Instinctively knowing something is wrong concerning your child

grahamg

Senior Member
I have this belief that each one of us have some things we know instinctively, and one such thing is we all fear our child being lead astray, or mislead by "strangers" or "others"!

Its hard to prove I guess, whether something we think is instinctive, or something we've learned, but the way I wish to describe it is as I've said in the title, (maybe it doesn't matter so much how its described, so much as whether we agree we all fear our child being mislead?).

All mammals, almost any animal in fact, becomes alarmed when their offspring becomes the subject of interest of some "other" individual. There are plenty of examples in the animal kingdom where the young may be taken from the mother, by another female of the same species, (or the young of another animal may try to suckle, thus taking away the milk from their own young, all threatening your own infants survival).
 

grahamg

Senior Member
Some research on the thread topic to see if it generates any interest:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-missing-link/201809/how-does-instinct-work

Quote:
"People, especially psychologists, have long considered instinct to be an important determinant of behavior. But how does instinct work? What are the relevant mechanisms that enable instinct to function as it does?

We currently have a good understanding of how humans learn via memory formation. This information can be used to understand how instinct works because rigid instinctive behavior is the polar opposite of flexible learned human behavior. There may even be a learning-memory continuum of synaptic flexibility, with humans at one end and creatures such as spiders at the other end.

Both ends of a learning-memory continuum are adaptive. Experience-dependent flexibility over an extended developmental period enables humans to acquire complex skills and intelligent behaviors. Preset rigidity avoids the risks and perils of development and parenting by enabling “adult” behavior from the start—which brings us to the topic of evolution."
 

grahamg

Senior Member
More on instincts, quote:
"Why do men always lie down, when they can, on soft beds rather than on hard floors ? Why do they sit round the stove on a cold day? Why, in a room, do they place themselves, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, with their faces toward its middle rather than to the wall? Why do they prefer saddle of mutton and champagne to hard-tack and ditch-water ? Why does the maiden interest the youth so that everything about her seems more important and significant than anything else in the world ? Nothing more can be said than that these are human ways, and that every creature likes its own ways, and takes to the following them as a matter of course. Science may come and consider these ways, and find that most of them are useful. "

Break

"To the metaphysician alone can such questions occur as : Why do we smile, when pleased, and not scowl? Why are we unable to talk to a crowd as we talk to a single friend? Why does a particular maiden turn our wits so upside down? The common man can only say, "of course we smile, of course our heart palpitates at the sight of the crowd, of course we love the maiden, that beautiful soul clad in that perfect form, so palpably and flagrantly made from all eternity to be loved!"

https://www.informationphilosopher.com/solutions/philosophers/james/what_is_an_instinct.html
 

Rosemarie

Well-known Member
Location
England
There's no mystery about knowing something is amiss with your child, or anyone else you're familiar with. It's nothing to do with instinct, it's simply knowing a person's normal behaviour and demeanour and noticing when they are not their usual selves.
When a small child is feeling unwell, it shows in their eyes. Any mother knows immediately that there's a problem.
 

grahamg

Senior Member
There's no mystery about knowing something is amiss with your child, or anyone else you're familiar with. It's nothing to do with instinct, it's simply knowing a person's normal behaviour and demeanour and noticing when they are not their usual selves.
When a small child is feeling unwell, it shows in their eyes. Any mother knows immediately that there's a problem.
Yes, maybe you're right as far as knowing something is a amiss, or might be amiss with your own child, but my example cited in the OP is a feeling I believe I had, that I instinctively feared my child being mislead or lead astray by strangers, (even when this wasn't happening, or I didn't see it happening, I just instinctively feared it, if you can follow what I'm trying to say?).

