"It is very difficult for people to believe, but every persecutor was once a victim."

"The more we idealize our past, and refuse to acknowledge our childhood sufferings, the more we pass them on to the next generation."

Alice Miller, "For Your Own Good: Hidden cruelty in child-rearing and the roots of violence"

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Healthy Couples
Bill White, MA
Love Relationship Coach
4834 E. 1st Street
Tucson, AZ





Article 4

Love Relationships For A Better World: Treating our children with kindness and respect

Other Article Links:

Article One
Pre-dating Strategies For A Lifelong Partner

(also very useful for those already in a relationship)

Article Two
Part 1: Essential Qualities Of Healthy Love Relationships

Article Three
Part 2: Essential Qualities Of Healthy Love Relationships

A few days ago while walking my dog, I watched a young couple -- who didn’t appear happy with one another -- walking along with their 3-year old daughter. The daughter was riding a bike with training wheels.

As I watched, the mom spoke harshly to the girl about staying near the side of the road. The road was a quiet street near a park. There were no cars in sight. The mom screamed in anger and disgust: GET OVER HERE!! I TOLD YOU BEFORE!! My analogy of the mom’s treatment of the girl: the little girl is a prisoner of war and the mom is a guard at the prison. If this is how the girl is treated in public, I wonder how she’s treated at home in private.

This experience reminded me of one of the basic reasons why being a love relationship coach is a passion of mine. Not only is it important to me that couples are happy and healthy, but it’s important to me that the byproduct of happy couples is children who are treated with kindness and respect.

The “sins of the fathers”

“The sins of the fathers are visited upon their children” is a fitting assessment of what happens to children—meaning that parent’s shortcomings clearly impact their children.

I don’t think anyone would argue the fact that harsh abusive treatment of a dog affects the dog emotionally. Most of us have seen abusive treatment make a dog skittish, hypervigilent, and fearful. I believe children react similarly. Of course, the reactions of children are often hidden behind acceptable social veneers.

Here is another analogy has occurred to me that provides further insight into the impact of dysfunctional parents on their children. Consider an experience we’ve all had of going to a movie and walking out of the theater bathed in the mood in which the movie inspired. We were immersed in the movie’s “mood” for only 2 hours and yet we were strongly impacted. I suggest that the impact of living in the mood of a dysfunctional or abusive family profoundly colors our world and how we live into our future. Although many other factors influence the quality of one’s life, I think family life is a pivotal one.

From his article in Omni in June 1989, Charles Whitfield, author of the book Healing the Child Within, writes: “According to Virginia Satir, a founder of family therapy, about 95 percent of U.S. families are dysfunctional—troubled, unhealthy, or unable to deal directly with daily problems. Most households are troubled because the parents came from unhealthy families. Until someone breaks the cycle, parents pass on this painful legacy.”

Without going into too much detail here, my siblings and I have been deeply affected by living with parents who couldn’t get along. The way they treated each other, and the way they treated us overall, was like being in a car crash. Fifty years later the five of us are still working to reverse the effects of our childhood rearing.

A proposed solution

I grieve for all that children go through in dealing with troubled parents. My mission here is to encourage changes in families that result in all children on the planet being treated with kindness and respect. I strongly believe we can all have a powerful impact on the quality of children’s lives by developing healthy love relationships and by using our relationships to grow and develop as individuals.

How does one develop a healthy love relationship?  Not an easy task, as can well be seen in our world. Here’s the simple version: Being committed to dealing with all conflict in healthy ways will have you discover where you are contributing to the dysfunction in your life and will lead to you making the changes that will create a healthy life and satisfying relationships. [Of course, parenting classes are also extremely useful in learning healthy ways to relate to your children.]

“This is the critical factor in any relationship: how the conflicts get resolved, not how many conflicts occur. I now believe how conflicts get resolved is the most critical factor in determining whether a relationship will be healthy or unhealthy, . . . friendly or unfriendly, deep or shallow, intimate or cold.

Dr. Thomas Gordon, "Parent-Effectiveness Training"

If my parents had known how to peaceably resolve their differences, and had learned how to be respectful towards one another, my siblings and I would have been the beneficiaries. When the process of learning how to get along with one another seems too difficult to bear, remember that every step you take in your growth will have a lasting positive effect on your children, or on the children you touch in your daily lives. 

Bill White, MA, is a love relationship coach for singles and couples in Tucson. He has a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. Bill offers coaching by phone, e-mail, or in person. He can be reached at 520-319-9132 and at contact@thehealthycouple.com.

You are offered a free, no obligation consultation to find out what Bill does, for Bill to find out what you want, and for you to discover if there’s a match. Brochure-type information and articles are available via e-mail and at his web site www.thehealthycouple.com.

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