NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.
When Young Children Are Programmed to Hate
One of this week"s top political stories is the news of Middle East peace talks. Skeptism is understandable. Many have tried to broker peace in the Middle East and all have failed. Some say the task is impossible. Some say the deep seeded mistrust and hatred runs so deep, that lasting peace is not possible. To those individuals, I have to admit that you may be right. When young children are programmed by their parents to hate an "enemy,' as is the case with children in the Middle East, they are likely to carry that hatred for a lifetime. This scenario holds true whether the targeted enemy is of another religion, an enemy of another nationality, an enemy of another race, or an enemy of another household. Parents are far and away much more effective than other factors in programming children as parents exert significant power and control and power over the child. History has, however, taught us that there is an effective way to negate parental programming – immersion with the "enemy.' Immersion can be in the form of school integration, activities integration, or in the case of Parental Alienation Syndrome, it can be in the form of parental custody. To really know another human being engenders empathy, trust, and respect. In aggregate, these virtues act as a shield to defend against hatred. The first hand knowledge that the "enemy' is not the evil, vile, retched creature that they were made out to be, goes a long way in helping that child form his or her own opinion. Who knows, these enlightened children might also teach their alienating parents a thing or two. When we discuss the likelihood of peace in the Middle East, let"s hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Let"s sow a seed. Let"s throw a pebble in the pond. Let"s focus on the children. Let"s teach them to recognize prejudice, lies and fear tactics. If we do this now, then the next generation will be in a much better position to achieve reconciliation and peace.