Thursday, July 26, 2012

Take the Driver's Pledge

As the Brickyard 400 weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway rolls into our consciousness I am reminded of the significance that Indianapolis has played in the development of automotive vehicles. So important is the combustion engine to the IMS that when people arrive on bicycles they get told to leave. It is an automotive community reserved for those who further the tradition of engine powered mobility.

Earlier this year I told you about abandoning my automobile. It has been the most liberating thing that I have ever done. It ranks right up there with getting released from prison or more accurately being forced out under threat of chemical assault.

So as the ole cranial encased matter gets activated on this issue while pondering whether I will be able to get to IMS on Friday to watch the Grand Am Rolex Sportscar Series race. I thought that I would present a driver's pledge to be recited whenever you start your vehicle.


will be used to show off my wealth to those with less means
will be used for my comfort and convenience
will help me maintain an excessive body mass
is more important than the children who suffer from asthma


that I will shelter myself from any thoughts of a moral transgression by using the defense mechanisms of rationalization and denial.

Those are two powerful defense mechanisms which we have all used at some time. Unfortunately, they rarely are of benefit in the long run. There is a myriad of idioms about which which I will not proceed through.

Rationalization allows a person to proceed with an action or inaction that is counter to his or her moral compass or accepted societal norms by thinking of a reason to transgress those expectations. You may see a young mother with children stranded alongside the roadway appearing to be simply waiting. Your instinct tells you to stop and offer to help but you don't because you are in a hurry due to the excessive wait in the Starbucks drive-thru.

Here is where rationalization kicks in -- I am sure someone else has already stopped to offer assistance; Everyone has a cell phone nowadays, she has already called someone; or, It looks like she is waiting on someone that she has arranged to pick them up.

Denial is far more dangerous of a tool than rationalization. Denial is a way of shutting off the messages about a moral obligation or accepted standard. It has been popularized in pop culture so much to the point that it has been used in parody. What I am speaking of is the mother who adamantly defends her child accused of murder screaming, "He didn't do it. He wouldn't kill no body!". Well honey wake up and realize this -- if no body commits a murder then we call it suicide or accidental death. But some people are murderers and they are someone's child.

The things that elicit the rationalization or denial response are not pretty matters. I face this on a regular basis as I coach parents or do mediation for those involved in high conflict child custody disputes. It is those particular parents that are so ingrained in their personal agenda that rarely do they even realize their harmful actions. But once confronted they bring out the two dancing marionettes -- rationalization and denial. It can be quite a show that is put on for which I counteract every act.

While the high conflict parents blatantly display their malfeasance it is the underlying or pervasive forms of rationalization and denial that do the most harm to children including those whose parents maintain what appears to be a healthy marriage and family.

It is well known that a child's brain is not hard-wired from birth. What used to be thought of a "being born that way" has given way to the reality that a child's behaviour is conditioned by environment. The biggest culprit in adverse behaviour and psychiatric conditions, particularly depression and the manic spectrum, is stress and the physiological response of cortisol. It is the elevated cortisol that leads to violence, high blood pressure and other ailments in addition to the psychiatric conditions.

A substantial contributor is the use of institutional child warehousing centers where infants as young as six weeks are surrendered for periods generally in the range of 8-10 hours a day. What neurologist and social scientists have come to realize is that these institutions do not provide the optimal stimulation, nurturing and sense of security that two well-adjusted parents can provide.

Often these centers can be better than some parents but in total they are not a viable alternative to parental interaction if we are to have well-adjusted children taking over the reigns of our society.

Aptly demonstrating this harm to their children generally elicits the rationalization responses. "I checked out a lot of centers before selecting this one." "It's just part of our modern society." "Oh, everyone does it and children are still turning out fine."

Oh really. I checked out a lot of street narcotics and this one is not nearly as addictive as meth. Hitler's "modern society" employed the institutional child rearing concept 70 years ago. Finally, if children are all turning out fine then why have the cases of depression, criminal aggression, high blood pressure and the manic spectrum at least doubled fo them from 1970-1995?

If you really want to be the great parent that you feel that you are or imagine yourself to be in the future then rationalization and denial must be discarded. For help with this or any other parenting issues please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

If you would like to follow my activities more closely then send a friend request to my Political FaceBook page.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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