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published: 2010-03-19

Remember when you were a kid and you were happy about something. Anything. A pair of jeans or a boyfriend. And remember how you felt when your parents did not share your enthousiasm? Maybe they even rejected the object of your happiness.
It’s probably one of the most fundamental hurts a parent can bring unto a child, no matter the age: to judge your own child when he or she is simply being happy. I mean goodness, to be happy (and healthy) is a great enough accomplishment in itself.
Then suddenly, you yourself are a parent. Like most people, I too have told myself I’d never do certain things to my child. But I’ve been wondering: what if it would give my son great pleasure to torture ducks and produce foie gras? Or even simpler: what if I don’t get along with the woman he loves and makes him happy? Obviously, you there are more fundamental ethical examples. Often though, the seemingly simple issues are the ones that hurt most.
Personally, I do not know the answer to that question. Perhaps the best thing to do as a parent is simply shut-up and pretend. Just pretend to be happy for your child. Because if anything, dishonesty is better than distancing yourself from him or her.
The question as to why children sometimes need to make the painful decision of breaking-off all contact with a parent, has been playing in my mind for a few years. It’s this type of question that could lead to a novel.

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