Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Drama of The Gifted Child, by Alice Miller 

Maybe there's a problem with the translation (German to English - "degabten"). The gifted child here is a child whose empathy is so strong that he is able to perceive he emotional needs of his mother and then to subordinate his own emotional and even physical needs to provide for the happiness or contentedness of his mother. The mother, according to Miller, need not be the biological mother or even a woman. The mother is the person who should be providing emotional support to the child and providing a way for the child to grow into a healthy human being who understands himself and his emotions. Instead, the gifted child grows up with his emotions cut off, even from his own perception.

The child grows up and may even excel in his chosen field. He'll rely on others fto tell him how he should feel.

Miller makes some assumptions I don't agree with, saying that self-abuse and body piercing are results of repressed sexual abuse by the father.

But I agree with her fundamental point, that every child needs to be seen as an emotional being from birth. A child is not a projection of the parent's strengths, weaknesses, sucesses or failures, an emotional support, a chance for the parent to ry to get her life right "this time." A child is an independent mind.

And I am realizing how damn hard it is to raise a child without screwing him or her up for life.

Not difficult. It only requires treating the child as a human and not as a feebleminded pet.
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