There has been some research done in China on mothering methods. The purpose of the research was to discover if being a ‘tiger’ mother or a gentler more relaxed mother produced more successful children. The results suggested that actually there was no difference in the results of either approach. What seems clear to me is that provided you really love your children the rest is just a matter of choice.
However the research did throw up something interesting, which was that all parents in the study used guilt trips to motivate their children to achieve. “All my hard work is just so you will be successful!” “We do everything for you!” I doubt this is only true for Chinese culture although like many things they may have taken it to a higher level.
Also on my recent trip to China I received a master class in manipulation. I witnessed a demonstration of the payoff of being a victim and how we use our wide array of different forms of suffering; without these how could we manipulate by threats or pity to force those closest to us to fulfill our needs or suppress our fears? And we cloak these strategies with a sad face or apparent kindness.
Of course we feel justified in using these twin methods because it is for the ‘good’ of our children or our parents, but just a few moments of close examination will reveal the lie of this. It is not in other people’s interests that we act but in our own interests – to receive recognition, acceptance, nurturing and love or whatever it is that we crave.
Next week is Christmas when once again we get to spend time with our families and friends; as we all know seldom do these events live up to their potential because many of our presents come dripping with agendas, mixed with a bag full of guilt trips topped with a layer of manipulation all of which pollutes our environment so a time of love and peace becomes another version of the Great Escape (why do they always replay that movie at Christmas?!). Those days we were going to spend enjoying each other’s company remembering what is important often become a reminder of what was so painful.
All our manipulation and guilt comes from our lost bonding and our bonding is what we are all called to recreate: the love, the sense of inclusion, the intimacy and the unbreakable connection. We achieve this by always moving towards those around us no matter what it looks like and growing in our awareness to never manipulate or use guilt for any other reason than to heal. Christmas is a time of giving and receiving and when we are clean in our giving then we can help develop the joy of receiving.