Sharing personal information brings people closer together. But how do you know when you’ve gone too far—or when someone else has ulterior motives?
Verified by Psychology Today
I am a Clinical and School Psychologist and while I think Mr. Bunn's article contained some valuable advice for parents, there were several comments with which I disagree. The first is the reference to Susan Woodhouse's research which shows that sometimes just ONE frightening episode between mother and child can lead to lifetime harm. The example stated that during the early child-parent relationship, "If the mother did frightening things when the baby cried, like hard yelling ... even if it only happened one time, the baby would be insecure." First of all, where is the "father?" Mothers are blamed more often than fathers and to that I object. Next, I don't believe that ONE episode of "hard yelling" from either parent will result in a lifetime of insecurity. Children are much more resilient than this and parents aren't perfect. Besides, it is important that children, as they grow, learn to deal with the inconsistencies in human behavior that they experience from parents and others. Having said this, the author is correct to emphasize the importance of bonding, mirroring and healthy parent-child relationships so the child learns that he/she is valued and loved but not the "center of the universe." Healthy parent-child relationships are not perfect. Parents make mistakes and so do children. So, let's stop putting so much pressure on parents who are struggling to do their best. It's simply not helpful for them or for their children.
Next, Dr. James Masterson believes that the only way to experience good mirroring is to see a therapist. Wouldn't it be wonderful if therapists were as accurate and "perfect" as he proposes. Therapists are humans with imperfections, just like parents and others. They have their own biases, prejudices and values; and while we strive to keep these out of the therapy session, we don't always succeed. It may be subconscious and unintentional but our biases can slip into our interactions with our clients. So, it is my belief that there is no such thing as "perfect" mirroring - in or out of the therapy room. So, parents relax. You won't always "do" it right or "say" it correctly or mirror/reflect accurately; but, let your children know every day that you love and care for them - not with your words alone but with your actions and through your interactions with them.
Dr. Eleanor A. Vivona-Vaughan
Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.