Concerted Cultivation and Natural Growth ( City of God and NPD)

I found the movie we viewed in class this week to be fascinating yet tragic at the same time. It really got me reflecting on my own childhood and experiences in comparison to the two main characters in the movie. In my last post I discussed my upbringing and the conflicts I had with my fathers parenting style. As I mentioned in my last post, my father was diagnosed with NPD (Narcissistic Personality disorder) several years after I graduated high school. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder my sophomore of college and was put on medication. I remember thinking back on my childhood and feeling like I was the most unlucky kid in the world. This movie helped me realize that the other extremes of parenting can also have devastating effects on children. I found myself watching the characters in the movie and feeling a great sense of relief I had responsible that guided me in the right direction academically and spiritually. My mother was raised Southern baptist and while she could seem a bit extreme at times, she did try hard to do good by other people. My father also decided to seek out therapy after his diagnoses and I can honestly say he almost unrecognizable today. I am very proud of the fact that he did because over 90% of clients diagnosed with NPD do not seek out treatment, which is understandable considering the nature of the condition. I suppose part of growing up is realizing your parents aren’t perfect and neither are you. I feel very blessed, not that I had problems but that they have finally passed. I have learned through therapy we all inherit some kind of baggage from our parents and it is OUR responsibility as adults to heal some of our childhood wounds. After watching the movie I realize not every has the opportunity to heal. I feel sorry for the kids in the film because of the enviornment they were trapped in. Being trapped in such a hostile environment without no outlet for pain is truly awful. I feel very grateful for the life I have today and am happy I was given the opportunity to heal. Here is an interesting article describing the situation.



Different Upbringings (Unequal childhoods)

In class this week we learn all about unequal childhoods and how different upbringings provide children with different advantages and different disadvantages. This topic really struck a huge cord with me because I feel my particular upbringing was highly unnatural. When I was a kid my father was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). He was always getting in my business and tried to make my life as structured and as complicated as possible. He chose all my friends for me, picked all the sports i played, and was very verbally abusive towards me and my family. Having spent a good portion of my life under his complete control in every way imaginable, I found myself feeling a great sense of envy for those who were allowed to naturally develop. I envied other kids SO MUCH growing up whose parents allowed them a natural sense of freedom and let them grow into themselves naturally. I spent several years in therapy in my teen years trying to regain a sense of self I feel was robbed from me by my father.  I understand structure and guidance is absolutely necessary for children to develop normally. However, I feel there are some extremes that these two parenting styles do not encompass. I like to believe after what I experienced as a kid that there is a balance that can be achieved between natural and guided development. It seems like some parents can be so hell-bent on structure that a kid almost learns to feel claustrophobic and paranoid. The alternative isn’t much better in my opinion. You can also raise a bunch of misfits who don’t know how to talk to people with respect  and care less about rules or authority. So far in this class I see us being presented with two extremes and find myself falling in the middle of almost everything! I am not sure if that is normal outcome to the things we have learned in class or if my experiences in my own personal childhood has led me to be biased. I would be very curious to see which parenting style people prefer (or view as better) based on their own experiences.


Childhood Socialization in Groups

As a child my father was non expressive and never really put out an effort in helping me adapt to new situations. I remember being very anxiety ridden as a little boy, especially on sports teams. It’s amazing how at 23 years old I can still remember the soul-wrenching anxiety I felt in being in competitive groups as a little boy. My mother always tried to calm me down but I still remember as a little boy my mothers attention not being enough. Looking back I realize that I was really craving guidance from my father in how to interact with people and how to be a productive member of a team. I still to this day do not understand why my Dad could never express himself or thought to guide me. I find it interesting that once I finally found a coach who really tried to make me feel comfortable and teach me, my anxiety began to subside and finally started to feel “comfortable in my own skin”. It’s clear to me now I needed to bond with a father figure before I felt comfortable in relationship to other men. Even at 23, looking back on my relationship with my dad never giving me the guidance I feel I needed still bothers me. Great article by Oprah!


Learning a Language At a Young Age

After learning about how children learn foreign languages at a much faster rate than adults, I began to wonder why our educational system has yet to adapt to these findings. The reason I have begun to think about this is because of my recent struggles in my Spanish 3(college level) course. I was always enjoyed writing and learning another language always has been something I have been interested in, however the amount of coursework and challenge of it does not seem feasible between my current workload for psychology and my job here at Mizzou. I am writing this entry with the belief our educational leaders should begin incorporating foreign language into our elementary schools to give kids the head start they deserve in learning to speak a second language. I would have greatly benefited from learning a second language early on! Here is some evidence to support my ideas in introducing language to kids at a much younger age. With such a rapidly growing hispanic population inout country we could all greatly benefit from the ability to communicate them. My whole life I was told caucasians would soon be the minority in america. It hasn’t happened yet and I’m not sure it will anytime soon but if this is the case speaking spanish sounds like a necessity not an asset. This article is a perfect illustration of this.