When it comes to a child’s upbringing, family is one of the key components of producing a child in to a sane adult who can function normally in society. Especially when it comes to their relationship with their parents. If a child is never shown the appropriate amount of affection and emotional support. They are going to be more prone to mental issues, health issues, and even relationship issues later down in life. In “Never Marry a Mexican” by Sandra Cisneros, Clemencia the main character in the story is plaque with memories by her mother and father’s marriage, causing Clemencia looking for unrealistic love and doing certain questionable deeds she gets satisfaction from. That can be caused due to neglect and lack of support as a child growing up in-between her parents poor relationship together.
Cisneros begins the passage with “Never Marry a Mexican, my ma said once and always” (Cisneros 179). And though that alone sums up how Clemencia was effected negatively during her childhood by her parents poor relationship. That statement can create a bad image for relationships in a child’s mind. As she get older she explains why she has never been married before and never will. “ So, no. I’ve never married and never will. Not because I couldn’t, but because I’m too romantic for marriage” (Cisneros 179). This can relate to Clemencia’s mother statement earlier in the story and how it negatively effected Clemencia as a child and her view upon love and marriage. She also goes on saying “Not a man exist who hasn’t disappointed me, whom I could trust to love the way I’ve loved, It’s because I believe too much in marriage that I don’t. Better to not marry than live in a lie” (Cisneros 179). She goes on to show the issues she carries from a dreadful relationship she experienced from her parents when she was young. And also the view she has upon men. It goes on to show the impact parents can have on their children regardless if it is negative or positive.
Clemencia also goes on a rant about her father. “I imagine my father in his fanfarron clothes, because that’s what he was a fanfarron. That’s what my mother thought the moment she turned around to the voice that was asking her to dance. A big show-off, she’d say years later” (Clemencia 180). The image she had of her own father can set the image she has of men going in to relationship’s as she gets older. Which can lead to trust issues and broken relationships. “My father ran away from home because he was afraid of facing his father after his first-year grades at the university proved he’d spent more time fooling around that studying” (Clemencia 180) Again, Clemencia does not think too fondly of her own father. Her father can also be a prime reason on why she struggles with herself and her problems later in life, with a man named Drew and his family.
“Understanding Adolescent Neglect: Troubled Teens” by The Children’s society, informs about teenage neglect. Teenage described experiences with parents or carers who failed to mentor and monitor activities outside of the house and took little interest in their education. Research shows lack of attention or if any at all can be neglectful and is a link to poor well-being and behaviors that can impact a teenagers future and health. Neglect at home during teenage years can be as damaging as neglect during early childhood. When it comes to emotional neglect, it is found that more 14 and 15 year olds who had been neglected also reported risk-taking behaviors. More than twice as many young people were taking risk with their health and futures. “27% had truanted from school at least in the past month but only 13% of emotionally supported teenagers had missed school without permission” (TheChildrenSociety). Also emotional support is critical for a good childhood. According to TheChildrenSociety, emotional support was the type of parental care most strongly linked to higher well being. Suggesting that now many parents do not prioritize this certain type of support as their children become older.
“Paternal psychological distress, parenting, and child behavior: A population based, cross‐sectional study.” by Alisha Gulenc, describes how child behavior problems are common and can lead to mental heath problems. Describing the association between psychological distress and parenting. Such as harsh discipline, low warmth, unreasonable expectations, and over-involved parents. “Paternal psychological distress, harsh discipline, over-involved parenting, maternal mental health, and difficult child temperament were associated with internalizing symptoms” (Gulenc). Resulting in paternal harsh discipline and over-involved parenting were due to internalizing problems. Which could also be a reason to why Clemencia is the way she is and does the things she does.
As the story carries on during “Never Marry a Mexican”, Clemencia has an affair with a man named Drew. And later on, she even has an affair with Drew’s son. Making her feel a certain type of power and lust. “You’re nothing without me. I created you from spit and red dust. And I can snuff you between my finger and thumb if I want to. Blow you to kingdom come” (Cisneros 183). This certain feeling makes Clemencia feel good and powerful which can relate to internalizing problems during her childhood. All the pain she felt from her parents relationship and bad images she has perceived of marriage and relationships has her lashing out in adulthood causing a straight out cold heart. Ending with “Except it’s not me who I want to kill. When the gravity of the planets is just right, it all tilts and upsets the visible balance” and “Sometimes all humanity strikes me as lovely. I just want to reach out and stroke someone, and say There, there, its all right, honey. There, there, there.” (Clemencia 188). Suggesting that Clemencia is now aware of her own actions and knows she has her own struggles with mental issues that she has gotten from the past. And now she wants her second chance.
So it is important that in a child’s upbringing they are shown the appropriate amount of affection and support so they can carry on a full content life in the future. Family is one of the core components to producing civilized people who can walk the earth. Especially in times like today. If a child is neglected, they have a higher chance of contracting mental, health, and emotional issues.
-Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1991.
-The Children’s Society “Understanding Adolescent Neglect: Troubled Teens” 29 Nov. 2016, https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/research/troubled-teens-understanding-adolescent-neglect#
-Alisha, Gulenc. “Paternal psychological distress, parenting, and child behaviour: A population based, cross‐sectional study” Online Library, 29 Aug. 2018, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cch.12607