Parenting was hard for the ancient Fantasa people. Everything they tried seemed to fail. In fact, this inability to raise children was so deeply-ingrained in the culture that the Fantasa even had a famous saying: Raising a child is like trying to start a fire in the rain.
However, this failure wasn’t due to a lack of caring or persistence among the Fantasa, but was largely the result of a lack of knowledge and a preference for tradition. While there were a few exceptions, most of the Fantasa’s early parenting methods were quite crude cruel by our standards, and ironically ended up hurting the very children they were trying to raise.
Like many tribes of their time, the Fantasa held a strong belief in demon possession. Thus, whenever a child would misbehave, they would not see it as an act of childhood rebellion, but as a cosmic battle where evil spirits needed to be immediately exercised from the child’s body.
Perhaps the most commonly practiced method when a child was assumed to be possessed was to violently assault them with a sturdy household object until the child screamed aloud in pain. For the Fantasa, the child’s scream was a sign that the demon had finally left the body. If no screaming occurred, they believed the demon would remain.
As one could imagine, this lead to many unnecessary welts, bumps, bruises, and cuts, and psychological trauma on the Fantasa children, and in rare cases resulted in permanent injury or death. If the children lived long enough not to be seriously traumatized by the experience, they would pass on this same practice to their own children, resulting in a never-ending cycle of violence.
Understandably, the children who then grew up to pass on this strange practice, much like their forebears, were so desensitized to the inherent violence of the act and believed so strongly in its effectiveness that that they were unable to see the practice for what it was.
Another peculiar belief that the Fantasa had possessed was that children could only be good if they were taught to believe in the ancient stories of the elders from birth. Although all of the stories were quite incredible, contradictory, and full of magic spells, invisible worlds, and endless pits of fire, the Fantasa insisted that children would grow up without a strong sense virtue if they failed to believe these fantastical stories were true.
Once these stories were believed, the Fantasa would then use them as a parenting tool, constantly reminding their innocent children of the stories which told them how evil they were and threatened them with the endless pit of fire. By doing this early and often, the Fantasa thought they were helping the children by guarding them against demons that might corrupt them.
A third peculiar belief among the Fantasa held was that humans were born with an excess amount of energy which needed to be contained for them to grow into adults. For the Fantasa, the only way to deal with this excess energy was to keep large groups of children locked inside a dark room for long periods of time each day. Here the children would sit in silence, unable to talk to each other or ask questions.
During this time, if any of the children dared stand up to stretch their muscles or speak, they were subject to public humiliation by one of the tribal elders in front of the entire group. It was thought that after many years of this practice, the energy of the children would diminish as they became more accustomed to the practice.
Although most Fantasa children that fell victim to these strange and barbaric practices grew up to be more violent, more insecure, and less curios of the world around them, there were still a few children that managed to break free from the cycle of violence and trauma as they grew into adulthood. Although initially shunned by the older members of the tribe, their beliefs which they passed down to their children gradually came to be favored as the elders of the tribe noticed a significant decline in tribal warfare and a decrease in family dysfunction.
As time passed with each new generation, the belief in demon possession slowly faded among the Fantasa. Soon they no longer had use for physical violence against children; nor did they threaten them with fantastical stories or make them sit still in dark, silent rooms where their spirit was forced into blind obedience.
Inquiry and self-exploration among Fantasa children, once met with shame and derision by the tribe, came to be seen as cornerstones of Fantasa culture. Acts of childish rebellion once labeled as evil came to be expected, and were dealt with kindly but firmly by parents. Even the innocent act of play, once mocked for its strange and disruptive quality, was considered the beginning of wisdom.