Confronting family unemployment

How to feel a "good" parent when you are unemployed? The loss of a job is a serious blow to self-esteem, but it does not stop you from educating your children and helping them build.

Claude Halmos

Can we be unemployed and still a good parent? The question seems absurd. Today, however, thousands of men and women are posing. Everyday. And they respond most often, at least unconsciously, in the negative. Unemployment, indeed, especially if it lasts, as we know, the idea that the one who suffers it is of social value. But it also makes him lose - and we know less - the confidence he could have in his "parenting skills".

What are those men and women who have lost their jobs? All. That is to say everything that can be blamed when one feels devalued. They first accuse themselves of being a bad companion, a bad companion for their spouse, who, no longer able to count on their salary, can no longer, they think, rely on them. Hypothesis that opens the door to doubt: how to remain sure that one counts for the other if he can not count on you any more? They also feel that they can only be bad parents. Haunted that they are - because of their exclusion from the world of work - by the fear of no longer being, whatever the field, to the height. At the height of the expectations of their children, who go, they think, compare them to the parents of their friends and find necessarily "worse" than the latter; also up to their educational task. It's not easy to authorize an authority when, tainted by the guilt of not being able to get out of unemployment, one imagines his child standing up to say: "How can you demand something from me, you who are not not even able to find work? "

The Spectrum of Devaluation

Thus, slowly, insidiously, a confused sense of shame settles in them. And this shame infiltrates the report to their children because, projecting on them, they lend it to them and therefore believe to see it in their eyes, especially when they have to oppose a refusal to one of their requests. Because the parent who, in normal times, could have felt a legitimacy to say no, imagines in time of unemployment that his child will think that his refusal has no other cause than financial: "My dad did not not the means ... "So he does not think himself structuring parent, but helpless parent and especially unjustly frustrating. However, this feeling makes it, in our time, particularly vulnerable. To understand it, we must make a detour by what characterizes, today, the idea that more and more parents are childhood and education.Faced with the violence of an economic crisis that they feel they can not escape sooner or later, they are desperately trying to imagine a territory they could not reach, a protected enclave: the childhood of their children.

Idealized Childhood

Step by step, as others erect dikes against the sea, they put barriers between the world and their offspring. And make them resist as long as possible. Limits? He is still young, he has plenty of time. This brand of cereal too expensive, this toy he claims? Never mind, he'll get them! The idea that their child might feel deprived of something, by sending them back to their own frustrations - proven or feared - becomes unbearable to them. They give in. Hostages without knowing it of the vision of an ideal childhood, conceived as a kingdom of which the prince would be a child whom his parents would have the essential task of filling. Fallacious vision, for several reasons. First of all, if a happy childhood is without a doubt, for a human being, an invaluable capital, this happiness can not be obtained with objects and gifts, on the contrary. A child who sees his requests fulfilled as he formulates them is never a happy child. Just as the little man stuffed with food no longer knows hunger, "his" hunger and the pleasure of satisfying it, the one that one claims to fill is deprived of the wealth that is the possibility of desire, of dream of what he wants. The heartbeats that hope always arouses are forbidden to him, because the desire supposes the lack.

And this child is not happy either because, paradoxical as it is, he lives, overloaded with gifts, in frustration. Since I am given so much, he thinks, since my parents (who know everything) consider that what they have already given me is not enough, it is that it is not enough, that I can not be happy with that. The child does not learn to invest, neither in what he has, nor in what he is (I only have a box of Lego, it's true, but what can I invent? , create with it?). He settles into an endless waiting: that of the object through which he could finally find joy and, this one not coming, waits indefinitely for the next object to bring it to him. As he will wait perhaps later on the next lover, the next mistress, happiness forever later ...


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