Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beast of the Southern Wild: Parenting 101

I just saw Beast of the Southern Wild last week. I fell in love with it. That only happens for me once in a blue moon.

Why did I love it so much?

Because I write about abandonment. And Hushpuppy was abandoned by her mother; and her father seems a kind of a mixed blessing of a father who, early in the film, is hard for me to bear. But over the course of the film, he became a sort of renegade hero for me because I believe in "tough." I believe there are circumstances that demand having a stiff enough spine to get through whatever the heck you have to get through. And at the end, (with the cutest little heroine on the planet) this movie showed how this seemingly psycho father had actually prepared his child for the life she was inheriting as his child.
Still of Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild

At the end of the day that's what I think decent parenting is about-- preparing kids. I think a lot of frustration felt by parents has to do with the feeling that their children aren't prepared for life or might never be what they need to be. But preparing children for life requires real reflection about what they really need at every stage in order to navigate the situations they will encounter without falling apart. They don't need warm and fuzzy all day, every day. They need some heavy doses of reality and honesty, and to know with certainty that they actually have spines-- just as we do.

We get stronger by being stronger. Character traits aren't developed by simply having pleasant conversations; we develop character through lessons learned in real time situations. Better that our kids take some chances and sink now and then while we're still close enough to them to give a little feedback, and help them make a few adjustments-- than to have them floundering around as weak as worms wondering what to do when the flood comes.

Do you have your copy of Salt in the Sugar Bowl yet? Find out why a mother walks out on her six children, and how, years later, the abandonment issues run rampant in the lives of those children.
Click here to order from Amazon!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Are abandonment issues sabotaging your present?

Abandonment infiltrates our psyches like parasites. It makes us feel less than.


We want to make sure we do whatever it takes so people love us, want us, stay with us, think we're worthy, etc. We bend over backwards, make allowances for bad behavior, wear clothes that we don't really like because we think we'll get a particular reaction. We become more mindful of what others are thinking about us than of what we think of ourselves. We try to control how safe we feel by anticipating the thinking and actions of others. This is an impossibility! Sometimes people wind up alone because they're so afraid of being abandoned that they find ways to avoid committing.

Where does it come from?

I can't speak for everyone, but I didn't know my dad, and I spent a lot of my early years with my grandparents, then they died when I was still young. I, therefore, inherited a boat load of abandonment issues! They can also come from divorce, addiction, parental depression and mental illness.

What's my point?

It's really important to see when & where abandonment issues are operating in one's life. I learned that being healthy means having a very clear idea of who I am and what I like that has nothing to do with anybody else. If we are able to clarify that and have our own backs, then we are pretty much guaranteed to take good care of ourselves. When we get too caught up in attachment to others, we are often acting out of fear from our past, rather than having a healthy relationship in our present.

My novella is filled with the fallout of abandonment issues as Sophia Sawyer's six children try to live healthy adult lives after their mother left them behind and never looked back. Check it out! Salt in the Sugar Bowl: