Every child deserves to feel the constant warmth of parental love and security from being raised in a nurturing environment. The furthest thing from a child’s mind should be concerns about the intention or attitudes from the one (s) who care about them. A child must be able to blossom into the fullness of their potential, under girded by the complete protection and affection from loved ones. However, this is not true of all children. The forgotten child could be the first, second or maybe even the only child born into a family that has spent a life of isolation. These precious souls have provocative questions about the true feelings their parents or guardians have towards them. It’s a situation where a child has never quite felt confident they are loved, protected and valued. This feeling of inadequacy can be self imposed due to a lack of comprehension of the mode of love being given to them or the result of confusing home environments that are not clear about their position within the family.
Do you love them more?
This feeling is more common than most people realize. It doesn’t matter what order you were born in, nor the manner of your birth. As a child grows up, he or she will form evolving opinions as they watch the lives of other children, particularly their siblings or friends. If the child feels he or she receives consistent inferior treatment than the examples around them; their once hopeful attitudes are discredited and feelings of inadequacy and frustration set in. The daily question about being truly loved will agonize their hearts, as they wonder why they are not held to equal appreciation. This is not about whether or not a child gets the same material things or privileges as another child. This is a situation where a child witnesses other children receiving more nurture, attention, positive reinforcement, protection than they receive.
For example, the eldest and youngest child are given all of the parents attention, yet the middle child is often left alone; forgotten and neglected. The parents may or may not realize their actions because they are not the recipients of it. However, the middle child is slowly drawing inward as the questions mount about their place in this world, and more intimately, their place within their own families.
For children living in these situations, the frustration of their circumstance can act as controlling mechanisms that begin to form their future attitudes about themselves, relationships and one day their roles as potential parents. It’s critical that parents are able to identify and then stop their destructive behavior before the root of it takes hold of the very life they are charged to cultivate.
Why don’t you love me?
The reasons that parents show preferential treatment between children or a lack of love to a sole child will vary. Some parents may see a specific child as a reflection of a failed decision, bad experience or missed opportunity. It’s as if the child reminds them of something that torments their spirit. Thus the parent treats the child poorly or avoids the child altogether. In any case, as the child suffers publicly or privately, he or she begins living a life of self-doubt, due to the wounds caused by a lack of parental nurturing. Children that are forgotten in the abstract are kids who have not felt the benefit of consistent positive reinforcement on their lives. In turn, they struggle to form constructive bonds in future relationships due to a lack of relational understanding. It’s harder for them to connect with others because they have never truly enjoyed a connection with their parents.
I am worth it!
A forgotten child will eventually have to accept their past as something that was out of his or her control. Therefore, they are not responsible for the parental failings of their childhood. Once a forgotten child recognizes the poor treatment they received is not a personal indictment, but a reality of their lot in life, then they can begin the process of finding gratification in what they have v/s being bitter for what they didn’t receive as a child. It’s important to remember that your history may not be ideal, but it doesn’t determine your destiny. Regardless of where you start out in life, each person possesses the ability to shape their future into whatever they want it to be.
It’s all about Perspective and Forgiveness. Perspective is defined as a mental view or outlook. Forgiveness is defined as the act of forgiving; to pardon. Therefore, a forgotten child must look at their lives as a testament to what they overcame, not as a result of what they endured. As the forgotten child forgives the perpetrator of their pain, it releases them from their past so they can step into their future. It’s analogous to taking a trip where you pack too much clothes and personal items. The weight of your belongings pull you back. It makes the tasks of loading the entire luggage in your car difficult. When you arrive at the airport, the extra luggage slows down the check in process and getting your tickets is frustrating. It would have been better if you only packed what you truly needed. You would be able to maneuver your way around the airport more effortlessly; free to enjoy the trip without the burden of the baggage.
The same is true about life. In the journey of life, we cannot bring along too much unnecessary baggage. It’s the excess baggage that crowds out the potential for new people and fresh opportunities to come your way. You have to look beyond the past pain to get a clear view of your potential.
Importantly, I know that releasing past pain is not a simple proposition. Nevertheless, it’s the only way to ensure that the pain of your history, will not determine the wonderful possibilities of your future.