"Transition is the natural process of disorientation and reorientation that marks the turning points in the path of growth...transitions are key times in the natural process of self-renewal."
-- William Bridges
(Some of these links are harsh.)
Families can be functional or dysfunctional, which influences the roles that members take. People often argue over exactly what makes a family one or the other. I frame it like this: a functional family makes life easier, while a dysfunctional family makes life harder. One that tips even is merely useless. Dysfunctional families come in various types, of which Riley's best fits the psychologically disturbed version, with some overlap into abusive and dogmatic. I would not exactly bet on the adults having a healthy relationship with substances either. Growing up in an abusive family tends to do damage lasting into adulthood. While it's tempting to try and fix dysfunctional families, they have a lot of inertia, so this rarely works unless everyone is highly motivated to change. Survivors may choose to cope with a dysfunctional family or leave it. In either case, they need to focus on breaking the cycle in order to heal.
(These are ugly.)
Favoritism is a key aspect of many dysfunctional families, and parents create this dynamic for many reasons. Among the most common roles are the golden child and the scapegoat, which sets up sibling rivalry. Here the parents seem to view Riley as the problem child and Minnie as the successful one. Know how to break free of the scapegoat role.
(Some of these links are explicit and others are heinous.)
Intersex conditions fall between the typical male and female configurations. Some are basically harmless, just unfashionable, while others come with more physical difficulties. Such infants may grow up to identify as masculine, feminine, or nonbinary -- and the portion of nonbinary seems higher than average in this population. Intersex people have high risk of abuse because they are born with traits that bother adults and the infants are defenseless. Among the most common and devastating abuses are concealment and forced sterilization. Advocates recommend a patient-centered approach, using surgery only in cases of immediate medical need until the intersex person can develop and communicate their own wishes. There are ways to cope with being intersex. Parents of intersex children should seek input from older intersex people. Other people can show support as well.
(These are nasty too.)
Lying has pros and cons. The way I put it is, "A lie may be your ally, but it will never be your friend." That is, it may gain practical advantages, but it tends to destroy relationships. Habitual lying is particularly bad, because then nothing the person says or does can be trusted. Riley's mother began lying due to bad medical advice, and it snowballed from there until now her whole life relies on a mass of lies. Learn how to spot a liar and deal with them. There are ways to stop lying too.
Communication skills are essential to a healthy life. Without them, people have trouble at home and at work. Riley's father rarely listens to anyone, and isn't much better at expressing his own needs, which causes problems for everyone. Understand how to improve communication skills.
(Some of these links are rough.)
Family therapy can have great benefits -- or spectacular failures. In particular, counseling for abusive relationships is not recommended, because abusers rarely want to change and can easily hurt their victim right in front of the therapist. However, I would like to point out that if someone wishes to stop abusing people, therapy is advisable, as it is difficult or impossible for most people to fix that bad of a problem on their own. If they could, they probably would've done so already. Unfortunately not much information is available on this topic, what little there is tends to be condemning rather than helpful, many therapists refuse to treat abusers at all, and most abusers are survivors of earlier abuse themselves. So the problem tends to go unsolved.
Telepathy has positive and negative applications. Shielding and other techniques offer protection from outside thoughts and reduce the chance of spilling your own thoughts onto others.
Relaxation is an important life skill. There are many ways of learning how to relax. Know how to help someone else relax too.
This relaxing herbal tea consists of:
• Chamomile – Matricaria chamomilla
• Oatstraw – Avena sativa
• Catnip – Nepeta cataria
• Holy Basil – Ocimum tenuiflorum
Several soothing herbs plus an adaptogen help people face their challenges calmly. This blend is relaxing but not so strong as to make people fall asleep in the middle of the day.
Gender-neutral clothing for children and adults has many benefits . It is more common in Terramagne-America than here, though not always easy to find. This is Halley's bear outfit.
(Some of these issues are controversial.)
Intersex people (like everyone else) may choose masculine or feminine pronouns, or alternative pronouns, depending on their gender identity. However, understand that natural languages have a limited number of pronoun sets -- rarely more than three or four, sometimes only one -- because people struggle with infinite sets. Using a person's preferred pronoun set is polite. Pronoun tags offer a helpful way for people to remember and use diverse pronouns. However, asking people to use a rare set of pronouns is asking them to do extra mental work, which is easy for a few people, challenging for many, and impossible to get right for some. This is one reason why some folks are bailing on the idea of variable pronouns and cutting it down to one generic set for everyone, often "they/them/theirs." And that's one way that a language can evolve into using a single set of personal pronouns.
