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How children turn out in life is not so easy to determine

Environment plays a key role in life flight path of young-ones. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Environment plays a key role in life flight path of young-ones. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

We just moved to a new estate where we found a comfortable house with big rooms and some space in the compound, but the children can’t find playmates (as easily happened where we used to live) because everyone seems to keep to themselves. Will the kids get used to this lifestyle?

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You seem determined to answer the question “how long is a piece of string”. The true answer to this question is the same as the answer to your question, which must begin, “it really depends…”

The person answering the question must then proceed to set out the circumstances that explain the length of the string and in your case, the circumstances that could lead your kids having or not having new (or other friends) and then one has to move on to tackle the question of whether or not they will get used to this new lifestyle. A story will help us understand your question a little better.

A young woman came to see us a few years ago, and in tears described a lifestyle that brings to focus the challenge before us today. At the age of seven, her very rich parents sent her to a weekly boarding school to keep her safe from the dangers of TV and social media.

At the age of 13, she passed the common entrance exams with flying colours and was shipped off to England for high school education.

This was because her parents wanted “the best for her”. To achieve this “best” the parents visited her every end of term, and ensured she visited European and American cities to broaden her horizons.

Again, the all girls’ boarding school isolated her from social media, but more importantly as the mother was quick to point out to other women “kept her away from the local boys.”

On entry to a top university, she read Philosophy and English and finished with a double honours.

This was soon followed by a postgraduate degree, and as her parents pointed out when I saw them later, she was, at the age of 25 years ready to come back home, get married and give them some really nice grandchildren. In their minds, a life flight path had been determined and they were of the opinion that they had given their daughter the best that money can buy. They were both right and wrong. They had spent a great deal of money yes, but they had in so doing dislocated the poor girl from the world she was going to live in, for the rest of her life.

When we saw her, she was a thin, pale fragile looking girl who had spent three weeks in her room, not eating or washing.

She had not spoken a word to anybody and had made several attempts at suicide by slashing her wrists. The parents were too proud and ashamed to admit that something was wrong with this child. After all, they had given her all they had in terms of material things (perhaps like you?).

In time, and in therapy, the girl was able to open up to them. She told them about her resentment of their parenting methods (not skills) and explained how lonely she felt all her life.

All this story tells you is that I do not know what will happen to your children in the course of time.

It does, however, illustrate the effects of the environment on how children turn out in adulthood.
How your children will turn out will, as they say, depends.

Readers are advised to send their questions to [email protected]

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