Written by Pamela K. Orgeron, M.A., Ed.S., BCCC, ACLC, Author
As a child, I recall often feeling unheard and unappreciated by others around me. I used to think my experience was unique. However, after joining an online support group a few months ago I was surprised when I realized the experience is more common than should be the case.
Primarily the victims of any type of abuse as children are the ones who feel and often are unheard. However, no doubt other children also go through experiences of feeling unheard. For example, I think of a child who might want to be a doctor, lawyer, or whatever but is forced by his parents to follow in their footsteps working in a family business. What happens to such children? From my observations, many of these children grow up having low self-esteem and other psychological or emotional problems.
What is the harm of having a lot of children not being listened to by parents and other individuals in their lives? Or is there harm? Of course, there is harm! If you don’t believe there is harm, then look around in society at the number of children with low self-esteem, with academic problems, with juvenile records, and with mental and physical health problems that used to be unheard of, or at least, very rare in children.
I believe this problem has been getting worse with each generation to result in having a society full of parents, some with the best intentions, but unprepared to be the best parents they can be to their children; thus, repeating the cycle of raising another generation of children who feel unheard and unappreciated.
Can this cycle be stopped? In writing When Children Go Unheard: The Causes, Consequences, and Solutions for Concerned Adults my desire is to bring attention to this problem in hopes of educating society on ways to combat the problem. The bulk of the content of this book will be focused on children in America without voices. To look any further globally would be beyond the scope of this book and my ability to identify with different cultures.
Why my concern? Because I understand what it is to be unheard and unappreciated for the person God made me be. For instance, these feelings were common at Christmas time with me. As a child, I loved reading and never cared much for jewelry. However, what did I commonly get for Christmas? Jewelry! My mother would buy gifts that she wanted me to have, not gifts that she thought I would want and enjoy. I recall one Christmas though when my father stepped in and purchased the books Bambi (Simon and Schuster, 1929) and Heidi (Forgotten Books, 2018) as Christmas gifts for me. I was elated!
Honestly, I believe the trend of parents and others in America not listening to and respecting children needs to be stopped. I don’t want today’s children to grow up experiencing the pain and frustration that I and those in the support group for victims of sexual abuse of which I belong to have felt and sometimes still feel.
By writing When Children Go Unheard I am not implying that all children in the United States go unheard or that all of today’s parents are unhealthy. There are many parents who grew up with healthy parenting and who have children with secure, healthy self-esteem. From these individuals, I have a lot to learn. How about you? I hope you will join me as I delve into deeper levels of recovery from being unheard as a child.
You have just read the Preface to my new upcoming book entitled When Children Go Unheard: The Causes, Consequences, and Solutions for Concerned Adults Before moving forward in writing, I need more research data. That’s why I am asking for the assistance of anyone reading this article.
Would you please help me out by completing the survey linked below and also by sharing the survey with colleagues, clients, or friends. A person must be at least 18 years of age to complete the survey. All the survey respondents will be anonymous unless someone chooses to include their name in one of the comment sections. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
INSTRUCTIONS: Please answer each question to the best of your ability. If an answer is NOT applicable to you, please either skip the question or give what you think might be a factor for someone else. Thank you.
Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UnheardChildren