Birth and treatment of children
One of the aspects of the marriage adventure is that just when the problems of a certain stage begin to be solved, the next stage opens up its new possibilities. A young couple who developed a pleasant way of living together early in their marriage finds that having a child causes new problems and resumes old ones. For many couples, this is a charming period of shared anticipation and expectation of a child, but for others, it is a period of despair that takes different forms. The wife may be extremely agitated during pregnancy, she may have incomprehensible physical problems that prevent the child from being delivered to term, or she begins to behave erratically and strangely immediately after the birth of the child. In other cases, the husband or one of the relatives may develop a state of despair that coincides with the time of this event.
If a problem occurs during this period, it is not easy to determine its “cause”, since the appearance of a child calls into question so many established family agreements. Young couples who view marriage as an “attempt” find that it is not so easy for them to separate. Other couples who thought they were firmly connected suddenly feel trapped when they have a child, and for the first time realize the fragility of their original marriage contract.
Before the birth of a child, a couple develops a certain kind of game – an intimate game together. Spouses learn to deal with each other and find ways to solve many issues. But after the birth of a child, they automatically form a triangle. This is not one of those triangles where a stranger or relative enters; when one of the spouses feels that the other is more attached to the child, a new kind of jealousy arises. The child sets in motion many of the problems facing the couple, as it becomes a scapegoat and an excuse for new difficulties, as well as for old ones still unresolved. Husbands and wives who were already on the verge of divorce can now come to an agreement that they will stay together for the sake of the child, even if they still would not have separated. Discontented wives may attribute their discontent to the child, not daring to look directly at their former relationship with their husband. For example, the mother of an eighteen-year-old psychotic daughter claimed that her daughter always stood between her and her husband. She cited as evidence a letter written when her daughter was several months old, in which she blamed her husband for always taking her daughter’s side against her. If the infant thus becomes part of a triangle, then at the age when it must leave the parental home, a crisis arises, because the parents are afraid to meet each other face to face without the participation of the child, who served as a means of relations between them, and difficulties that were not resolved many years ago, even before the birth of the child are renewed.
In some cases, marriage is accelerated by pregnancy, so that young people do not experience living together together at all. Marriage begins and continues as a triangle until the children leave home. Often, a marriage imposed in this way does not turn into a problem. But in other cases, the child is seen as a reason for marriage, and the blame for all the difficulties of the spouses and their relatives is blamed on him.
The upcoming birth of a child means that the two families come together and creates grandparents, aunts and uncles on both sides. When a grandchild is born, even the simplest customs, such as visiting agreements, are revised. Both families may quarrel over what name to give the child, how to raise and train him, which family will influence his development, etc. it Often happens that relatives consider marriage as a temporary phenomenon, until the appearance of the child imposes a different point of view on them. The possibility of a defective child or the birth of such a child can lead to suspicion on all branches of the family, and then can be used as a weapon in the family struggle.
Young spouses who are separated from their families by the birth of a child enter into further complications with the family system. As parents, they now become more independent and Mature, feel less like children, but at the same time, the child draws them more into the family environment, as the nature of their old relationships changes and new ones arise.
If desperation occurs at this time, it often takes the form of symptoms of a disorder in one of the actors. But the person showing desperation does not necessarily have to be Central to the treatment. The wife’s disorder may be a reaction to the behavior of the husband, who felt trapped because of the appearance of the child, or a reaction to a crisis among relatives.
Having survived the birth of children, a young married couple for a number of years is extremely busy taking care of babies. The appearance of each of them changes the whole situation and causes new difficulties along with the previous ones. The pleasure of raising children is often accompanied by a feeling of depression, as parents are constantly drawn into complex problems that they often have to cope with on their own, because in these times of rapid change, they do not dare to use parental methods of education.
It is at this stage of raising young children that a special problem arises for women. They tend to have children, seeing this as a form of self-expression. But taking care of young children can be a source of their personal frustration. They were raised for the time when they will become adults and will be able to apply their special abilities, but now they feel cut off from adult life again and live in the world of their childhood. Their husbands, on the other hand, can usually participate with adults in the world of work, while at the same time enjoying children as an additional dimension of their lives. The wife, who is mostly confined to talking to her children, often feels humiliated, feeling “only” as a mother and a housewife. The desire for greater participation in the adult world, for which her education has prepared her, may cause her to resent and envy her husband’s activities. This can lead to the breakdown of the marriage if the wife demands more help from the husband in raising children and more adult activities for herself, and the husband feels burdened by the wife and children that hinder his work. Sometimes the mother tries to exaggerate the importance of caring for the child, causing him some emotional problem, which she then devotes her attention to. In this case, the task of the therapist is to solve the child’s problem, and thus help the mother get rid of it, finding a more satisfactory life for herself.
With all the difficulties with young children, the most common crisis period begins when children go to school. In the past, when a child behaved badly or refused to go to school, the usual procedure was that they were allowed to stay at home and undergo individual therapy, in the hope that they would recover and then want to go to school. Meanwhile, he was falling further behind his peers. When therapy began to focus on the family, they began to send the child to school and deal with the whole situation, realizing that the problem can be either in the parent’s home, or at school, or both. At this age, the child often goes out of the norm, partly because of some cases in the complex organization of the family, but also because it is drawn into life outside the family. Conflicts between parents about raising children are especially pronounced when the product of this activity is presented to outsiders. When a child goes to school, this may also be the first experience for parents of the fact that, eventually, the children will leave the house, and they will be left alone with each other.
It is at this stage that the therapist who is consulted about the child’s difficulty can see the family structure most clearly. Communication patterns in the family have already become a habit, and some structures are not adapted to what the child does outside the family. There are usually several types of adverse structures found, and all of them are associated with intra-family generational split. The most common problem for a parent, most often for a mother, is that she consistently sides with the child against the other parent, usually against the father, claiming that he is too harsh with the child, while the other claims that she is too soft. In this triangle, parents try to save the child from each other, giving this child the opportunity to manipulate the parents, contrasting them with each other. This triangle can be described in many ways? it is useful to present it in such a way that one of the parents is “overly connected” with the child. It often happens that the mother, who is ready to help the child, at the same time despairs of it, because her attempts to cope with the child are frustrated. The father stays away, and if he intervenes to help the mother, she attacks him, and he retreats, leaving her with a child she can’t handle effectively. This pattern repeats endlessly, preventing the child from maturing and the mother from freeing herself from the child for a more productive life of her own. As the pattern continues, the child becomes a means of communication between parents on issues that they can’t discuss directly. For example, if there is a question about the father’s masculinity that is not subject to discussion within the family, the mother may Express doubt whether their son is too feminine, and the father may insist that the son is sufficiently masculine. The son contributes by behaving womanly enough to provide arguments for the mother, and manly enough to support the father. The child behaves in this triangle metaphorically, giving the impression that he does not know his gender. But when he is out of the house, his established pattern is compromised, and the symptoms that occur in the child indicate a difficulty in his family, unable to overcome the stage described above.