Just touching on evolution for a moment, as it was mentioned in one of the articles quoted above, it has been discovered that traumatic events in the womb can be enough to make a foetus develop an illness, or to display an illness it might not have otherwise have suffered from if there had been no traumatic event, but even more startling is this trauma affecting one generation can be passed on to a subsequent generation, (I'll try to show you some research where this is explained properly). It suggests instinctive behaviour is a real aspect of our humanity whether we recognise it or not(?). .:unsure:
 

DaveA

Senior Member
We could also wonder if the child (depending on age) knows there's something amiss with their parent (s). What does the child make of parents arguing , cursing, displaying violent behavior towards each other? Isn't this what children see in many cases of parents separating and/or divorcing?
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
When an adult child changes, that change can be very noticeable by family members. Some family members aren't bothered by the change, while others go........"what happened?" and think they know what happened.
 

grahamg

Senior Member
We could also wonder if the child (depending on age) knows there's something amiss with their parent (s). What does the child make of parents arguing , cursing, displaying violent behavior towards each other? Isn't this what children see in many cases of parents separating and/or divorcing?
Well yes, and no reason not to start a thread about that topic if you prefer it to this one?

BTW do you put any faith I my assertion some parents can feel instinctively their children might be mislead by strangers?
 

grahamg

Senior Member
When an adult child changes, that change can be very noticeable by family members. Some family members aren't bothered by the change, while others go........"what happened?" and think they know what happened.

This was a subject touched upon by an agony aunt called Polly Anderson in this weekends Times Newspaper in the UK, (or a young woman feeling inadequate in terms of looks and her ability to appeal to members of the opposite sex):

I discovered this article showing the signs to look for when something like this occurs:
https://www.changingfaces.org.uk/ad...arents/your-childs-appearance-and-self-esteem

Quote:
"Your child’s appearance and self esteem
How people view themselves, their value and worth as a whole, otherwise known as our ‘self-esteem’ can be influenced by several things. One of these is appearance – and your child’s self-esteem may be affected by how they look. Children may notice how they and others look – and make comparisons, causing them to struggle with feeling good about other aspects of themselves.

People are not born with high or low self-esteem. Self-esteem develops over time and this can fluctuate."
 
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Pepper

Well-known Member
Location
NYC
BTW do you put any faith I my assertion some parents can feel instinctively their children might be mislead by strangers?
Parents know when their child is a follower--a follow the crowd type. Parents know when their child is or is not an independent thinker.

My last discussions with my mother took place 2 months before her death. A coincidence. We dealt with every issue I ever had, and she had the chance to explain herself. I asked her "When I was a teenager, were you ever afraid I'd get pregnant?" She said "No. Your dad & I didn't worry about that. We knew you weren't stupid."
 

grahamg

Senior Member
Parents know when their child is a follower--a follow the crowd type. Parents know when their child is or is not an independent thinker.
My last discussions with my mother took place 2 months before her death. A coincidence. We dealt with every issue I ever had, and she had the chance to explain herself. I asked her "When I was a teenager, were you ever afraid I'd get pregnant?" She said "No. Your dad & I didn't worry about that. We knew you weren't stupid."
Your mother kept her marbles to the end, so that's very positive obviously.
My own mother did too fairly well, and the last time I saw her in hospital before she died, my own daughter and her husband had just left the ward, and my mum and her granddaughter always had a very positive relationship, (my mum spoiling her to death, and my daughter lapping it up, though in turn making sure she never lost contact with her).
99% of men are said to be followers btw, but of course the implications should they have ever helped produce a child is very different than your mother was referring to concerning yourself, and her faith in you. I didn't have worries in that way about my daughter either for the same reason, she was/is a smart cookie!
 

grahamg

Senior Member
My instinct is to care for others and animals--don't know where that fits in but when things go awry it is very upsetting to me.
You make a good point, and I hope your feelings extend to not wishing those currently being mistreated or summarily dismissed as parents, with no concern for their welfare or feelings being permitted in law.
As fathers rights campaigners have been keen to point out for some time, all they're asking for in relation to their own children is the same legal rights their exes new boyfriends have, and in meetings I've attended twenty years ago, I've heard some of those fathers express their concerns in that regard for their children, to nicely bring us back to the thread topic. :)
 

