It’s no secret that parents splitting up can cause deep and far-reaching negative effects on children and their physical as well as mental well-being. And, as a divorced parent (or even one who’s narrowly avoided divorce after a big fight), one thing you may not have thought of is that nasty statements you or embittered relatives make about your spouse / former spouse can also have a profoundly negative effect on kids.
While you might never criticize your child’s other parent to them or in front of them, sadly I have found that grandparents, aunts and uncles or friends are sometimes not nearly so careful in their communications about such things within earshot of the children. And even if it is not within the earshot of your children, other children have a tendency to repeat things they have overheard.
All these things create stress which can result in the predisposition of illness and injuries.
If you think about it, you will see how this can easily happen. A person starts to feel invalidated (made less of) or evaluated for (told what to think about themselves), this begins to worry him/her. They don’t sleep well, they might not eat well, thus causing them to worry even more. Now he/she is not paying attention to what he/she is doing as he/she is looking inward trying to figure out what to do about the situation. The next thing you know – BAM! An accident happens that results in an injury. Or due to the poor nutrition and exhaustion and excess sugar, a bacteria or virus floating around is able to take hold and that person is then sick.
If you look at the whole picture, it will suddenly make sense to you why there tends to be more illness and accidents around the holidays. It is likely not the “colder weather”; it is more likely the above situation.
So what can we do about this?
I would suggest taking the time to educate the family on the definition of invalidation: refuting or degrading or discrediting or denying something someone else considers to be fact. Basically it is “no attention”. It actually acts as force and is equivalent to being struck. (Basic Dictionary of Dianetics & Scientology)
And the definition of evaluation: the imposing of data or knowledge upon another. An example would be to tell another why he is the way he is instead of permitting or guiding him to discover it for himself.
(Basic Dictionary of Dianetics & Scientology)
Lastly, to those who are divorced: You generally know those people in your life who tend to hold a grudge or criticize your former spouse. Speak with them before you get together for a holiday event and explain as pleasantly as you can that you wish to keep the Holidays a happy time and that you do not wish to discuss any disturbing or upsetting things regarding anyone, especially not about your former spouse. The truth is, if there are any issues between you and that person, it is a personal situation to be resolved between the two of you. After all, “communication must be good communication: the necessary data sent in the necessary direction and received.” (ref: The Components of Understanding). Therefore if those individuals have an upset about your former spouse and they are telling you about it, they are then in violation of two things:
1) good communication (it is not going in the proper direction to be received.) and
2) They are acting as an unknown third party between yourself and your former spouse. If overheard, then this creates that situation between your child and their parent.
“The law would seem to be:
A THIRD PARTY MUST BE PRESENT AND UNKNOWN IN EVERY QUARREL FOR A CONFLICT TO EXIST.
FOR A QUARREL TO OCCUR, AN UNKNOWN THIRD PARTY MUST BE ACTIVE IN PRODUCING IT BETWEEN TWO POTENTIAL OPPONENTS.
WHILE IT IS COMMONLY BELIEVED TO TAKE TWO TO MAKE A FIGHT, A THIRD PARTY MUST EXIST AND MUST DEVELOP IT FOR ACTUAL CONFLICT TO OCCUR.” L. Ron Hubbard (How to Resolve Conflicts)
For me, the best handling for this is to remind myself and others of the purpose of the Holiday being celebrated. I can work hard to grant beingness and enjoy the people around me. (Granting beingness: to let someone else be what he is. Listening to what someone has to say and taking care to understand them, being courteous, refraining from needless criticism, expressing admiration or affinity are examples of the actions of someone who can grant beingness. )
When I find myself feeling upset, I can remove myself from the situation, take a little walk and when I come back, I find things I can admire about that person.
I am not saying it is always easy, but by applying these simple tenets of Scientology you and your children can enjoy the coming months with the least amount of stress and illness.
Diane DiGregorio Norgard
Mace-Kingsley Family Center