From the banal deception to the total break, the wounds that children can inflict on their parents are not lacking. Recognize his sufferings, accept his faults, mourn the perfect child ... The path to forgiveness is long, but necessary, to establish, with his child become adult, a peaceful relationship. The explanations of Maryse Vaillant, psychologist and author of Forgive his children (Albin Michel, 2012).
To read also: Should one settle his accounts with his parents? Is it better to explode at the risk of hurting, or to blame its reproach at the risk of never solving the problem? Testimonials and expert advice.
Interview by Anne-Laure Vaineau
You write to forgive her children ten years after Forgive her parents. Is this a logical continuation?
Maryse Vaillant : It's actually a very paradoxical continuation, which I thought at the beginning would be much more logical than it really is. The time of forgiveness is the same, since it is a psychic time that can not be quantified. But the frame itself is not identical or symmetrical. Forgiving his parents , answered the question "How to become the adult child of his parents?". Forgiving His Children answers the question "How to become an adult's parent?".
This parental pardon, what is so special about it?
Maryse Vaillant : Family relationships are hindered by the obligations of parenting. As a parent, you are responsible for your child. There is therefore necessarily small daily pardons that come enamel education. And we can not take account of all the misbehavior, all the difficulties that we forgive day by day, without thinking about it. But the forgiveness I'm talking about in the book is a psychic forgiveness, it's the forgiveness that is granted, or not, to one's grown-up child. One does not forgive a son or a girl of ten years as one forgives a man or a woman of thirty years. And not for the same reasons.
The expression "forgive your children" can shock. How do you explain it?
Maryse Vaillant : It is because of the fantasy of the great parental oblativity: love always, love without defect. In our ideal of parental love, the question of forgiveness to children does not even arise. We love them, and that's all. It is the taboo of unconditional love. While in reality, there are all these pills that do not pass, all these bitterness that persist, all these reproaches that are not said ... From the simple misunderstanding to the real break, we must be able to forgive to be reconciled.
To be able to forgive, you explain that one must also be able to recognize that one has been hurt.This is a difficult step for a parent?
Maryse Vaillant: We would like our children to be not only the fruit of our womb, but also of our education. Our children are not perfect and ideal, we have, from their birth, a thousand little bites of bitterness that we forbid ourselves to think, that we repress. It is very difficult to accept that our children do not correspond to our imagination of perfection. We would like them to be beautiful, intelligent, happy ... and that they never hurt us. Both to repair what, perhaps, we did not have ourselves, but also because that's what makes us feel good parents.
What can one have to blame for his child?
Maryse Vaillant: There are two types of injuries, those that depend on the affective domain, and those that refer to the narcissistic domain. The first include all the sorrows of love: a child who is not loving enough, who does not give news, who goes away, or who loves outside the nails (another culture, another religion, a other sexuality ...). And then the seconds are those that give parents the impression of having failed, of not having known how to do it. They then feel that their efforts are not recognized, are not paid.
Should parents expect recognition, loyalty, or gratitude from their children?
Maryse Vaillant: The best gift a parent can give his child is to give him the right to ingratitude. If he wants to have a day, with his adult child, a parental relationship from adult to adult, he must let him go through ingratitude. This is how he will give him the best chance to come back to him, and have a good relationship with him.
Can parents discuss with their children their bitterness, their wounds?
Maryse Vaillant: A parent must know how to be quiet. The family is a place where, contrary to what one believes, the speech is always controlled, coded. We do not say everything we think. Forgiveness is an evolutionary process. Keeping your child informed as and when they are reproached is a crime. That would mean that we refuse to evolve, to move. Conversely, when one has forgiven, it will be important to be able to tell his child that one is at peace with him and that one has confidence in him, in what he has become. And this, even if it has nothing to do with what one would have imagined or wished for him. One can list his appeasements, never the statement of his reproaches.