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Kids, Jung, and Beyond
Personal entry follows.
I'm still putting my thoughts together on my opinion of children. But one thing's for sure: I have a dislike for them, and I don't exactly know why. My easy go-to is that I think they're bratty, annoying, and they are vectors for illness. If there were people like that in my life, regardless of age, I'd take steps to avoid them. However, after doing a bit more "book-learning," I wonder if there's something deeper to it. And it's not really the kids' fault, of course. I -am- the asshole, here.
In a previous entry, I reflected on my earlier years, and how I feel like I largely wasted most of them on frivolous pursuits, from childhood through adulthood. I'd also been reviewing more works by Carl Jung, psychologist, and I've found his works enlightening. One of the key concepts he communicates through his works is that of the person's "shadow," their anti-self, the other side of their coin, so to speak. The notion that when a person pursues individuation, they identify qualities that are Not Like Them. People have a tendency to cast judgment on those who exhibit traits they don't like. For me it's mainly children I don't enjoy hanging around, most of the time. I can acknowledge that adults can be complex and can have both positive and negative qualities in equal measure, and I can tolerate socializing or working with them. When it comes to kids however, I don't see them as good for anything.
I wonder if I'm projecting my faults on the children I know, or think I know. There may be something to my childhood that upsets me. Maybe it's what I remember of my childhood, or how I behaved, or - like in the previous entry regarding my formative years - the choices I'd made earlier in life. Maybe I'm actually resentful of their parents for bringing them into the world. Maybe my opinion on children is actually a mirror of myself: I'm bratty, I'm annoying, I'm a germ-covered slob... Well, no, not exactly.
Here's an interesting speculation... My father died of cancer relatively quite young (age 48), and I was 19 at the time. Maybe I have feelings of abandonment, loss, grief, etc. and I am actually upset that these feelings inevitably emerge in other young people. Perhaps I blame their parents for bringing children into the world, fully knowing that eventually the kids' parents will die, leaving the child grief-stricken and alone. Did I really feel that way at the age of 19? Am I having doubts about my impression of kids in general because I'm approaching the age of my father when he died?
My point is that the way I feel about children is likely not as simplistic as I have been thinking. Were I to examine myself more, I suspect I'd have more complex feelings about relating to children, relating to parents - new parents, especially - and relating to the child-rearing experience. I think it's time for me to change the way I relate to children, and relate to parents. Just like I would want from anyone who appreciated me as an individual, I can choose to be more kind, more compassionate, less judgmental, more patient and nurturing, with kids.
Next time I end up being around kids, in particular my nieces and nephews, I'll put this into practice.