PSYCHOLOGIES No. 20
Is it possible to be unemployed and a good parent?
Do we remain good parents when we lose our jobs? To some this question will seem far-fetched: is it worth looking at all for a connection between parenthood and work or its absence? Nonetheless, thousands of men and women ask it to themselves. And most often they answer negatively, at least unconsciously.
According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in Russia today there are more than four million unemployed, and almost a third of them cannot find a new place for a year or even longer. Such lack of demand, especially if it is long-term, undermines our idea of its social significance.
Because of it, we may also lose faith in our own “parental abilities”. We are seized by the fear that since we are expelled from the world of workers, then in other areas of life we will not be up to par.
What if now we do not meet the expectations of the children, because they will compare us with the parents of their friends and, of course, decide that we are “worse”? And how to become an authority for a child if we are tormented by guilt? What if the child ceases to listen to us and begins to dare in response: “How can you demand something from me if you yourself can’t even find a job ?!”
Where does the feeling of one’s own “badness” come from?
“Unemployment creates a situation of high uncertainty,” explains the gestalt therapist Elena Pavlyuchenko. – In order to bear it, you must be able to support yourself. And this ability is formed in childhood.
If parents blamed and criticized us for any mistakes, then, becoming adults, we become merciless critics for ourselves. Any failure, especially as serious as losing a job, makes us suffer from guilt and shame. And we begin to project this feeling of our own “badness” onto the child: it seems to us that he considers us to be a bad parent, does not like and blames ”.
A child, whose whims are satisfied, is deprived of such wealth as the ability to desire and dream of what is desired
But in fact, failure is an inevitable, natural part of life. Yes, you can experience resentment, fear and still not give up. If we do not fall into despair, hysteria, but adhere to an active position, are able to reason, seek a solution, then we maintain the self-esteem and respect of the child. “Then he gets the most important lesson: how to meet trials and deal with them with dignity,” Elena Pavlyuchenko emphasizes.
Language of love
We all want our children to have a happy childhood. And often we mean by this – cloudless, careless. Or maybe even a fairy tale, when all the desires of a child are fulfilled by wizards, in the role of whom we act. The unemployed have to say goodbye to this beautiful dream.
But is it worth regretting it?
Ideal childhood is an illusion, and far from safe. A child, all whose whims are satisfied, as soon as they arise, is never happy, he is deprived of such wealth as the ability to desire and dream about what he wants.
In addition, to satisfy all the whims of a child means to raise an unhappy adult, emphasizes Elena Pavlyuchenko.
Indeed, one of the tasks of parents is to prepare children for real life, in which we cannot get everything at once, and some of our desires are completely unrealizable. This means that the child needs to face restrictions in order to learn how to tolerate frustration.
Paradoxically, the situation of unemployment opens up new opportunities for the parent to show love. For example, much more time to devote to the child: to communicate with him, getting to know each other better, to do something together. “They can discover a new language of love, and this will more than cover any material losses,” Elena Pavlyuchenko is sure.
How to explain to the child that the family will now live differently because the father or mother were left without work? “First of all, you don’t have to burden him with your emotions, pour irritation, fear or resentment on him how you were treated,” Elena Pavlyuchenko warns. First you need to rethink the situation yourself so that it ceases to be emotionally overcharged: yes, it happened, but this is not the end of life, we’ll think about how to proceed.
The teenager must see that he is a full member of the family and can already become an active assistant in this difficult moment for everyone
“When talking with a child, it’s best to do without generalizations – it’s going to be difficult and bad, but explain as concretely as possible, for example: this summer we won’t be able to go to the sea, but we have another opportunity – to relax in the village with my grandmother,” Gestalt therapist explains.
Older children can participate in the family council when parents analyze the situation, discuss next steps, plan the budget. “A teenager should see that his opinion is taken into account, that he is a full-fledged member of the family and can already take on part of the responsibility, become an active assistant at this difficult moment for everyone. This mutual respect improves relations and brings him very close to his parents, because they feel like partners. ”
And of course, it is very important that, with all the difficulties, joy should not leave the family.
No matter how the material level declines, we can always afford small pleasures, holidays. A trip to the forest or a game of forfeit does not cost anything, but these moments of happiness that we experience together are priceless.