I saw a family on the plane from Nantucket to JFK, yesterday. It was a young mom and dad, in their thirties, with a baby girl and a 5 or so year old son. Our plane was late, and the couple was very upset they were going to miss their connection to Cincinnati. They tried to speak to the flight attendant to get them to hold the plane for them, but no dice. The mom was holding the baby girl, who was all smiles and coos. The little boy however was very upset because he “wanted his mama!” The dad kept deriding the boy for crying and being a ninny. He told the boy, who was sobbing, to stop making things hard for all of them. And the boy literally implored him, saying “Please don’t say that.” The mother was just ignoring this little boy and the father was being extremely negative and angry with him. And the little boy just kept saying “But I want my mama!” It was plain for me to see that he was in emotional distress, for whatever reason. His parents were doing nothing to help him, in fact their actions were hurting him more. They were annoyed at the possibility of missing their flight and had no time to address this little boy’s emotional needs. I just wanted to say “Mom, hand the baby to your husband, and comfort your son.” That’s all it would have taken. Instead, they did nothing, and the little boy cried heart rendingly. It was hard for me to listen to him. Is this the way mood disorders begin, by needs that are unmet and perhaps, repeatedly remain unmet? Was this little boy simply more sensitive, his genetic makeup, and simply felt things at a much greater depth than the rest of his family? I know that sensitivity is a key feature of mood disorders. Also, his parents inability to soothe his upset mood, does this then lead to the inability to self soothe for the little boy, leading to anxiety and possibly even depression in the future? Just something I saw that upset me a lot. It just wasn’t right for the parents to ignore this beautiful, little boy’s pleas. It also made me think of how much parents affect our life, how empathy and love would make any situation you find yourself in better. Especially empathy and love from your parents when you are little and need them to have a healthy, happy life.
Also, it made me think of how these kinds of traumatic events affect the grown up men into which these little boys grow up.
And what is the relationship of these types of things to people developing mood disorders.