"They Fuck You Up, Your Mum And Dad..."

 


 

This Be The Verse

BY PHILIP LARKIN

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had,
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn 
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself

Philip Larkin, "This Be the Verse" from Collected Poems.
Copyright © Estate of Philip Larkin. 
Reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber, Ltd.

While I don't necessarily agree with Mr. Larkin's last stanza's solution to the problem of inter-generational trauma, I can certainly relate to the general tone of his poem. It is an unfortunate fact that a great many of the issues an individual might face in their life stem from their interactions with their parents. It is a hard burden to bear since as a parent we are left to mostly repeat what we learned as children from our parents. And so damage that was done to us is passed on for lack of knowing better. As any child therapist knows all too well, treating a child with issues is mostly a case of treating parents with issues. 

Commonly, parents assume that their children will act and think just like they do. While children as pre-disposed to behaviors similar to their parents due to genetic makeup, further enhanced by the fact that they learn almost everything from the behaviors of those parents, they are ultimately true individuals and will develop over time to have their own unique views. In addition, parents tend to assume that not only are their children much the same as they are but that they can and will adapt to them, their wave of caring, and their lifestyle in general. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes children need care that neither parent is fully equipped to provide without additional training or support. Sometimes the child is not able to adapt to the parent's lifestyle choices.

Parents aren't born knowing how to raise children. There is a misconception that simply by the fact of being your child's parent you automatically are ideally suited to raising your own child. This is not so. Yes, you are hopefully the person with the most love invested in them to raise them and that is a great start. But until there are parenting classes in schools (please!), or unless you have done both extensive therapy and taken parenting classes, then you might actually be a rather poor choice depending on how you grew up yourself. If you are a parent yourself already, then you know that children have personality right from day one. You can mold them as much as you are able to, but they are a work of art unto themselves. The parent's role it seems is to help adapt them to the life they will lead, or at least to the lifestyle of the parents until they are old enough to go it alone. But adaptation is unique to each individual. You can't force something to adapt the way you want it to or at the pace you want it to. As the old saying suggests, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. 

As a parent, you should want your child to adapt. The world we live in is constantly changing, often at a rapid pace. There is a reason every generation laughs at the one before for being out of time or not understanding. You are adapted to your generation, your experience, but as time moves on, you too will become ill-adapted and seem hopelessly set in old ways. It is the way of things. 

 

 

Written by Stephen King
Stephen King is a practicing Hypnotherapist and Certified Health Coach
Find out more at https://kinghealthassoc.com/stephen-king-cht-chc

Copyright (c) Stephen King. All rights reserved.


 

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