Mar 26, 2012

Can you live without friendship

Friendship can never be outgrown unless you allow it to dry up and draw seed and it is forever lost in the wind. Friendship has to be nurtured – kept alive with postcards and phone calls, emails and little gifts throughout the year. I am talking about the kind of friendship where you can pop up out of the blue after having been married or on vacation or working in the African bush for half a century, and able to pick up after all that time and carry on again.

Different kinds of friendships

• The snapshot friendship which is a hi and bye kind of acquaintance relationship;

• The office friends who go out with you and discuss things in the workplace;

• The spiritual friendship you have with someone you go to church, mosque or synagogue with,

• The rat pack friendship you have with three or four girls where you go out and party together and have each others backs.

• The best friend at high school you got into trouble with, and that you were friends with throughout the years, even throughout marriage and divorce,

• The friendship you have with women at religious meetings or book clubs,

• The friend that stood with you in the divorce court queue to fight for custody of the kids, helped you out when you were broke, watched you cry as your daughter was hooked up to lifesaving equipment, knows all your secrets and even some your partner did not know of,

• The friend who is there for you 24/7 who will get out of bed in the middle of the night to come and turn off the water that has started to leak from the geyser,

• At the top of the list is the friend who not only knows you better than anyone, but a friend with whom you have a strong emotional connection. You can talk about anything and everything and know your privacy will be protected as the friendship is based on respect and love. A strong emotional tie with someone of the opposite sex is sometimes stronger than physical love relationships.

Parenting a child with dark moods

Is your four year old a quiet little boy who spends most of his time alone and is preoccupied with dissecting frogs or hurting the kitten or dog? Have you seen him perpetrate an evil act against another child? Have you been to a doctor about it and do you have a gut feeling that what he is doing is strange and unusual? Trust your instinct. A parent knows instinctively when something is wrong. Your sister has children and her children aren’t like that; they play with other children and have the usual playmates. We have also seen films where children indulge in strange behavior and are called bad seeds no one wants to play with. Would your child push another child off a high ledge?

Not normal behavior

Just as you would take a sick child or one who has an infection to a doctor, you should make an appointment with a child psychologist to see if something is the matter with him. We have had several examples of child killers who have indulged in strange behavior with other children and who have also swung cats against the wall, kept a dead body in a fridge, or disemboweled his or her own pet. This is not normal behavior and should be taken seriously and investigated. No one wants to believe that someone can be that evil but history has shown that debauchery and crimes against children are alive and well everywhere in the world. No one wants it to be their child, but the reality is there for all of us. We can’t blame the child if his wiring is faulty and he needs psychotherapy, but we can do something by telling a family member who is in denial that the child needs to be examined by a doctor and seen to.

Signs to watch out for

• The child has no friends and does not even play with his sister.
• He is preoccupied with lizards and mice which he keeps in his room and eventually dissects.
• He is afraid of children getting too close to him.
• He wards off friendships with other children.
• He is secretive and evasive and displays no love and affection towards his siblings.
• His mother is afraid to chastise him or say anything and the family lives in fear and disbelief.
• He locks his bedroom so no one can enter.

That is not to say that every child who is broody and a little strange is a killer in the making, but it is better to err on the side of safety. You will satisfy your own mind and also protect the rest of the family by seeking professional help and sticking with the therapy for as long as it is necessary.