Disconnected Childhood

January 2, 2023 Sociocultural Issues No Comments

With so many disconnected adults, who will take care of all the disconnected children? To what kind of adulthood are they, in turn, growing up?

Disconnection = inner dissociation and its immediate cause+consequence of not being able to properly connect with one’s surroundings, including meaningful others.

Children are natural bombs of spontaneity

The smiling and the crying of a baby are direct communications that, in healthy circumstances, lead to immediate responses by loving ones. The open spontaneity of the baby is a decisive factor. Everybody has the natural inclination – unless atrophied – to respond to this. Openness begets openness.

This is the power of the baby. It’s also a vulnerability in that the baby cannot easily accommodate to circumstances with any subtlety. It is emotionally dependent on the ones who take care ― whether these react appropriately or in a disconnected fashion.

Early (and also not-so-early) childhood is a vulnerable period that, at the same time, is also very determining for later life. Interestingly, we humans have the most extended period of dependent childhood of all animals.

This prolonged childhood serves two interconnected goals at least.

One goal is to lead to optimum flexibility. We are genetically programmed to be programmed only to a small degree, which gives each human being the chance to adapt to wildly different circumstances as they may arise in the past, present, and future.

Another goal is to acculturate the new human being to any social environment for the social environment’s sake. Human intelligence is profoundly social ― cognitively as well as emotionally. Thus, cultural norms influence (or determine) how children are molded into the grown-ups who perpetuate the culture. Culture matters, but this doesn’t mean it needs to incarcerate the individual. Ideally, culture heightens Inner Strength. In any case:

Children deserve optimum growth ― but do they get it?

Not every culture is equally apt to provide optimum growth. Moreover, cultural exigencies may collide with human needs, especially those of malleable children who can carry traumas – whether ostensibly significant or just a lack of support for growth – for the rest of the person’s life.

Parents may do the best they can. Still, they, too, have been raised and live in a specific culture that may not enable them to do their best in the best way possible.

Generally, many environmental effects – mental and physical – of the environment on children are greatly underestimated. This is partly because we mostly remember only relatively sparsely those upon ourselves as children. However, what we consciously don’t remember, our brains/non-conscious minds especially do. Additionally, all the things we consciously remember have grown on the basis of what we don’t.

Therefore, the increasing inner dissociation doesn’t bode well for the next generations.

We already see that in the growing mental issues of our youth (depression, anxiety, chronic pain, etc.) and the mounting medicalization to which they are subjected. This includes less obvious but well-researched conditions such as asthma and skin allergies.

Are we raising the V-generation (V for vulnerable)?

We can reverse this. However, as said, doing one’s best is perfect by itself but not enough. Also needed are the proper insights into what it means to be a human being.

For that, and many other reasons, mental personal growth is not just child’s play. It is a lifelong endeavor of utmost importance. Much effort may go into this for the sake of oneself and others.

If that is not enough, do it for the little guests of our beautiful planet.

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