Children should not fulfill the parents’ emotional needs. Other adults or objects or pursuits should fulfill the parents’ emotional needs. Which is easier said than done, eh? Because it’s so darn easy to get emotional fulfillment out of children. It’s like having a huge, beautiful cake in front of you and not eating it and instead baking your own cake from scratch.
So what can one do to avoid plugging their emotional hole with a child?
It just occurred to me that the first step should be to figure out what one’s emotional needs are. Because until you know for sure, you can’t guarantee you are keeping them well-fed and not straining at the leash to devour a child?
So what are my emotional needs? Let me tell you, folks, it’s very unpleasant to have to think about it. I dithered and doddered until I finally managed to recognize that my greatest emotional need is to have my intellectual potency recognized. I need to be recognized as an intellectual authority almost as much as I need to eat. I’m guessing this is common to many teachers, which is why teachers’ kids often tend to be academically underachieving. And doctors’ kids tend to be sick a lot more than others.
I need to keep thinking about what my emotional needs are even though it’s very unpleasant.