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Natural Conflict Between Parents and Children

Before we investigate some of the situations that I will argue are the most damaging to a child's emotional health,  I feel that it is necessary to discuss a natural situation that brings about family conflict that is typical in many families.  This will form an important backdrop in relation to understanding situations that have far more serious implications in relation to a child's emotional health.  In essence, in order to obtain survival advantage, a child must learn all the skills necessary in order to do well in life.  In today’s western culture, this often translates into learning strong social skills in order to better establish strong social ties (and thereby social support) and often, the ability to work hard and obtain qualifications or skills necessary in order to ensure a good income (which in turn will help maintain a family in good health).  A parent must therefore help and encourage her children to work hard and diligently and learn good life skills in order that she may one day be able to bring up a family of his or her own and live in safe relatively healthy conditions.

2 key traits have been instrumental in the development of Man

Central to my argument is the following proposition.  Man has obtained survival advantage through the application of 2 key skills:

1) The ability to work hard and build a strong stable environment able to sustain (and house) increasing numbers of humans as the centuries have unfolded.
2) An incessantly productive creative tendency that has enabled man to solve ongoing survival problems. 

It is not only man’s ability to work diligently that has enabled her to evolve and has enabled human communities to grow so relentlessly: it is also due to her ability to create ever more innovative solutions to survival conundrums.  One of the greatest contributors to the expansion of man was the innovation of mass farming procedures.  In recent centuries, the innovation of computers and the internet has imparted huge advantages to mankind.  The huge advantages bestowed on mankind as a result of the industrial revolution also are testament to the crucial role that creative and innovative abilities have played in the development of man as a species. 

With these two factors in mind, I will now argue that a large proportion of personality traits can be well represented if placed along a hypothetical continuum. 

1)  Productivity.  At one end of this continuum lie personality traits that represent diligence, hard work, and the channelling of energies into limited ideas and tasks.  Traits that fall into this category typically endow the bestowed with strong capacities to work hard and this includes the capacity to concentrate on mundane tasks without being distracted.  It is crucial that individuals are endowed with these qualities in order to maintain productivity in a society that requires many ‘workers’ in order to survive.

2) Creativity.  At the other end of this hypothetical continuum, lie traits the embody innovation and creativity.  These traits have been crucial for man’s evolution and survival.  Traits that fall into this category typically endow the bestowed with qualities the represent creative thinking, abstract thinking, investigative tendencies, playfulness and, due to the nature of the aforementioned, inability to concentrate on limited or ‘mundane’ processes and ideas. 

There are many personality traits that fall into these two categories.  Jack Block has listed typical traits that are found in these 2 categories, and you can see the full list by clicking on the following titles:



Life problems for the highly creative individual

Due to gentics, each person will have a unique mix of traits and so will have a unique mixture of traits representing the 2 ends of the continuum.  Some remarkable individuals exhibiting remarkable qualities will typically have a unique mix of these traits, and usually exhibit certain traits in their extreme form.  However, if one exhibits a trait in an extreme form, it is usually crucial that she exhibits other specific traits in order to balance out the extreme traits.  For example, if an individual exhibits a remarkably vivid imagination, it may be that they find it difficult to concentrate on mundate uninspiring projects.  This may mean that they don’t concentrate on homework or ‘boring’ lessons at school.  This may, eventually, result in  the individual not gaining good qualifications.  If this unfortunate individual also has bad organisation skills, this may eventually result in the person being unattractive for employers.  The individual in question may now need to harness strong organisational and business skills in order to create a business (and being self-employed) to exploit her creative abilities.  However, if she does not possess the necessary business and organisation skills, she may then end up unemployed.

Family Conflict

It’s a difficult balance for a parent to try to level when attempting to determine how hard to push her children and how much to let her children relax and enjoy life and rest.  Children who fall into the ‘productive’ category will naturally want to work hard and need little pressure in order to encourage them to invest energy into their studies and work.  However, some children who are far more ‘creative’ may find it difficult to concentrate on studies and a battle may ensue.  A parent, knowing how important it is for her offspring to develop the best skills possible in order to maximise success in the working environment in the future, desperately tries to encourage, force, push her child to work hard.  Yet in some instances it seems that this induces high levels of anxiety in the child.  I work with children every day of my life, and see family interactions every day of my life and sometimes it seems that a parent must possess the skills of a saint in order to perfectly balance the need to push her children to work hard in order to obtain the necessary skills for a good and well provided for life, whilst at the same time trying not to make life too unbearable for the children that appear to be caving under the pressure to ‘work hard’.  Inevitably intense conflict often ensues.