Grown pains

“It’s never too late,” said Tom Robbins somewhere in the novel Still Life with Woodpecker, “to have a happy childhood.” Robert Stacy McCain, following up to a piece called “Marriage Matters,” notes that some people reject the very idea:

Since the phrase “dysfunctional family” become popular about 25 years ago, it has been used to condemn nearly all families. Basically, it gives young people an excuse for not becoming responsible adults: “I was raised in a dysfunctional family.” It leads to the belief that if your parents were less than ideal, or if your childhood was not perfect, you are a victim of society and entitled to whine and complain about your failures, for which you are not responsible. And this is bullshit. Your parents don’t have to be perfect to be good parents, and your childhood doesn’t have to be perfect to qualify as a happy childhood.

Parents, as a rule, are not perfect, and they’ll tell you so — eventually. Most of the ones I’ve met have basically felt that child-raising, at least at first, is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and having someone yell “Swim, dammit!” at you. Certainly that was my reaction.

5 comments

  1. fillyjonk »

    8 January 2016 · 5:19 pm

    It seems to me that years ago “I’m depraved because I was deprived” was an argument commonly made by those who didn’t want to toe the line of adulthood. Nowadays, among some at least, it seems like their childhoods were made so cushy and so welcoming that they don’t want to leave them, and so they ask, for example, to be coddled and not exposed to ideas they might disagree with.

    I dunno. My own childhood was good in many ways, horrible in others. Maybe that’s the secret to becoming a reasonably functional adult.

  2. CGHill »

    8 January 2016 · 6:17 pm

    +1 for the Officer Krupke reference.

    Special Snowflakes are produced under widely varying atmospheric conditions, but they’re all horrible to have underfoot.

  3. backwoods conservative »

    8 January 2016 · 6:46 pm

    One of the anonymous alcoholics I’ve known said his sponsor told him to take a look at himself and figure out why he became an alcoholic. After he had some time to think about it, he told his sponsor, “I’ve got it! I came from a dysfunctional family.”

    His sponsor replied, “I guess it was. You were in it.”

  4. McGehee »

    8 January 2016 · 9:03 pm

    I was depressed recently by a cover of “Pressure” that sounded like it was sung by Justin Bieber’s illegitimate son, for whom the worst torment life offered was keeping up with his Twitter feed.

  5. FMJRA 2.0: Rubycon : The Other McCain »

    10 January 2016 · 11:35 am

    […] Matters | Dustbury | Batshit Crazy […]

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