I started a new job as Director of a day care center here in Philadelphia last week. The salary is depressingly, insultingly low, but I'm just glad to have a job in this economy! With a background in education and psychology, I have the opportunity to put into practice all I know about dealing positively with children, although the list of administrative duties I was given on Friday will probably not allow me the time with the children I would like.
As my older daughter realized when she was about fourteen, "If the family is the foundation of society, and most families are screwed up with kids who hate their parents, and parents who don't know how to deal with children, then no wonder the world is a mess!".....and she was right then and still is! The older I get, the more I deal with people, especially children, the more obvious it is to me that MOST PARENTS KNOW NOTHING ABOUT BEING A QUALITY PARENT, AND THEIR DYSFUNCTIONAL CHILDREN BECOME DYSFUNCTIONAL ADULTS WHO THEN, IN TURN, BECOME DYSFUNCTIONAL PARENTS THEMSELVES.......and therefore, social progress is slow at best. I more and more am convinced that the first five years of life are the most crucial, yet how many parents even know this, let alone anything else?
Most of the children in this center are subsidized by the state of Pennsylvania due to the inadequate incomes of their parents, and are African-American, white, and hispanic, quite a mix, really, as might be expected in a large city. Many are sad and damaged already. One particularly sad case is a little boy who is either Ethiopian or Somalian who told me Friday, "My daddy left, and he's not coming back...." Another little boy, who is white, is very angry at his dad for leaving his mom and moving in with a girl friend with whom he has two more children. This child's anger makes him aggressive and mean toward the other children.
It's also revealing to see the reactions of the children when their parents arrive to pick them up. Most are indifferent or even angry, a sure sign of what psychology calls an "insecure attachment", meaning the parents have failed to connect with their children in a meaningful, sustaining way, nor are they supportive, loving, or affectionate enough. Of course, most of these parents wouldn't know what I was talking about, and when their children aren't glad to see them, they blame their children's "attitude"!
I've concluded that another child seems to be "developmentally delayed", but might be a high functioning autistic. His parents love him, as most parents love their children, but they have no idea whatsoever how to deal with this child. His language skills are very limited at age four, he throws tantrums, isn't toilet trained, won't eat, on and on.Even the best and most educated parents would find such a child challenging. I can't imagine how this child and his parents will manage such a challenge. Hopefully, his problems are a matter of immaturity and development delays which will be easier to deal with than autism.
I really doubt most people fully understand the problems and challenges of parenthood. I think I did more so than most, and it was still exhausting!
I will continue to blog about this, at least from time to time........