Rosemarie

Well-known Member
Location
England
grahamg, I think we need to make a distinction here between natural instincts and what many would call 'sixth sense'. People these days have no need to hunt for food, yet they still have the instinct to kill animals. Most of us have an instinctive fear of fire...we just know it can harm us. These are the natural instincts which most creatures need for survival.
What you are referring to is something different. As I said, it is known as a 'sixth sense', when you just know something but can't explain how.
 

grahamg

Senior Member
grahamg, I think we need to make a distinction here between natural instincts and what many would call 'sixth sense'. People these days have no need to hunt for food, yet they still have the instinct to kill animals. Most of us have an instinctive fear of fire...we just know it can harm us. These are the natural instincts which most creatures need for survival.
What you are referring to is something different. As I said, it is known as a 'sixth sense', when you just know something but can't explain how.
I'm not sure I know whether the distinctions you wish to make are the way to go on all this or not, (what about "gut instinct", which so many in business say they employ when making decisions?).
It puts me in mind of a very good friend of mine who I used to call my second mum, who told me when mankind came along evolution ceased, (my question being "who stopped it?").

Can I just ask whether when hypothetically you were introducing a new boyfriend to your hypothetical underage children, you would have any thoughts in your mind as to whether he might one day pose some kind of risk, (forgetting whether it might be instinctive or otherwise for a moment)?
 

grahamg

Senior Member
Instinctively know when something is wrong?

Yes, and it continues today even though the child is 50+ years old.
Sorry to be pedantic, but are you of the opinion the feelings you've said you still have no matter that your child is now fifty, is an "instinct"?, (as its been questioned, whether these are instinctive or learned behaviour/feelings, I thought it worth clarifying your position?)? :)
 

Rosemarie

Well-known Member
Location
England
I'm not sure I know whether the distinctions you wish to make are the way to go on all this or not, (what about "gut instinct", which so many in business say they employ when making decisions?).
It puts me in mind of a very good friend of mine who I used to call my second mum, who told me when mankind came along evolution ceased, (my question being "who stopped it?").

Can I just ask whether when hypothetically you were introducing a new boyfriend to your hypothetical underage children, you would have any thoughts in your mind as to whether he might one day pose some kind of risk, (forgetting whether it might be instinctive or otherwise for a moment)?
I wonder what prompted you to ask that last question. It is sadly true that many children are mistreated by a step-father, and perhaps the mothers showed poor judgement in their choice of partner. However, I would guess that she would put her own needs first, and disregard any inner warnings she might have about the new man.
As we go about our lives, constantly coming across strangers, we subconsciously make an assessment of those whose paths we cross. Often our 'instincts' warn us of a potential threat, based perhaps on a persons general appearance. One's first impressions very often turn out to be accurate, but I think this something which comes with experience.
 

grahamg

Senior Member
I wonder what prompted you to ask that last question. It is sadly true that many children are mistreated by a step-father, and perhaps the mothers showed poor judgement in their choice of partner. However, I would guess that she would put her own needs first, and disregard any inner warnings she might have about the new man.
As we go about our lives, constantly coming across strangers, we subconsciously make an assessment of those whose paths we cross. Often our 'instincts' warn us of a potential threat, based perhaps on a persons general appearance. One's first impressions very often turn out to be accurate, but I think this something which comes with experience.
You've given me a very thorough response above, though I'm still a bit surprised by your conclusion about mother's putting their own interests or needs first(?).
To try to answer your question succinctly, (oh, just before I attempt to do that, was your answer yes or no, you'd think about, or worry about any risk a hypothetical new boyfriend might pose?).
My own father tried to protect me, when he was ninety four and wheel chair bound, but that isn't the reason, good example though it was obviously.
The truest answer I think I can give you, is that I and some of the other fathers I met whilst campaigning twenty years ago to try to change the law in favour of a rebuttable presumption in favour of contactcontact, (for decent dads who were married to the mother of the child), were concerned, or sometimes very concerned when your ex brought the "new daddy" into the home with your child/children.

When we campaigned this was one of the many aspects we used to raise, and I did discover an Oxford University sanctioned paper, mentioning contact with natural fathers possibly protecting children from others abusing them.
 

