Children have a basic instinct: to survive. It is the reason for attachment, it is the reason for crying, and it is the reason why divided loyalties can happen. The survival instinct endows children with the innate ability to “read” their parents and, as a result, they are reading us constantly – our words and vocal intonations, but perhaps more importantly, our every move, the smallest facial expression, sigh, or teary eye.
Parents also have instincts: to protect and to survive through their children. Instincts drive behaviors both admirable and not so admirable. Admirably, we feed, clothe, shelter and educate. Not so admirably, we seek to be loved more, sought out more, depended on more, needed more. Job security may drive some of that, but at the heart of it is our narcissistic need to be needed, to be liked, to secure our position as “best parent” in the…
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