Parent – Child Conflict

The relationship between parents and children is always ambivalent and conflictive. The role of parents is to inscribe the children into the social order. And the social order is a system of limitations on freedom and desires of an individual.

Since infancy, parents teach children to contain themselves physically (potty-training, clothes, shoes, etc) and emotionally. They play the role of border control agents in the child’s journey towards civilization. Civilization is great but the price of access is relinquishing the right to unconstrained existence of the kind animals enjoy.

If this conflict never comes to the surface and parents and children seem to exist completely peacefully, this is a situation where parents are either not doing their job and not teaching self-containment or it’s a situation of extreme emotional abuse. A child who grew up without yelling “I hate you!” (or doing / saying something in that direction, and God, do I hate these disclaimers for the exceedingly literal) at the parents is not on the road towards anything nice.

I hope nobody interprets this as an endorsement of abusive relationships where children exist in a constant war zone. We all know how I feel about those. 


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