Take one traumatized toddler.
Let her grow physically but not emotionally.
Take one farm boy who expects to marry a wife as competent as his mother who fed and clothed her family with produce from the garden and the sale of eggs.
Put the two together on a rocky farm with a decrepit house and no financial resources.
Bring four babies into the mixture.

The mother will hate and evade her responsibilities.
The father will work himself to exhaustion and die young.
The two oldest children will be forced to do most of the housework, cooking and caring for the younger two children.
The younger two will feel cheated of a loving home and family.
The daughter will learn that children ruin your life and will have none of her own.
The oldest child will long for suicide, first at age two then, later, will figure out how, but in the meantime will run away from home regularly – going nearly half a mile across the pasture to Granma’s.
The two oldest, having been forced to be submissive, will be abused later in life.
None will want to spend time with their mother, who won’t understand why.

3 thoughts on “Recipe for Disastrous Family Life by Duane L. Herrmann

  1. Duane, you have written an emotional recipe. It gives me chills and I feel sad for all of the family. Unfortunately, I know that this is also realistic because I have had students that come from similar families. When a teacher has a student that comes from a dysfunctional family they can refer the student to a counselor at school and this often helps.

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  2. I remember leaving class in third or fourth grade and spending time talking with a nice man. He also talked with my mother. I later saw him talking with my teacher on the playground. I knew they were talking about my mother. They expressions on their faces told me there was nothing they could do. This was in the late 50s. As an adult, I wanted to read his reports, but was told they had been destroyed. My mother distained any opinion but her own.

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