives. It is a big breaking down of the healthy authority sometimes a kind of root for children becoming a codependent adult.

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School age

School-age children begin to compare themselves with their parents and establishing their own bounds inside parent-child relationship. They explore differences between themselves and parents, they would like to be different, dress differently and do different things. Also with awaking sexuality they face a presence of the opposite sex. A father can provide significant support not just for a boy also for a girl how to behave with the opponent sex. Boys without having a present father can have difficulties with initiating contact with girls and a missing father can cause untimely sexual life to girls and they might stay easily in abusive relationships. Also very important in this age the example which parents show, how they treat each other as man and woman.

Puberty age

This age might be very exerting for both parents. Some girls test their awaking sexuality subconsciously on their fathers like flirting with them but of course these acts must not be misunderstood, it is only a practicing of sexual loaded interactions with boys in a protected father-child environment. In these interactions so often happens that the girl/daughter gets embarrassed by the parents because of her behaviour which might cause inhibitions, sense of guilt and shame later in her life. Boys often oppose their fathers strongly and having power fights to assess their bounds for extending them. If this stormy time passes without serious problems the father is becoming a reliable person and the first male father-son talks can begin about life, women about those things what “Mother does not understand at all”.

The role of father is an embodiment of power and authority in the entire childhood. If the role of father is missing that causes difficulties for children to recognize, understand and accept policy of power. The role of father is a role for life never ends. A special father-child badinage (in a case of proper care) cannot be replaceable by a mother. This relationship is important to a grown up child as well; the father can be the embodiment of man’s world and the father provides a man to his daughter whom with can have a confident relationship with emotion without distortion of sexuality. Very important in all ages that the role of father should not be scaled down or undermined by the mother. It happens very often when parents have problems and the child gets involved in triangle making as a third person. Mothers do more often than fathers that using the child as a tube to release her own emotional tense caused by problems. (Toxic parents I. Toxic parents II. Toxic parents III.)

 

Relationship expectations

Expectations in relationship – Who is in the focus?

In time the focus had been shifted from “us” to “me or I”. Visible how we used more often in the past “we” but nowadays we use more self-preferentiality which means we use more often “I or me”. Today we think that: “You are (here with me) to give me.” It means we need another person for building up ourselves best version, being ourselves.

The need of connection

When we define ourselves we do it always related to others who with we interact in our different roles. We define ourselves differently as a mother, a friend or a wife so we exist with different expectations in every each different roles. In our relationships also appeared an expectation which is, our partner or friend finds out or see what we need, like mind-reading. This called mentalization. The ability of mentalization means, we are able to step in the other person’s shoes, we are able to think with the other person’s mind and we are able to figure out the other person’s desires or wishes. Successful mentalization is necessary to connect to others. With learning mentalization, our self-image and how is to love and being loved, is becoming built in our functioning schemas. We learn how safe to show ourselves or our own emotions, or how our love is acceptable to others. If we have maladaptive schemas regarding to relationship that influences our way of feeling and thinking and acting in roles. Until we identify maladaptive schemas, we carry them from relationship to relationship doing exactly the same mistakes all the time, over and over again.

We must learn to understand and use our partner’s love language, getting into his/her system to get closer. Love language is how we express our love to our partner.
Outside element
While the number of our expectations are increasing, we see how, the illusion of the perfect world is growing as well. We can read about perfect families, perfect relationships, about perfect conflict managements and with those statements we face with a fact we do not live our life on a perfect way. This PICTURE PERFECT ILLUSION really can cause an invisible anxiety daily. Perfection is always depends on a point of view. What exactly means perfect? Everything what we see or feel as reality we do through our own preferences, which defines our values, expectations and ideologies. If we know our own expectations and desires, and we do effort to know and discover our own emotional blind-spot, decrease it, in this case we are able to see ourselves more clearly in our relationships as well and functioning better.