Rosemarie

Well-known Member
Location
England
You've given me a very thorough response above, though I'm still a bit surprised by your conclusion about mother's putting their own interests or needs first(?).
To try to answer your question succinctly, (oh, just before I attempt to do that, was your answer yes or no, you'd think about, or worry about any risk a hypothetical new boyfriend might pose?).
My own father tried to protect me, when he was ninety four and wheel chair bound, but that isn't the reason, good example though it was obviously.
The truest answer I think I can give you, is that I and some of the other fathers I met whilst campaigning twenty years ago to try to change the law in favour of a rebuttable presumption in favour of contactcontact, (for decent dads who were married to the mother of the child), were concerned, or sometimes very concerned when your ex brought the "new daddy" into the home with your child/children.

When we campaigned this was one of the many aspects we used to raise, and I did discover an Oxford University sanctioned paper, mentioning contact with natural fathers possibly protecting children from others abusing them.
We've moved on here to a slightly different subject...interesting though, and worthy of discussion.
Like you, I live in the north of England and am surrounded by families which consist of several children, each with a different father. I have little personal involvement with these families, being cast in a different mould, but naturally I do see and hear what goes on. I have seen children dumped on the grandparents because mummys new man doesn't want her kids. I have actually seen a small boy being beaten by the new man. When the mother realised what was happening she kicked the man out. ..but it wasn't long before another one appeared on the scene.
So I think I can safely say that mostly, the mother puts her own needs first.
A father should certainly have a say if he thinks his child is at risk...even taking the child away from the home environment if necessary. There have sadly been too many cases where a child has actually died at the hands of a 'step father' after months of abuse. It's hard to understand how this can happen. Social services should have greater power...the welfare of the child should come first. There used to be health visitors, who were obliged to call regularly until a child started school. They were able to spot potential problems. They no longer seem to operate.
Sorry for the long post!
 

grahamg

Senior Member
We've moved on here to a slightly different subject...interesting though, and worthy of discussion.
Like you, I live in the north of England and am surrounded by families which consist of several children, each with a different father. I have little personal involvement with these families, being cast in a different mould, but naturally I do see and hear what goes on. I have seen children dumped on the grandparents because mummys new man doesn't want her kids. I have actually seen a small boy being beaten by the new man. When the mother realised what was happening she kicked the man out. ..but it wasn't long before another one appeared on the scene.
So I think I can safely say that mostly, the mother puts her own needs first.
A father should certainly have a say if he thinks his child is at risk...even taking the child away from the home environment if necessary. There have sadly been too many cases where a child has actually died at the hands of a 'step father' after months of abuse. It's hard to understand how this can happen. Social services should have greater power...the welfare of the child should come first. There used to be health visitors, who were obliged to call regularly until a child started school. They were able to spot potential problems. They no longer seem to operate.
Sorry for the long post!
The long response is fine, I think you'll find other mothers taking a different view to the one you've put forward again about whose interests or needs might come first, in relation to a new boyfriend, and I note you've ducked my question above, so won't press it again, (hypothetical questions are perhaps wisely avoided!).
I have a story about grandparents who wished to protect their granddaughter, whose mother had died while the girl was under five years old, and they'd looked after her whilst the dad was at work. A new girlfriend appeared with her own younger child, and within two weeks of meeting her, the son in law took his daughter half way across the UK and the girl ended up abused or neglected. The grandparents were told by social services they were "irrelevant persons" and the social services wouldn't help them at the time. Years of campaigning in Scotland, including setting up a very successful self help group for grandparents ensued, and eventually the son in law broke up with the woman he'd gone off with, and they saw their granddaughter again. It took years of operations to fix the damage to the child's feet though, and all this happened in the UK this century!
 
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Rosemarie

Well-known Member
Location
England
Yes, this sort of situation is happening more and more as the stigma of broken marriages has gone.

I didn't answer your question because I haven't been in that situation myself. As a mother of 3 (all with the same father), I really cannot understand any mother standing by and allowing her child to be abused...and it can't happen without the mother knowing. A mother's natural instincts would be to protect her child. I have proved already that I become violent when my child is threatened, and this is the natural reaction.
 


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