Do Broken Families Breed More Broken Families?

November 23, 2023

A while ago, i was talking to my friends and one asked…Do broken families give birth to more broken families?

This got me thinking, because children usually become the main characters in this ongoing narrative as observers of the complicated relationships of love, conflict, and resilience within their households. Their experiences are often shaped by the effects of parental difficulties which have the potential to either sustain a pattern of discord or pave the way for resilience and courage.

We must confront the heartbreaking reality of how some parents, fueled by toxic motivations, inadvertently propel their own flesh and blood into realms of despair and trauma that words can barely capture in parenthood.

Bringing a child into the world should not be a scenario characterized by misguided intentions, whereby this meaningful act is distorted into a means of pleasing or retaining a partner. Having a child should not be motivated by a desire to fulfill the wishes of others or to conform to the parenting choices of your peers or your friends.

pregnancy should never be a pawn in the chess game of social expectations. Each child is a universe of emotions and needs, and they deserves more than to be just a footnote in someone else’s life script.

Yet, many people appear to overlook a fundamental fact, Which is; a child is not a toy, but an individual with sensitive emotions and a soul. The looming threat of mental health issues, financial difficulties, and insufficient coping mechanisms casts a veil, resulting in emotional, mental, and occasionally physical abuse. Many people avoid having this conversation because it is uncomfortable for them.

It is not a surprise when people say that broken families breed more broken families, because it is often a never-ending cycle perpetuated by those unprepared to navigate the risky waters of parenthood. Did you know that parents can unwittingly pass down the haunting echoes of their own childhood trauma to their children? It seems that people often forget that parents do not only pass their physical traits to their children, but they also pass their mental state to their children.

In life, tough experiences like being neglected or mistreated can affect how our brains work, and it turns out these effects can pass down to our kids. A study in 2021 found that moms who went through emotional neglect as kids had babies with changed brain connections, especially in areas that deal with fear and anxiety. Scientists looked into the minds of 1-month-old babies using a special kind of scan(non-invasive functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and found stronger links in the parts of the brain that control emotions. This discovery shows that what happens to parents can affect how their kids’ brains work, highlighting the importance of understanding and healing from tough experiences for the sake of future generations.

Further, according to Yael Danieli, PhD, founder of the International Center for Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma, unhealed trauma imprints span generations, weaving into the complex story of our lives as an unintended legacy embedded in our very existence. Unresolved wounds have a profound impact on individuals, families, and communities. These traumas can reverberate through survivors’ descendants, shaping the core of who we are.

Although broken families oftens breeds broken families, it is important to note that many factors influence child outcomes, including the quality of post-divorce relationships, levels of conflict, and available support systems. Even if the concept of intergenerational trauma has been studied, it is important to recognize that individual personalities, values, and relationship skills also play important roles.

Stigmatizing individuals or families based on their structure ignores families’ resilience and individuals’ capacity to overcome challenges and make positive choices for their relationships.

It’s a harsh reality, painted in shades of despair and desperation, and we can no longer turn away. The anguish of these stories demands acknowledgement, understanding, and, above all, a collective commitment to breaking the chains that bind generations to a legacy of heartbreak and shattered dreams.

I cant take a solid stance when it comes to the notion of broken families breed more broken families…but what do you think? Does the mental health state of a parent have a big impact to the mental state of a child? Tafakari.

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