Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
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How to Kill Your Child Internally

     Of all the internal dangers we humans experience day to day, I think the most threatening is a sense of personal failure.
     We can endure losses and injuries, but we can't endure the feeling that our best efforts to do something important with our lives will always crash, or that others can do things and we can't.
     Parents may believe that their responsibilities to their children include only safety, nourishment, shelter, clothing, and instilling respect for authority. All those indeed are needful, but parents also must believe that it is their responsibility to help each child find his or her life purpose, and develop it.
     Children know by age 7 or 8 if they have something special going for them -- skills, knowledge. By age 11 or 12, too many children realize that life is happening for other kids, but not for them. They see other kids succeeding in school or acquiring specific extra-curricular skills, but their parents aren't providing this training. In particular, parents who abuse substances not only leave their children without adequate life skills, but also load their kids with humiliation.
     The compound of shame and failure that can accrue in a child by age 11 or 12 would startle their parents. The kids can't articulate the feelings that assail them. They aren't in a position to confront their parents and get justice. Instead, the kids look outside the house for purpose and adventure. That's why all too many young gang members come from households where both biological parents are still at home and married to each other -- but don't care enough to to provide more than basic bodily needs.
     All the provision in the world can't satisfy that need to identify appropriate personal interests and develop them into a life work. 

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