Janie Myers 9 year old daughter Emma recently came home from a visit with her father in tears. Emma had heard that Janie’s significant other of 2 years was a criminal. Once Emma Myers calmed down, she realized that the rumor wasn’t true. ” I want her to think about these things for herself ” Myers claims. ” I don’t put ideas into her head, but hopefully I’ve given her the common sense that she needs to figure things out for herself.”
Myers might be onto something. Sacramento Family Courts are flooded with cases stemming from Parental Alienation Syndrome. In a ‘he said/she said’ battle over rumors and downright lies, who is to believe what? In many cases, perhaps asking the child is the best way to go. Yes, a child in divorce or separation is caught in the middle. That does not mean, however, that the child is blind and deaf to the true occurrences of the parents.
” My mom was always talking about my dad and stepmom” states Phoebe Nasson of Folsom. ” I knew it wasn’t true , I knew my dad and I knew my stepmom. My dad always told me ‘think about it’ when I’d ask him about what my mom would say. I did and I saw things for myself.”
Independent thinking might be the key. When a child is told two opposite sides of a person, most kids are going to have no idea which one to believe. A parent telling a child what to believe is simply that, a child believing what they are told. Teaching a child to think for themselves is going to allow them to decipher things independently, potentially leading closer to the truth. Children need to be able to use their own senses on situations, if not for survival, then for sanity.
Some ideas on getting kids used to the notion of using their own opinions? Start off young. Letting a child choose a drink flavor or a bath time toy is getting them to use their minds with a freedom of choice. Kids do know what they like,let them use the skill of choice. As they grow older, talking to a child about opinions and choices can lead the way into the knowledge they need to know about how opinions are never wrong. Another idea is to take a magazine that features Hollywood stars on the red carpet and ask which ladies gown is prettiest, or ask which motorcycle is the coolest. On some pictures, make it a point to disagree with their choices,or let them choose first. Letting them express their opinion, and someone not agreeing with it, can strengthen their will to make their own choice based on their own knowledge and feelings. Kids need to know it’s okay not to agree on everything.
As long as kids are learning that they will still be loved for their own opinions and choices, having an independent thinker can aid in Parental Alienation Syndrome. If a child hears a nasty rumor or lies about a parent, chances are, that child will decide if they agree with it, rather than rapidly believing whatever they are told. While it’s a sad state that kids are caught in the middle of battling parents, making a child wiser and more independent can only help them in the long run.