When a problem is too complicated to work out mentally, worksheets can help clarify it. Here are some for the pros and cons of one choice, pros and cons with evaluation, and a comparison of three options.
This is Graham's multicolor sweater.
(These links are harsh.)
Intentionally misgendering people is a type of psychological and emotional abuse. It may also qualify as a hate crime. In T-America, the National Hate Crimes Office tracks this sort of thing, which helps discourage it. A checklist of abusive behaviors can help determine if your parents are abusing you. Traumatized people need support and choices in order to recover, so it is essential to consider the survivor's wishes when deciding what to do next. A key reason why survivors rarely report abuse is to avoid yet another experience of more powerful people taking their choices away.
Telepathy and Empathy, called Telempathy when they occur together, rank among the most common superpowers in Terramagne. There are ways to improve telepathy and strengthen empathy. You can also learn to turn them down. All of this takes practice; most folks don't have much control at first, which makes life challenging.
"Thump room" is one term for a padded play room or gym. These have many benefits, and are more common in T-America than in L-America.
(These links are horrible.)
Gaslighting is a form of abuse that aims at making the victim feel and seem crazy. Watch for the signs. Knowing how gaslighting works will make it easier to fight and recover from. Could you be a gaslighter? I couldn't find explicit instructions on how to fix that, but it necessarily includes learning honesty and nonviolent communication.
Clothes express gender -- sometimes, very sexist and troublesome stereotypes as well. Explore ways to express gender through clothing in more flexible ways.
A capsule wardrobe or minimalist wardrobe is a small set of basic clothes designed to mix and match well, which can easily be augmented by seasonal items. They have many advantages. In particular, having a template makes it easy to shop for foster kids who may show up with no clothes and need a functional wardrobe on a budget. This is a minimalist wardrobe made of unisex to slightly feminine garments. in shades of ivory to brown.
(These links are awful.)
Abuse is a leading reason why teens run away from home. Because this course of action is very dangerous, it should be saved as a last resort after other options have been considered.
(So are these.)
Foster care has its ups and downs. In L-America, it tends to have dismal results. In T-America, it does sufficiently better to make this a more appealing option for Riley than staying with abusive parents or running away.
Trust is an expectation of positive interaction, and the foundation of healthy relationships. Betrayal is expectancy violation, which can cause trauma. In this case, Riley expected thon's parents to be honest, but their lies have ruined thon's life and damaged thon's body, so thon feels betrayed by them. Conversely, Riley and Dr. G managed to establish trust quickly despite the tense situation, thus allowing Riley to disclose difficult issues so Dr. G could get thon out of an abusive relationship. Riley's parents expected Dr. G to provide family therapy that would solve their problems, but instead Dr. G called Family Services and the police to move Riley to a safer place, so they feel betrayed by him. The fact that Riley's parents meant well doesn't make thon feel less betrayed; the fact that Dr. G is protecting Riley doesn't make thon's parents feel less betrayed. Those form serious obstacles against moving forward, which will take a lot of work to fix -- if they can be fixed at all, because that requires both/all parties to be willing, which they likely aren't. Follow the steps to build trust. Know how to deal with betrayal and rebuild trust afterwards. It may take extra work to heal trust issues too.
Sankofa Club is a multicultural club, named for an African symbol that means "If you forgot it, go back and get it." Sankofa grew out of the Civil Rights Movement and is a key source of T-America's better race relations. Many schools and community centers have a Sankofa Club, where members can present interesting bits of their own culture and explore those of their friends. A Sankofa Home is a group home for children, offering long-term foster care. The goal is to create a permanent placement for children who are unlikely or unable to be adopted, with a mix of many ethnicities. A typical home has about 12 children and 4 houseparents, although size varies depending on the facility. A Sankofa House is a student residence at college, which may be like a fraternity or sorority house, or co-ed. Most hold between 10 to 15 students, although the larger ones go up to 25, again aiming for a rich ethnic mix. They customarily have a housemother and a housefather, although larger houses may add extra staff as aunties, uncles, or specialists.
Croissants are flaky pastries that can be stuffed with all manner of fillings. Enjoy recipes for chicken parmesan, cheese, apple, and dark chocolate croissants. The last one is filled with clinical-grade chocolate.